When President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office next Tuesday, he will be escorted by the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, a unit that was formed in 1774 and fought battles during the Revolutionary War. This Presidential escort should be much easier than the time First Troop escorted General George Washington across the Delaware River.
President Obama this week addressed the nation one final time before he becomes a private citizen. Emotions ran high as our nation’s first black President exited the stage with the same class and grace with which he entered.
While Obama tended to his final days in the Oval Office, the U.S. Senate was busy laying the groundwork for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, arguably the President’s signature achievement. For the uninformed, the ACA is also known as “Obamacare,” a point that some Americans still do not yet seem to grasp. We have a feeling that will all become crystal clear really soon.
Back here in Pennsylvania, where we went from frozen tundra to sixty-five degrees overnight, the annual Farm Show extravaganza took place in Harrisburg. If you have never attended this agricultural soiree, you are missing out on some of the best food you will ever taste. If you are looking to count calories, however, these are definitely not the droids you are looking for. Pennsylvania: we fry our vegetables.
The Borough of State College has become the latest municipality to classify itself as a sanctuary city, which means it will join Philadelphia in the ranks of places that are in the crosshairs of the incoming Trump Administration. There is no word yet on whether or not a giant wall will be erected to seal off State College from the rest of Centre County.
A small start-up firm known as Comcast is letting the City of Philadelphia know that it is none too pleased with a proposed ordinance prohibiting wage discrimination. Not that Comcast is in favor of wage discrimination, mind you, but rather they are concerned with how the ordinance might be implemented. And so, they are threatening a lawsuit if the ordinance becomes law, because we all know there are not enough lawsuits going on in Philadelphia.
As the General Assembly begins preparations for the upcoming Session, some new committee chairs are already signaling that a fix to the state’s gaming law, including the legalization of Internet Gaming, may still be months away. Obviously, the thirty or so committee hearings held on these issues last Session must not have been enough.
If you are the mayor of a city in Pennsylvania, you are already keenly aware of the budgetary challenges in front of you for 2017. When state governments face deficits, they tend to (unintentionally, we are sure) outsource their woes to local governments. We ran across a list of upcoming fiscal challenges and thought we would share it so our mayoral friends can either 1. be prepared or 2. start drinking early today.
Governor Tom Wolf is letting zero grass grow under his feet in 2017, as he has already begun to rattle off reforms and cost cutting measures he intends to pursue this year. First off, the state will no long spend $6 million a year on investment fund managers for some of the state’s largest funds. Sure, $6 million isn’t earth-shattering, but we would remind our readers of an old riddle we heard. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Also on the governor’s list of priorities will be pension reform, the closing of two state prisons, and perhaps even asking municipalities that use State Police protection instead of local police forces to start paying for such protection. People in the Commonwealth who ask for smaller government might just get what they asked for.
On the revenue side of the equation, Wolf has pledged he will not pursue an increase in income or sales taxes, but will once again tilt at the severance tax windmill. The gas industry has warded off this proposal before, and there is little reason to expect that an expanded GOP majority in both chambers will welcome this idea with open arms and yes votes.
Elon Musk is back with his plan to build so-called hyperloops that will shoot people from point A to point B at seven hundred miles per hour. The hyperloop design is essentially a mail tube for people. While this idea is quite terrifying, if built it can take you from Pittsburgh to Columbus, Ohio in fifteen minutes, or so we read this week. We are much more interested in how fast it can get us from Valley Forge to Center City Philadelphia. Who wants to go to Columbus, anyway?
On the electoral front this week (yes, election season never ends) two candidates emerged for the GOP gubernatorial race in 2018. First off was Pittsburgh businessman Paul Mango, who tapped some serious heavyweight consultants this week. Previously, all we knew about Mango is that Microsoft spellcheck often tries to change the last name of Triad staffer Mike Manzo to Mike Mango. Alas, they are not related.
Also jumping into the fray this week was State Senator Scott Wagner, a self-made millionaire who has had Governor Wolf in his sights since joining the upper chamber. He is well-funded, politically sharp and eminently quotable, so this should be fun for the scribes in the Capitol newsroom and beyond.
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we take you down the Turnpike to Philly, where a Fox News affiliate wished boxing legend Joe Frazier a happy birthday (on the wrong day) and told viewers he would be appearing at City Hall. All of which would be a very neat trick since Smokin’ Joe died in 2011.
On a somber note, Team Triad mourns the loss this week of Karen Snider, former secretary of what today is the PA Department of Human Services. Every day, she awoke to crusade for making things better for residents of the Capital Region and all Pennsylvanians. Direct and down to earth, she leaves a tremendous legacy and a legion of disciples eager to carry on her amazing work.
That’s what passes for news around here as we joyfully await the return of the General Assembly. From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh