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Pa. Dems hear from candidates at picnic

August 15, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Under a big tent, there's room for dissent.

It actually was a big pavilion in Chambersburg, where the Franklin County (Pa.) Democrats held a picnic Saturday.

State Rep. Bill Kortz and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who are challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter this year, were among several candidates at the picnic at Chambersburg AMVETS Post 224.

About 70 people were in the audience when Kortz and Sestak spoke.

One man asked them about a point in the current health care debate -- an amendment by U.S. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio that lets states have a single-payer system.

Kortz, who represents Allegheny County, didn't know about the amendment, but said he supports the idea.

Sestak, whose 7th Congressional District is near Delaware and New Jersey, said he opposes the amendment. He said he objects to a provision prohibiting someone from getting private insurance coverage for something already in a public plan.

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In between candidates' speeches, Jack Hendricks lobbied for passage of a single-payer health care bill in the Pennsylvania House and Senate.

He said a study shows Franklin County taxpayers could save a combined $21.4 million per year in the county government, the townships and the school districts.

Other candidates who spoke at the picnic included Jonathan Saidel, running for lieutenant governor; Kevin Francis McCarthy, running for superior court; Barbara Behrend Ernsberger, running for commonwealth judge; and Carol Redding, running for magisterial district judge.

Angela Rosenberry Krom, a Republican, spoke, too.

In introducing Krom, Paul Politis, the vice chairman of the Franklin County Democrats, said she's pretty much guaranteed a judgeship in the November election. Krom and Shawn Meyers are running for two judge seats on the Court of Common Pleas for the 39th Judicial District, which covers Franklin and Fulton counties.

Politis joked about his T-shirt, which read "Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican." It had a Republican elephant symbol with a circle around it and a line through it.

"I hope she's not offended by my shirt ..." he said. "We really have to be less partisan."

Some people paid a Greencastle-Antrim Democratic group $5 apiece to pose for a picture with cardboard cutouts of Obama and his wife -- "flat Barack and flat Michelle," as Politis nicknamed them.

One table had several items for sale, with donations going to the Franklin County Shelter for the Homeless, which is struggling to stay open.

Chambersburg Mayor Pete Lagiovane won a 50-50 drawing and donated the money to shelter.

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