Campaign '14
By John Guerriero, Kevin Flowers Erie Times-News staff bloggers
John Guerriero and Kevin Flowers have joined forces for Campaign ’14, a blog about the 2014 races for governor and U.S. House, among others. And you'll read about President Barack Obama, Congress and what's going on in Harrisburg. Check it out and you’ll be a lot more informed before voting in the May 21 primary and the Nov. 5 election.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged ‘Greg Lucas’
Posted: December 3rd, 2013

State Rep. Greg Lucas said his vote for a transportation bill means more than dollars and cents.

Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist., said his vote concerned the safety of the state’s roads and bridges.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist.

Here is a column that he wrote about his vote:

The children were on their way back from a summer field trip to a water park.  They were singing songs and relaxing when, in an instant, their lives were forever changed. 

The bridge on which their school bus was traveling collapsed.  The bus teetered perilously along a guardrail.  Imagine your children or the children of someone you love, stranded on that school bus, wondering if they will ever again be able to see their parents.

This story is real.  It took place in 2007.  During rush-hour traffic, the westbound bridge carrying Interstate 35 in Minneapolis plummeted into the Mississippi River.  More than 100 cars were traveling on the bridge.  Thirteen people died as a result of the bridge collapse and nearly 150 were injured.

I share this story with you because it directly pertains to what happened in November in our state Capitol.  A bipartisan majority of state representatives and senators voted to approve a transportation funding bill and send it to the governor to be signed into law.

The new law will provide much-needed money to repair Pennsylvania’s aging roads and bridges.

Pennsylvania has more than 30,000 bridges.  More than 6,500 of those bridges are considered “structurally deficient.”  To put that in perspective, if you drive across five Pennsylvania bridges today, chances are good at least one of them will be “structurally deficient.”

We do not want what happened in Minnesota to ever happen in Pennsylvania.  However, fixing our bridges will require money.

The new law will raise revenues primarily by eliminating a cap on an existing tax, known as the Oil Company Franchise Tax.  Other money will be generated by increasing the cost of a driver’s license and vehicle registration by $1 during the next two years.  These are a reasonable price to pay in an effort to ensure the tragedy of Minneapolis is not repeated somewhere in Pennsylvania.

I could tell you about all of the economic benefits this law will provide.  I could talk about the up to 50,000 new jobs that could have been lost if we failed to enact the law.  However, arguing over money and job numbers seems petty in comparison to the 13 lives lost when the I-35 bridge collapsed.

You may be wondering what happened to the children in the bus on that fateful day back in 2007.  According to an Aug. 3, 2007, New York Times article (“Stunned Victim Turns Hero”), of the more than 60 people in the bus that day, 14 were hospitalized, but – miraculously – no one was killed.

Some may argue this incident happened a long distance away from Pennsylvania.  That is exactly the point.  We never want to watch a school bus teeter on a guardrail of a collapsed bridge in our Commonwealth.  While we can never guarantee it won’t happen, this funding will help to repair our aging bridges.

There are some things in this world, like the lives of children on a school bus, that simply cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 20th, 2013

Gov. Tom Corbett got a much needed win when the state House of Representatives finally approved a transportation funding bill.

Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

Corbett, with sagging poll numbers as he readies a run for re-election in 2014, soon will be able to claim a victory from one of his key legislative agenda items. The others, a much harder sell before the election, are privatizing state liquor sales and reforming the state’s public pensions.

The $2.3 billion annual transportation funding bill for roads, bridges and mass transit is expected to win approval in the Senate because that chamber approved a similar bill back in June. It passed the House on Tuesday night.

It will be interesting to see the political ramifications of the plan, which is being funded largely by removing the cap on the oil company franchise tax rate. Critics such as state Reps. Patrick Harkins, of Erie, D-1st Dist., and Ryan Bizzarro, of Millcreek, D-3rd Dist., say the oil companies will pass along that increase to consumers at the gas pumps, an increase that could amount to 28.5 cents per gallon.

But state Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist., said the oil companies could absorb some of the increase, which he said would be phased in over five years. Lucas noted that gas wars have led to fluctuating prices at the pumps.

The state’s gas tax is now 50.7 cents per gallon.

