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February 2018

Friday Happy Hour: Edmund Fitzgerald Edition

This week was dominated by a national discussion on gun control and gun safety in the wake of the horrific slaughter of students and faculty in Parkland, Florida.  While barbs flew on 375fitz both sides of the issue, our own Pat Toomey once again emerged with his plan to expand background checks for gun purchases. The eyes of the nation will be watching to see if Toomey’s plan has picked up the necessary support this time around.   

President Trump also weighed in on the gun debate this week, throwing his support behind a plan to have more armed teachers and armed guards in schools, ban so-called bump stocks, and toughen background checks as well.  In a country as harshly divided on this topic as the United States is, the fact that both Toomey and Trump are moving in the same direction is nothing short of stunning

If you happen to be Pennsylvania political aficionado, this week was a big smorgasbord of intrigue centered on the rawest of political topics: gerrymandering.  The state’s highest court dropped the new congressional maps on Harrisburg on Monday, and boy did the sparks and lawsuits fly.  On one side, almost the entire PA congressional delegation joined the General Assembly’s top Republicans in suing in the U. S. Supreme Court to stop the maps from being implemented.  Paul Ryan, Pat Toomey, and President Trump also weighed in on their behalf.  On the other side, former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder will be fighting for the implementation.  So, if you think map-making isn’t inherently political, check those names again and get back to us. 

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Friday Happy Hour: Brotherly Love Edition

Sometimes it is hard to put together a light-hearted look at the week’s event while watching a horrific event like Wednesday’s Parkland shooting unfold.  Once again, we find ourselves in an all-too-familiar place, grieving for parents who lost their children to an unspeakable act of violence and cowardice.  All we can say is that we sincerely hope that “doing nothing” isn’t, once again, the chosen path forward.


Early in the week, President Trump unveiled his budget proposal, which was odd since Congress enacted a two-year spending deal the previous week.  In any case, Trump’s plan would seriously boost military spending, sharply decrease support for domestic programs and usher in an era of yearly trillion-dollar deficits. There was a time when candidate Trump promised to eliminate the deficit, as we recall.  Some very powerful Congressional Republicans also remember that time, apparently, as they summarily dumped the plan into the Potomac.  

Pennsylvania was a literal Map-a-pa-looza this week, with all interested parties submitting proposed Congressional maps to the state Supreme Court. Twitter was a dumpster fire of vitriol, half-truths and accusations that made us want to throw our computers into the Susquehanna River. Some of our friends on the Hill were spinning so hard that Peloton offered them jobs.  To the rescue rides our old friend Charles Thompson at Pennlive, who this morning shared an exhaustive and detailed look at all the maps and all the scenarios that could play out.  Spoiler alert: this mess is headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The Philadelphia Airport this week finalized a deal for a 135-acre tract of land that could make the city a new air freight hub, we learned this week. After years of fits and starts, we could be seeing huge FedEx and Amazon Air cargo planes circling the city. Fly, Philly, fly!

Meanwhile, the largest vessel to ever grace the Port of Philadelphia made an appearance this week, carrying a literal boatload of fruit from South America (including lots of grapes, which we all know are the best of all fruits.)  It is a good time to be in the City of Brotherly Love, isn’t it? A big shout-out goes to Triad Senior Consultant Tony Mannino who sits on the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority Board! 

Speaking of which, our good friend Council President Darrell Clarke won a little wager with his counterpart from Boston when the Eagles downed the Patriots.  A special delivery from Mike’s Pastry in Beantown hit the President’s desk this week, and we have to say we are more than a little jealous. Leave the trophy; take the cannolis.   

Locally-owned bridges and rural roads could get a boost under Governor Wolf’s proposed budget, we learned this week.  Wolf is seeking $200 million to begin tackling structurally-deficient bridges in rural areas, along with some roads less travelled, with apologies to Robert Frost.    

Pittsburgh this week finally emerged from state financial oversight, and there was much rejoicing in the Steel City.  Congratulations to current and former elected officials who helped steer that city back to solvency and a bright future.  As Governor Wolf sealed the deal this week, we could not help but think that the city has finally done what few others have failed to do: leave the Hotel California.  Most towns with the Act 47 designation find that they can check out anytime they like but can never truly leave. 

Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis industry is springing to life, with dispensaries opening all over the state.  It would appear, however, that the state’s physicians are still a bit unenthusiastic about participating, as only 700 of the active 57,000 doctors in the state have applied to dispense. The supply/demand graph is gonna be out of whack if that trend continues. 

In one of the weirder political stories of 2018, Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson finds himself in a rather odd place as he seeks to unseat incumbent Tammy Baldwin.  It would seem that Nicholson’s parents are not too fond of his candidacy and have therefore maxed out their financial support to Baldwin instead.  It will be an awfully interesting Thanksgiving in the Nicholson household.

The political eyes of the state (and some nationally) continue to be fixed upon southwestern Pennsylvania, as a special election for the state’s 18th Congressional district looms larger in the windshield.  Democrat Corey Lamb is locked in a tight battle with Republican Rick Saccone in a district that President Trump carried by 20 points.  If you’ve watched this race unfold, you would be tempted to think that Mr. Lamb was the love child of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

From the Department of Shocking Exactly Nobody comes the news that President Trump is endorsing Congressman Lou Barletta in his bid to oust U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., who oddly enough is also the love child of Chuck and Nancy.  For his part, Senator Casey is probably thrilled to inform voters in the southeastern part of the state that Mr. Trump is endorsing Mr. Barletta.

