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Landau named to Wolf Transition Team

Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman David Landau is among at least four county residents selected to join Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s transition team.

Landau will join a 290-member team that includes Upper Darby Councilwoman Sekela Coles, attorney Gerald Lawerence and Anthony Gallagher, the business manager of Steamfitters Local 420.

Landau was selected to a team charged with overseeing the transition in the Department of State. Coles joins the transition team overseeing drug and alcohol programs. Lawerence is part of the insurance transition team and Gallagher is part of the Department of Labor and Industry transition team.

Landau said he was pleased that several Delco residents were selected, saying it shows the county’s importance and should bolster the administration’s relationships here.

“I’m very thrilled to be asked to serve on the transition task for the Department of State,” Landau said. “I look forward to that.”

Landau was unable to go into specifics about his role, citing an ethics pledge all transition members must sign preventing them from detailing their tasks with the media.


Gov.-elect Wolf taps McGinty as Chief of Staff

Governor-elect Tom Wolf named Katie McGinty as his chief of staff, citing her broad experience in the state and federal government.

McGinty, who led the Wolf-affiliated Campaign for a Fresh Start during the gubernatorial campaign, has more than 25 years of public service, including a stint at the White House during former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

“She will be an asset to my administration and to the people of Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in a statement. “In federal and state government, Katie worked with diverse interests to achieve meaningful change change in difficult environments. Her experience will help me work with Republicans and Democrats to move Pennsylvania forward.”

Wolf defeated Republican Gov. Tom Corbett last week, becoming the first challenger to knock out an incumbent governor in Pennsylvania’s modern history. However, Republicans added to their majorities in both the state Senate and House.

McGinty previously served as both Clinton’s deputy assistant and as the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she worked to pass environmental legislation and led initiatives to redevelop brown fields, preserve key ecosystems and improve environmental protection.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell nominated McGinty in 2003 to serve as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. She was the first woman to hold the post.

McGinty, who also has experience in the private sector, unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last spring. She finished fourth of four candidates.

Wolf will be inaugurated Jan. 20, 2015.




McGarrigle campaign launches new TV advertisement

A new television advertisement for Republican state Senate candidate Tom McGarrigle is expected to begin running today.

The ad praises McGarrigle for the role he and Delaware County Council played in saving jobs when three regional refineries, including two in Delaware County, were faced with closure in 2011. It features Andrea Devenney sharing the uncertainty she felt in the months leading to their impending closures.

“When I first found out the refineries were closing, there was fear,” Devenny says in the ad. “How am I going to pay the bills? Will my husband find another job? Because of leaders like Tom McGarrigle, thousands of people are back to work.”

A bipartisan group of local, state and federal officials helped find buyers for the former ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer and the former Sunoco refinery in South Philadelphia. A buyer was never found for Sunoco’s former refinery in Marcus Hook, which awaits a possible future involving Marcellus shale.

McGarrigle, the owner of an auto repair shop and the chairman of county council, is running against Democrat John Kane for the open seat in the 26th Senatorial District. Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690, debuted his first television ad on Wednesday.

The new McGarrigle ad, dubbed “Thanks for Believing,” is the second aired by his campaign. He launched his first ad in late May. It featured him working in his auto repair shop and discussing the values instilled by his late mother.

McGarrigle, of Springfield, said he met Devenny last winter at the 75th Anniversary party for IBEW Local 654. Devenny thanked him for helping save her husband’s job, McGarrigle said.

“I think it shows that the rank and file know who went out there and helped and who marched down Market Street,” McGarrigle said, referencing a November 2011 march through Marcus Hook by union workers facing job loss.

McGarrigle said he did everything he could on his behalf for the refinery workers.

“I’m not telling voters what I plan to do,” McGarrigle said. “I have a record and the record is clear.”

Kane campaign spokesman Aren Platt issued a statement in response to McGarrigle’s new ad.

“Tom McGarrigle knows that there are dozens of politicians and community leaders who played a bigger hand in keeping the refineries open than he did,” Platt said. “But, like a typical politician, he’s taking credit for something he didn’t do to try to win an election. If he wants to go toe-to-toe with John Kane about who has created more working and middle class jobs, bring it on — as a business manager, John Kane has literally created thousands of jobs across the region.”


… And we’re back

After a few weeks off for a summer vacation out west, I’m back on the politics beat in Delco. So, this blog might start to get a bit more life again. The state budget is finalized, though Gov. Tom Corbett is still seeking pension reform. And there’s a few noteworthy elections rolling around the bend, led, of course, by the gubernatorial race.

In the meantime, here’s a snippet of what I saw during the last few weeks:

Vacations 610

I snapped this photo of elk grazing some 12,000 feet above sea level on a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Vacations 538

The Garden of the Gods sits in the foothills of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Co. Pikes Peak, not pictured, is off to the left.


Checking out a Rockies game from a mile above sea level. A purple strip of seats marks the height at Denver's Coors Field.

Checking out a Rockies game from a mile above sea level. A purple stripe of seats marks the height at Denver’s Coors Field.


Finally, for all you political junkies, here’s the Colorado Capitol building, located in Denver.


Update: McNichol named convention center authority CEO

John J. McNichol was named the president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority today by the agency’s board of directors.