The transportation plan also would be funded by an increase in driver’s licenses, car registrations and some traffic violations.

In a statement, Corbett said the House ”made a dramatic choice to invest in the future of Pennsylvania. In doing so, they have set the stage for the safety of our children and the economic prosperity for Pennsylvania.

“Voting for a comprehensive transportation plan will keep our transportation system safe and efficient, improve the state’s economy, and improve the quality of life for our 12 million-plus residents,” he said.

For more information on transportation funding, visit www.dot.state.pa.us.

– John  Guerriero

 

 

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 15th, 2013

State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, of Millcreek, D-3rd Dist., could find himself in the middle of an interesting re-election bid in 2014.

State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro/File photo

State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro/File photo

 

He could be forced to run against fellow state lawmaker Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist., in the wake of a court ruling that upholds a plan to remap both the state House and Senate districts starting with the 2014 elections.

I got reactions from both Bizzarro and Lucas the day that the court’s decision came out.

And like Lucas before him, Bizzarro has elaborated on the issue with a statement.

Here it is:

The news of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to uphold redistricting plan seems to leave some confusion within our region.

Here in our office, we have been fielding many questions about what the new maps mean—and how it will affect residents’ voices in Harrisburg—and at home in Erie County.

It’s hard not to think of the decision as politicking prevailing over need—but regardless of the motive—now is the time to work together to ensure we’re in the best position for when the decision takes effect after the November 2014 election.

State reapportionment, along with congressional redistricting, is required every 10 years after the U.S Census to try to maintain equal representation based on population changes.

Our population loss is Berks County’s gain, or so that’s the way it was drawn. The 5th Legislative District now represented by my colleague and neighboring State Representative Greg Lucas will be moved eastward, and Erie County will have one less voice representing it in Harrisburg.

It’s easy for both Republicans and Democrats to criticize the redistricting plan. The process has been mired in politics, and the first redistricting plan, which also moved the 5th Legislative District to Berks County, was thrown out by the court because of its blatantly partisan design.

We need jobs. We need to rebuild a deteriorating economic infrastructure that has led to the population losses. We need effective leadership to respond to crises like the possible layoffs of nearly 1,000 local workers at the GE locomotive plant in Lawrence Park and the devastating effect this will have on other local manufacturing and freight companies.

We need to return the Erie region to its glory days. We must continue to grow together, doing all that we can to ensure our region thrives as an economic powerhouse.

But, beginning in the next election cycle, we’ll be doing it with one less voice in Harrisburg. That’s why I will make sure the needs of the third legislative district continue to be heard louder and clearer than ever, as I continue my first term.

I can’t help but note the irony of the situation. At a time when Erie needs strong, effective leadership the most, it is stripped of a member. It makes a tough climb just a bit steeper.

Rep. Lucas and I hold the region’s best interests at heart and share a commitment to work on its behalf. That won’t change with the redistricting decision.

You will be hearing more from me about the new districts in the coming months. But the most important thing to remember for now is that the new boundaries are not in effect until after the November 2014 election. I continue to keep your best interests in mind while I serve as your state representative.

I have no doubts that the region will not only endure but prosper in the long run. We have the resources, the skilled workers, the know-how and the heart to do this! If you have any questions or concerns about the new district maps, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We’re located in the Peninsula Plaza at 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209 in Millcreek Township—and our phone number is 814-835-2880.

We’re here to make sure you have the loudest voices possible—representing you here at home, and in Harrisburg.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 9th, 2013

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the newly drawn boundaries for state House and Senate seats, starting with the 2014 election cycle.

One consequence of the ruling is that it will move the 5th House seat, now held by Greg Lucas, R-Edinboro, across the state into Berks County.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist.

I talked to Lucas about the ruling yesterday. But in a statement released this afternoon, he goes into more detail about the redistricting plan.

Here are his written comments:

“I currently represent the 5th Legislative District covering parts of Erie and Crawford counties.  As a result of the redrawn district lines, I will now live in the 3rd Legislative District currently served by Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Millcreek).

“Because of the change, I may lose my job.  But to be honest, that’s not what’s important here.

“While the redrawn maps and my future as a legislator have gained media attention, the real story is the underlying reason behind the shuffle of legislative districts.

