It was another whirlwind week in Washington, starting with President Trump holding a “listening session” at the White House on gun safety. At one point, Trump chided our own U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey for being “afraid of the NRA,” which is rather odd since Toomey’s bill to expand background checks for gun buyers isn’t exactly at the top of the NRA’s Christmas list.
On a related note, back during his first run for the Oval Office, former President Barack Obama took some serious heat for his offhand comments about some Pennsylvania voters “clinging to guns and religion.” Accordingly, we give you this story about a bunch of people going to church clutching their AR-15 rifles. Not often you get that clear of a visual to make your point.
Before we depart the firearms debate, one state lawmaker would like to see the law change to provide for an automatic death penalty for anyone who shoots up a school. Nothing like a death penalty AND gun control debate in an election year! 2018 could be busier than we thought in the General Assembly. We’d better buy more coffee.
White House Communication Director of the Month Hope Hicks announced this week she will be departing in the coming weeks, presumably to take up her new job as drummer for the band Spinal Tap. People who work in that West Wing job seem to have the shelf life of warm yogurt.
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week announced that he has a bunch of shiny new nukes that are unstoppable and can hit any target on the planet and look how strong I am yadda yadda yadda… probably not coincidentally, Putin is also running for “re-election” next month, so nothing like a little saber-rattling to put the planet on edge.
We pause the memo this week to bring you the news that the Nittany Lion Shrine in State College is whole again, after the poor dude’s ear fell off early this week. Apparently, the ear had been damaged for a while, putting to rest the conspiracy theory that some Ohio State fan crept up in the middle of the night and pulled a Van Gogh on him.
In a move that warmed the cockles of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s heart, the president this week announced he will slap some steep tariffs on imported steel. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reacted much differently than Casey, by falling off a cliff.
The three remaining GOP gubernatorial candidates squared off in a debate this week, touching on subjects ranging from guns to sexual assault to education. You can read the recap here if you are so inclined. We are pretty sure Governor Wolf’s campaign team did.
Governor Wolf also took another important step in the fight against addiction this week, as he announced he will waive the pre-authorization requirement under Medicaid for addiction treatment. It is gonna take every tool in the box, people.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney this week unveiled his budget plans for next year, including a long-awaited plan to fund the city’s schools now that the SRC is no longer at the helm. The opening price tag is a 6 percent property tax increase. Kenney did his best “buck stops here” speech, and we will now see what City Council has to say.
Kenney will also be sorting through the names of the 27 people who would like one of the nine newly-created school board slots. Public education in Philly is going to look a lot different at this time next year, one way or another.
The proposed federal budget from President Trump would cost the Philadelphia Housing Authority a cool $90 million next year if enacted, we learned this week. The budget for Housing and Urban Development took quite a hit overall, and HUD Secretary Ben Carson reacted by buying some expensive new office furniture. Optics, Bennie. Stick with Value City Furniture from now on.
Some lawmakers in rural Pennsylvania are starting to chafe over the lack of broadband service in rural areas and are taking their case to the feds. Some of the state’s largest telecommunications providers are reacting to their pleas by pushing a bill that would allow faster deployment of 5G service in Pittsburgh and Philly. So yeah, the priorities don’t seem to have shifted a whole lot.
Our good friend Ralph Vartan this week cleared another hurdle in his plan for a 59-acre mixed-use development in Susquehanna Township. Few people in the country have Vartan’s vision, and we are proud to be a part of his team!
We would call this next item a Shameless Client Plug, but Nate Kresge and his team at GK Visual are actually more like family. Hence, we give them a huge shout-out this week for securing a state grant to help in the development of their documentary “Poured in PA,” a cinematic journey through the roots of the craft beer industry in the Keystone State. Glasses up!
In our We Can’t Make This up segment this week, we take you to Florida, where the Royal Canadian Air Force this week showed off its response to Putin’s saber-rattling by dropping a rubber life raft through a woman’s roof. You see that, Vlad? You could be next!
That’s what passes for news around here as we welcome March, who is already acting like a bit of a jerk. Really, this whole “in like a lion” thing is tiresome. Someone cut March’s ear off already. 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