Doug Reichley, current occupant of that office, is in a heavily Republican district. He's part of the LV's landed gentry and wears a tuxedo to bed. He's treading water as state rep. until Jim Martin gets tired of being Lehigh County DA. His re-election should be a slam-dunk, right?
Not exactly. According to Harrisburgbuzz, a right wing blogger, Reichley's seat is threatened. He's gone from being a heavy to only a slight favorite. And just like his pals Santorum and Dent, Reichley has responded by going negative, plastering Blue Collar Casey because he's poor. Reichley even had one of his trolls visit this blog anonymously to tell us Blue Collar Casey once went broke.
Oh my goodness, that's horrible! Why, that's just like Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president. It's as bad as Harry Truman, one of GW's favorite presidents. Blue Collar Casey must learn his place!
Reichley's camp must think public office is only for aristocrats. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Blue Collar Casey can't afford to give up his job while running for office. So when he's not working, he spends a lot of time knocking on doors. It can't be easy because he recently had a hip replaced, but he's shuffling along in a heavily Republican district, against all odds.
Why does he do it?
In his words, "I will put the needs of the people, not politicians, first."
Casey told me he sees too many people who spend far too much time working several jobs just to get by. He was furious when the legislature gave themselves and judges a nice payraise while letting people on minimum wage suffer. Seniors are getting squeezed out of their homes as property taxes continue to rise. People have trouble filling gas tanks. Kids don't get to see a doctor or dentist as often as they should. This is the kind of thing a blue collar guy notices. And Chris Casey's inspiration was another blue collar worker - his dad. As a child, Chris tagged along as his father delivered food from church pantries to less fortunate families.
"We don't eat if they're hungry."
That's what Blue Collar Casey Senior would tell his son. It's a good message. Incumbent state legislators from both parties may have trouble getting that message. But Chris Casey understood. He understood so well he went broke taking care of his parents when they became ill and died. Some things are more important than money. That's family values, blue collar style. Let's contrast these to Reichley values.
The Reichley Values
That Midnight Payraise
Reichley did vote against the midnight payraise that state legislators gave to themselves and judges, but also voted to suspend rules that would have required consideration on three separate days before enactment. That's what made the raise possible. And he took the money and ran, although he now claims to have given some of it back for bullet proof vests or something. He's featured on Bill White's rogues' gallery of state legislators who either voted for or accepted the midnight payraise. And he's also a member of PaCleanSweeps's Hall of Shame, and there he'll stay until he can document his claim to have returned his payraise. Reichley's re-election site is silent on the issue. In fact, his silence is deafening.
Lukewarm Support For Minimum Wage Hike
Another issue that Reichley's pretty quiet about is our minimum wage. Incumbents and other business interests frustrated any attempted increase for nearly two decades. Reichley had no problem taking a wage hike for himself, but sure hated the idea of giving any relief to blue collar folks. After the public outcry over the midnight payraise, Reichley finally went along with a meager raise to $7.15 by July 1, 2008. But he also sponsored an amendment that would reduce that payraise well below our poverty level.
Friend of the Working Man?
In addition to his lukewarm support for a minimum wage hike, Reichley's a big sponsor of "right to work" legislation. That's a nice way of saying that he's a union basher. "Right to work" laws weaken unions, which lead to lower wages and unsafe working conditions. And blue collar guys are the ones who will feel the impact of smaller paychecks and bigger on-the-job accidents. This concern doesn't bother Reichley a bit, and he proudly lists the endorsement of Pa.'s Right to Work Committee.
Sprawl daddy Reichley
Take a glance, just a peep, at Reichley's most recent campaign finance report. If you look much longer than that, you're going to be sick. It's a veritable who's who of local builders and developers. Reichley was sitting on $107,000 in May, and most of that money came from all the sprawlmeisters in the Macungies and Lehigh Valley. He pulled in nearly $20,000 in the first few months of this year alone from developers and builders! With that kind of special interest sugar, it's pretty clear he's their beeotch. Don't look for any meaningful land use reform from Reichley. Look for more development, sprawl and flooding. By the way, the builders and developers' lobby has also endorsed him.
Government for Sale
If you think developers are the only special interest in town, think again. It's disturbing to see Reichley rake in $3,300 from energy industry in the first few months of this year. And the telecom industry, which wants to abolish net neutrality, kicked off the year with $850. These special interests have certainly padded Reichley's coffers since then.
Reichley's Terrific Environmental Record
To be fair, Reichley is worried sick about snakeheads. Other than that, his environmental record is abysmal. Thanks to LVDem, we know that Douggie has been awarded "worst offender" status for his environmental record. Maybe the Sierra Club should give him a few bucks.
Reichley pretty much stands for perpetuation of a corrupt system of government, slanted heavily in favor of the aristocracy. Blue Collar Casey stands for the rest of us. In his LVDem interview and with me, he made it clear he wants strict lobbyist controls, an end to ghost voting and real tax reform.
Casey stands for good government. That's why Republicans should vote for him. There's plenty of time for partisan politics once we have real legislators in place who are serving us instead of developers. But to spread his message, Blue Collar Casey needs your help. He doesn't have the support of special interests. He only has you. Please take the time to visit my Act Blue page and give him a few dollars. A few bucks here and there can make the difference in this very important election.
And so the battle rages.