“The 5th District is moving from northwestern Pennsylvania to the eastern part of the state because our region has seen a population decrease during the past decade, while other parts of the Commonwealth are growing.

“When a state legislator could potentially lose his job, it’s front-page news and a top story on TV and radio. When a few factory workers are laid off or a small business shuts down,  few people outside their immediate friends and families take notice.

“The two instances are directly linked. The loss of a legislative district will reduce our region’s clout in the state Capitol. There’s nothing we can do about that right now. The deal is done and the ink is dry.

“But these maps are redrawn every 10 years. If we’re going to get that legislative seat back in the future, we need to do something more important: Bring jobs and the residents they attract back to northwestern Pennsylvania.

 ”My job is just the latest victim in a decades-old tragedy that has affected too many local families. When jobs leave our region, families usually aren’t too far behind.  They search elsewhere for their slice of the American Dream.  If opportunity doesn’t knock locally, our residents are willing and able to track it down wherever it may be.

 ”I sought my current position knowing that there was a good chance the district would be moved when the lines were redrawn.  People have asked me what I intend to do in the future and whether or not I will run against Bizzarro. There’s plenty of time to figure that out.  My current term doesn’t run out – and the lines won’t move – until after the November 2014 general election.

 ”I’m focused on doing the job I was hired by my constituents to do – serve them locally and represent them in Harrisburg.

 ”At the same time, I am hopeful that my potential job loss will serve as a wakeup call instead of a metaphorical kiss goodnight. The fight for northwestern Pennsylvania’s future is far from over.

“We have some of the best-trained, hardest-working employees in the nation.  We have some of the most innovative employers on the planet. Neither group should be ready or willing to throw in the towel.

“During the next year and a half – and any time I may be privileged to serve in the General Assembly beyond that – my focus will remain on growing existing businesses, bringing jobs to our area and reversing the trend of population loss in our region.

 My job may be leaving, but there are too many jobs left to fight for to give up now.  My greatest hope is that this becomes the moment when our region turned the tides and began its triumphant return to greatness. Our residents deserve nothing less.”

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 19th, 2013

The Erie County legislative delegation has vowed to meet monthly to discuss issues in their respective districts and to take turns hosting the sessions.

On Monday,  state Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist., had the honors as the group met at Crossroads Dinor in Edinboro.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist.

The word of the meeting comes from state Rep. Patrick Harkins, of Erie, D-1st Dist.

The informal meetings also serve as a chance to get to know one another’s districts better. And it’s a bipartisan approach to taking on the issues in Harrisburg. The delegation has vowed to work together, Harkins said.

State Sen. Sean Wiley, of Millcreek, D-49th Dist., hosted the previous session.

– John Guerriero

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 17th, 2013

More Pennsylvania House committee assignments are being finalized.

State Rep. Flo Fabrizio, of Erie, D-2nd Dist., is the Democratic chairman of the Health Committee. He is also Democratic chairman of the Joint State Government Commission and Democratic deputy whip of the House.

State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, of Millcreek, D-3rd Dist., has been appointed to three committees: Aging and Older Adult Services, Gaming Oversight, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness.

State Rep. Greg Lucas, of Edinboro, R-5th Dist., will serve on the following four committees: Game and Fisheries, Local Government, Labor and Industry, and Aging and Older Adult Services.

State Rep. Curt Sonney, of Harborcreek, R-4th Dist., will serve on these four committees: Appropriations, Professional Licensure, Liquor Control and Insurance.

State. Rep. Patrick Harkins, of Erie, D-1st Dist., is assigned to these committees: Education, Labor and Industry, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 12th, 2012

Greg Lucas, a Republican candidate for state House in the 5th Legislative District, will hold a campaign kickoff party tonight at the Edinboro Hotel, 100 Meadville St., Edinboro.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m.

Lucas is the Edinboro mayor, but he has been going door to door throughout the district and meeting people.

Lucas also works for the Fortis Institute as an instructor and department head of the Construction Management associate degree program.

Lucas is unopposed for his party’s nomination in the April 24 primary. Also unopposed on the Democratic side is Jason White of Albion Borough.

– John Guerriero

 

Posted in: Uncategorized

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