McNichol, of Glen Mills, had served as the vice chairman of the board of directors and was serving in an unpaid capacity as acting President and CEO since December. His new role becomes effective March 1 and reportedly will pay him a salary of $220,000 with benefits.

McNichol is the son of the late John F. McNichol, the longtime chairman of the Upper Darby Republican Party. He is a partner at Greenlee Partners, a Philadelphia-based lobbying firm.

“The Pennsylvania Convention Center is a real asset to the state and the region, and we are on the path to helping the Center reach its full potential as a major economic driver for the region,” McNichol said in a statement. “I see so much potential here at the Center and, while we have our challenges, I look forward to the opportunity to have a substantial impact on our region.”

McNichol will provide general administrative oversight of the authority’s staff and coordinate the convention center’s activities with stakeholders.

Gregory J. Fox, chairman of the PCCA board of directors, issued a statement saying McNichol has been an integral part of the board’s efforts to ensure the Pennsylvania Convention Center is a regional economic driver in the hospitality industry.

“After meeting with and talking with a number of candidates, it became clear to me that we already had the best candidate right here all along,” Fox said. “John’s expertise and knowledge of the Center, his relationships with stakeholders, leadership skills, and expertise in state government will be important assets to the Center as we work to enhance the customer experience and attract more shows and conventions to Philadelphia.”

McNichol took a significant pay cut and divested himself as a partner at Greenlee Partners to take the position, according to a press release announcing his hire.

The convention center remains under contract with SMG, a facility management company that privately manages and operates the facility. SMG replaced former CEO Ahmeenah Young, of Philadelphia, when it began running the center in December, but retained the majority of the center’s staff to oversee day-to-day operations.

The PCCA maintains a group of employees who oversee SMG, capital improvements to the building, financial reporting and interaction with stakeholders. The center is a state-owned building.

The board also elected Josh Shapiro to fill McNichol’s vacancy as vice chairman. Shapiro is the chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Inky report: McNichol likely to be named convention center authority CEO

John McNichol is likely to be named the chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority today, according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

McNichol is the son of the late John F. McNichol, who was the longtime chairman of the Upper Darby Republican Committee. He is a partner at Greenlee Partners, a Philadelphia-based lobbying firm.

McNichol will assume a reduced version of the role, formerly held by Philadelphia’s Ahmeenah Young, according to the report. The position includes a salary of $220,000 and benefits.

McNichol currently is the interim chief executive officer, an unpaid position, and the vice chairman of the board. Montgomery County Commissioners chief Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, will assume the vice chairmanship, according to the report.

Odds and ends for a snowy Thursday

Now that you’re finished digging out your driveways, here are a few political notes you might have missed, especially if your paper landed under a heap of snow:

  • Vince Rongione, running for the open seat in the 163rd Legislative District, announced Wednesday that several local Democratic Committee Chairs are endorsing him. They include Upper Darby Chair Ed Bradley, Upper Darby Vice Chair Matt Silva, Aldan Chair Michael Ceci, Aldan Vice Chair Dan Procopio, Havertown Chair Judith LaLonde and Havertown Vice Chair Brian Kennedy. The Delaware County Democratic Party’s nominating convention is Feb. 20.
  • Gov. Tom Corbett wrote the Daily Times, arguing Pennsylvania has recovered from the Great Recession and is ready to hit its full economic stride. Read his letter here.
  • The Daily Times editorial board argues that the retirement of Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Sam Smith is indicative of changing dynamics in Harrisburg. That argument is here.
  • Local Democrats are criticizing the makeup of Upper Darby’s redistricting committee, claiming it is not reflective of the township’s diversity. Kevin Tustin reports here.
  • Nationally, the deficit is down from last year and a debt-limit bill is awaiting President Obama’s signature. Also, Obama increased the minimum wage for federal contract workers Wednesday.

Please allow me to introduce myself …

I am the new politics reporter for the Delaware County Daily Times, replacing Danielle Lynch, who kept a close eye on county politics for several years.

I’m stepping into the job after spending the last 3.5 years covering the city of Chester and the Chester Upland School District. There was a lot to cover, to say the least. Chester Upland nearly closed its doors when it ran out of funding in January 2012. A lawsuit filed by the school board prevented that disaster, but ultimately the state again seized control of the district. Meanwhile, the Chester Democratic Party grabbed control of City Hall for the first time in the city’s history. Under Mayor John Linder, they’ve battled their own budget struggles while trying to revitalize the city, mitigate violence and lower unemployment.

So, I may be new to the county scene, but I’m not entirely green on politics. I’ve seen how the game is played.

A few things about myself: I’m a Temple University graduate who initially dabbled in sportswriting, where every night is dubbed as election night. A native of Lancaster County, I’m an avid baseball fan who tries to visit a new ballpark every summer (I’ve been to 16). I reluctantly list Weezer as my favorite musical group, fully knowing they have not produced a quality album in more than a decade. That’s loyalty, I guess. Also, my grandmother once told me there always would be newspapers. She was wrong.

This blog hopefully will serve as a forum to provide frequent updates on Delaware County’s local, state and federally-elected officials. I’ll also try to post any other relevant political news I come across.