Joe Brennan - Democratic candidate for the 133rd legislative district, told us about the need for campaign finance reform, lobbyist disclosure, and sweeping change in Harrisburg. As a county councilman, Joe always had an independent streak. But he also worked as a legislative aide. Joe is the best of both worlds - a maverick who knows how the system works.
Gerry Seyfried - Northampton County's former Executive and Councilman, explained County finances and stressed the importance of "pay as you go" as opposed to incurring huge debt. He also talked about the county's Liberty Bell, which he described as a national treasure.
Nazareth Borough Councilpersons Jack Herbst and Cindy Werner spoke with quiet passion and force against a current proposal to build a new government center inside of a park.
BillyBytes (Billy Givens), noted Bill White Hall of Famer, indefatigable blogger, essayist, independent candidate for Governor, and frequent commenter to this blog, displayed his irrepressible southern charm. (He was unusually sedate).
Jason Slipp, cofounder of Lehigh Valley Beyond Oil, talked about peak oil, the absurdity of widening more roads, and the need for light rail in the Lehigh Valley.
Russ Shade, who managed John Stoffa's astonishingly successful county executive campaign without a dime of special interest money and against party bosses, told us about his own campaign for state representative in the 183rd legislative district. He thinks campaign money should come from residents that actually live in the legislative district, and not PACs located in Toodeloo.
Chris Casey, Democratic candidate for the 134th legislative district, is tired of incumbents and believes Harrisburg needs a breath of fresh air.
State Rep. Rich Grucela took time out on his way to a committee meeting to describe the tax relief package cobbled together in Harrisburg. He explained it's only a start, and would like to see a lot more done to provide relief for people on fixed incomes. He also described his plan to impose impact fees on developers, which should help preserve green space, but is running into heavy flack from builders and developers. Rich voted against the pay raise, refused to take the money, and is running unopposed. Wonder why?
Allentown blogger Damien Brown of Our West End Neighborhood gave us a virtual tour of downtown Allentown. Close your eyes and think about Allentown. Pretty ugly, huh? Now open them and take a gander at Damien's blog. You'll see a different city.
Louis Belletieri, Allentown businessman, lost his bid to become Mayor. But the victor, Ed Pawlowski, liked Louis' vision, and drafted him to serve the city in attracting and keeping business. After listening to Louis speak, I'm ready to move there myself. Come to think of it, my rent is due soon.
Politics: Lehigh Valley Style, Lehigh County Redneck, and Musings From Mudville could not appear without blowing their cover, but gave me plenty of support behind the scenes.
I want to thank everyone involved for the wonderful conversations over the past two weeks. And I'd like to thank Ron Angle, Mark Thomas, and Jolly Joe Timmer, who gave me free reign over guests and format. I'll probably be doing this again around Christmas. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know.