Elsewhere on this week’s Triadvocate, be sure to check out this piece from Triad’s newest addition Todd Brysiak, who gives you a primer on workforce development this week.  Since workforce improvements seem to be on every politico’s wish list this year, it may prove useful to know how we got here and where we might end up when all the chefs are done in the kitchen.

In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, a Chicago ABC News affiliate apparently does not know the difference between the City of Pyeongchang and the chain restaurant P.F. Chang’s.  At least the person who writes their chyron graphics doesn’t. If this were an MSNBC snafu, it would probably be President Trump’s fault, we assume. All we know is that we can definitely compete for a medal at P.F. Chang’s.   

That’s what passes for news around here as we map our course to the weekend.  Be sure to come back next week when the next chapter in Map-a-pa-looza will surely be written, and we might even muster up the energy to tell you about it.  Until then, from all of us at Triad, have a great weekend!

Can PA find the right tools to bridge its skills gap?

WorkforceThere’s been no shortage of talk lately when it comes to the strength of Pennsylvania’s workforce. With signs that the economy is really beginning to turn for the better – a point amplified by a sub-five-percent unemployment rate – policymakers and employers alike are again focusing on our state’s ability to attract jobs with a skilled workforce.

Unfortunately, what they are seeing isn’t favorable. Pennsylvania is one of many states that has been tagged with the dreaded “skills gap” moniker, and it’s being viewed as an impediment to new opportunities.

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Friday Happy Hour: Purple People Eaters Edition

Philadelphia had a parade to end all parades on Thursday, bringing the city its first ever Lombardi Trophy.  The Eagles did what we all thought was impossible, and that was turning Vikingsevery Steelers fan into a Philly supporter, at least for one day! Fly, Eagles, fly and congratulations!

Congress and President Trump also accomplished what many may have thought was impossible by agreeing on a two-year budget deal instead of the normal five-day budget deals we’ve all become accustomed to.  McConnell and Schumer, together, for one shining moment.

Couple this with the recently-passed $1.5 trillion tax cut, and we find that Trump and the GOP have now poured more money into the economy than the famed Obama stimulus package.  If the $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill passes this year, it will make Obama look like quite the miser.

This being Washington and all, the festivities had their moments of drama. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi strode to the microphone Wednesday and… wouldn’t leave.  Eight hours later, Pelosi wrapped up her speech about getting a DACA deal done (alliteration alert!) by saying the House Democrats would be a big, fat NO on the budget deal without immigration reform.  Uh, never mind.

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Triad Strategies Adds Todd Brysiak as VP of Government Affairs

HARRISBURG – Building on its experienced team of communications and lobbying professionals, Triad Strategies is proud to announce the addition of Todd Brysiak to the firm as vice  Todd_Website president of government affairs. Brysiak, who comes to Triad after more than 13 years of experience in state government, will anchor the firm’s lobbying and advocacy arm. Combining extensive work on both policy development and communications platforms, Brysiak has been at the forefront of nearly every major issue debated in Harrisburg in recent years. He has become known for his ability to bridge the gap among parties with diverse interests and perspectives, which has built a track record of success in the halls of the state Capitol.

Brysiak spent the last three years as chief of staff to the majority leader in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. His resume also includes terms as the executive director of the House Republican Policy Committee and communications coordinator and spokesman for the House Republican Appropriations Committee. Brysiak also served as communications director for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

“Bringing someone with Todd’s experience and reputation to Triad will undoubtedly strengthen the firm’s ability to serve our clients,” said Roy Wells, Triad president and managing partner. “His insight and perspectives are a real asset, and we are very proud to have him part of our team.”

Triad Strategies is a bipartisan lobbying and strategic communications firm, providing a wide range of public affairs and government relations services to for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

“Joining a firm with such a wide-ranging ability to serve its clients is an incredible opportunity,” said Brysiak. “The team’s experience is unique, and its commitment to clients is energizing. I am very excited about Triad’s future.”

Brysiak is a 2001 graduate of Lycoming College with a degree in communications and currently serves on the college’s athletic advisory board.

Friday Happy Hour: Eagles Tattoo Edition

Let’s face it, we could give you the best weekly wrap of all time this week, but the only thing that matters to folks in the eastern part of the Commonwealth is what happens in Eagle Minneapolis this Sunday.  To wit, we give you this video of Philadelphia City Council having an Eagles pep rally, lovingly filmed by our own Roy Wells. 

Governor Tom Wolf will be in the Twin Cities rooting on the Eagles this week, but before y’all jump on your “wasteful spending” soapboxes, he is personally picking up the tab for the whole thing.  So calm down, people.

Tuesday was President Trump’s first State of the Union address, and it clocked in at just under “incredibly lengthy.”  When you are giving speeches that start to rival Bill Clinton’s in length, that may be an issue.  Brevity is the soul of wit, so try to be a bit wittier, Mr. President.

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