Pa. Lt. Gov. rallies Democrats at picnic

August 07, 2005|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

SCOTLAND, Pa. - Franklin County Democratic Party members and supporters gathered Saturday afternoon for a picnic and Family Fun Day and to meet Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll.

The event at Scotland Memorial Park attracted about 70 people.

The first female lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania, Knoll travels with her dog, Boomer.

Beth Shupp-George, first vice chair of the Franklin County Democratic Committee, said she did not know the number of registered Democrats in the county, but that many "got active in the last (presidential) election and stayed active."

Born in Pittsburgh and educated at Duquesne University, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Knoll served for eight years as treasurer of Pennsylvania.


Neither she nor Gov. Ed Rendell accepted the pay raise recently passed by the Pennsylvania legislature, Knoll said.

"If we hadn't passed the bill, we'd have been another year without a budget," Knoll said.

"We were working on the bill (in early July), and I asked the legislators to give me two hours off so we could ring the bells for freedom."

Three thousand people, many of them veterans, had gathered in Harrisburg to see film star Mickey Rooney ring the bells for the 229th birthday of the United States.

"I'm not out playing golf or bridge," Knoll said. "I'm concerned every day with the 67 counties and the families, our security and options for the future."

She said that more than 200,000 more Pennsylvanians are employed now than when the Rendell-Knoll administration was sworn in.

Knoll announced a new bipartisan program in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania called Strengthening the Mid-Atlantic Region for Tomorrow (SMART).

"We'll have eight senators and 41 congressman involved," she said. "We'll open new doors for education, science and the economy."

"I'm proud of the Democrats here today," Knoll said. "Even with the odds against us, Franklin County has a really good showing. You're there, you stick together and you make a difference.

"If you're a Democrat in Franklin County, you haven't forgotten that in 450 days, we will have a big election. We need to return the Rendell-Knoll team for another four years, win a U.S. Senate seat, increase the number of Democrats elected to Congress and to both houses in Harrisburg, and stand at the top of the victory stand in local elections."

"All our work every day is towards making this a better state to live in," Knoll concluded.

After the speech, 9-year-old Alex Gimmi of Shippensburg, Pa., approached the lieutenant governor and asked for her autograph, which Knoll gave, along with a hug. Alex, who will be a fifth-grader at James Burd Elementary School, said she plans to show the autograph to her teacher.

"He went to the capital and saw her, and I want to show him I got her autograph," she said.

Alex attended the event with her grandfather, Bob Gimmi of Shippensburg.

Richard and Alice Meloy of Doylesburg, Pa., attended because they are concerned about environmental issues.

"Obviously, (Knoll) is aware of it, too," Alice Meloy said.

A Marine Corps veteran who spent 13 months in Vietnam, James Corbert of Fayetteville, Pa., spoke with Knoll at the picnic.

"It was my first time meeting her and she's real nice," Corbert said. "She's a sincere person, I feel."

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