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February 2010
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March 2010

We Have Met the Gatekeepers

Communications in the Digital Age


A guest post by Rick Kelly, Director of Crisis Communications, Triad Strategies

We can’t say no one warned us. As far back as the mid-90s, a Northwestern University communications professor named Don Schultz  was speaking – in past tense – of how communications had changed from the mass market model to one that was much more individualized.

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Changing of the Guard: Procurement in PA


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a great customer.  It pays fair money for goods and services and generally pays it on time (last year’s budget impasse notwithstanding.)  Ask any qualified vendor who has done business with the state and they will likely tell you it can be a lucrative way to grow and maintain your business. Factor in today’s economy where private capital is scarce, and the time has never been better to count the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as your customer.

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PA Primary Elections: TV or Social Media?


By Roy J. Wells, President, Triad Strategies

This morning I read an article in the English publication New Media Age arguing that the elections in England will be more influenced by television than social media. As someone who has been talking over the last few months about the role of social media and elections, the article really forced me to think about the upcoming Pennsylvania primary elections.

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Changing of the Guard


Over the next three weeks, the Triadvocate will be running a series of blog posts under the title “Changing of the Guard.”  With a scant 7 months left before voters head to the polls to elected a new Governor and new House and Senate members, it is never too early to give you a recap of what state government looked like for the past eight years, as well as give you a glimpse of what we should all look for when the new regime comes to town.

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Abbott and Costello: PA Polling Pioneers


By Tony May, Senior Vice President for Communications, Triad Strategies

Comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello would be proud of Pennsylvania voters. In keeping with the  comedy duo’s classic baseball sketch where “Who” was on first base,”What” was on second and “I don’t know” was on third, Pennsylvania is – as of right now – strongly behind “I don’t know” for Governor of Pennsylvania and he’s doing pretty darn well for U.S. Senate, too. 

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Tea, anyone?


A guest post by Dave Dumeyer, Independent Consultant on Education and Government

They scare the Democrats. They scare the Republicans.

“THEY” are the T.E.A. (a.k.a. Taxed Enough Already) Party. The name “party” is actually a misnomer. This movement of regular citizens, mostly white, young and old, predominantly conservative, partisan and nonpartisan, claims no national chairman, has no headquarters and operates no “farm system” to groom future TEA candidates. And yet, if we are to believe the pundits, they are the next great demographic profile group to impact elections. Like soccer moms and NASCAR dads. Their similarity to a party comes in their desire to get TEA Party-friendly candidates elected to office.

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Plan to build a better network


By Roy J. Wells, President, Triad Strategies

It takes time to build a network of relationships. The amount of time it takes is directly proportional to the effort that one puts into the process. I have always been impressed by people who not only are able to build solid networks, but were able to maintain them over decades. These individuals would work at bringing new people into their network, but also realized that if they were unable to figure out a way to occasionally reach out to these friends, the relationships would grow stale and become lost.

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Is Health Care Reform Bad Medicine?


A guest post by James W. Van Buren, vice president-development and chief operating officer at New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc., New Enterprise, PA 

As an employer of 3,400 people, whose health care plan covers more than 10,000 workers and family members combined at an annual cost of $27 million, I find the national debate on health care extremely frustrating.

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An Annual or Biennial Budget?


A guest post by Matthew J. Brouillette, President and CEO of the
Commonwealth Foundation


House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) argues that “a two-year budget is impractical in our modern world” and that the current annual budget cycle serves “to better allow government to react to an unpredictable economy.” How’s that working for us?

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Social Media and Your ROI


By Roy J. Wells, President, Triad Strategies


When I am talking to both existing and prospective clients about social media, the conversation inevitably turns to what will be their return on investment (ROI). All C-level executives want to know what the ROI will be on any investment. In an economy that has experienced a 35% decline in wealth, budgets are tight, and available cash is a commodity. Before you invest a dime in any public relations or marketing activity, ROI is the place to start. Before I answer this question, though, I generally ask them a few questions. 

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Lawmakers Should Support Governor Rendell's Budget


By Neal Bisno, President, SEIU Healthcare PA

Across Pennsylvania and the nation, working people continue to reel from an economic crisis caused by the irresponsible actions of Wall Street bankers and their political allies in Washington, DC.  With millions of Pennsylvanians out of work – and many who are employed struggling to make ends meet and to access affordable health care – our state and many others are grappling with a fiscal double whammy of skyrocketing demand for critical services, and plummeting state revenues.  

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My two cents about a two-year budget


By State Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia

Few people are as aware as I about the scorn directed at the legislature for its failure to adopt a budget on time in recent years, most notably, last year. I am deeply troubled about the way in which political and partisan differences play out over the budget table and I am committed to making the process work better. Such a commitment requires a measured reasonable effort by lawmakers as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction not grounded in history or practicality, such as a return to a two-year budget cycle, an accounting method rightfully cast aside by Pennsylvanians 50 years ago.

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Indie Fiscal Office: Good Policy or Power Shift?



Tomorrow morning, the House and Senate Finance Committees will join forces to hold a public hearing on the creation of an Independent Fiscal Office for your state government. We will be there to cover the fun and games, but until then, we thought we would give you a bit of a preview of what to expect.

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Ward Bosses Meet Social Media: Weekly Campaign Update



By Roy J. Wells, President, Triad Strategies

In a three way race for the Republican nomination for Governor in Texas, incumbent Rick Perry received 51% of the vote to Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s 30% and Debra Medina’s 19%. According to theDallas Morning News, Perry’s campaign used “a radical approach that eschews traditional voter turnout efforts in favor of extensive use of social media networks.”  The Perry campaign did not use yard signs, phone banks and door-to-door canvassers to get out the vote.  Rather, Perry used his 31,000 plus Facebook fans and his 22,000 plus Twitter followers to get his message out and to get voters to the polls.  

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Garbage cans and social media

Garbage cans

By Roy J. Wells, President & Managing Director of Triad Strategies

During February’s almost daily snows, I often arrived home to find my trash cans sitting out near the curb, still unemptied. In my township, it’s not uncommon for the trash to be picked up a day late following a snowstorm. 

In this case, given the severity of the storm, the pickup was delayed for several days. So, like my neighbors, I let the cans sit at the curb rather than risk missing the resumption of trash pickups. I guess I could have checked my township’s web site to see if they had provided any information, but I rarely ever go to the township’s web site. In fact, I go there so infrequently I just found out today that I could sign up to receive emails with public safety alerts and community information.

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How to Measure Social Media Impact


By Roy J. Wells, President, Triad Strategies

I received an email last week from a campaign staffer who wanted me to see some campaign website analytics. Since one important aspect of any social media strategy is how you can increase SEO (search engine optimization) on your website I thought we might take a look how the campaign websites have performed over the past three months (November – January).

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Looking Towards the Future: Engaging More Women in State Politics

By State Rep. Jennifer L. Mann, D-Allentown

As only the third woman to serve in a House Leadership role, and the first since 1964, I am acutely aware of how far women have come in state politics and how far we still have to go.

We only have 37 women in our General Assembly, 27 in the House and 10 in the Senate, just 14% of the entire General Assembly. According to John Baer’s February 22 Philadelphia Daily News article, Pennsylvania ranks 46th overall in the number of female state legislators.

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Corbett surges: PA candidate social media update


 By Roy J. Wells, President, Triad Strategies

Last week we saw how a politician’s Facebook fan page can become the center of political discourse. Newly-elected Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and four other Republican Senators crossed party lines and cast a procedural vote to end a Republican filibuster on the Democrats’ $15 billion jobs bill. According to the Associated Press, this vote registered over 4,200 comments on his fan page. The majority of comments castigated his vote, while a minority of comments supported it. There were even calls from the right to stop following him on Twitter. Despite all of this outrage, he still added 3,197 fans and 361 Twitter followers. Clearly, support him or not, people are still interested in listening to what he has to say, and he was able to issue a statement directly to them without it being filtered by the media.

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State’s Funding Commitment for Education Grows...Or Does It?


By Randy King, Senior Communications Associate at Triad Strategies, now serving his second term as an elected member of the Harrisburg School District's Board of Directors

Educational interests across the Commonwealth have been largely supportive of Governor Rendell’s proposed state budget, which increases basic education funding by $354 million.  To the Gov’s credit, the increase reflects his commitment to closing the so-called Adequacy Gap, or the amount the state should be providing for the education each individual child, depending upon their circumstance.

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