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The Pennsylvania Progressive

Sheila Dow Ford: "I'm Tired of Mediocrity"

by: John Morgan

Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:23:22 AM EST

Sheila Dow Ford came to speak at the Kutztown Democratic Club last evening as she considers a challenge to Congressman Tim Holden in the 17th Congressional District.  Seeing as this is my District and have I have never voted for Tim Holden I was eager to hear what she had to say.  I met with Tim Smith, the Congressman's Chief of Staff in the District, about his health care vote and said I would work against him if he went against the House health care vote.  Not only did he do so but he also voted for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

Dow Ford is a lawyer who has worked in education most of her career.  She was Chief Counsel for the New Jersey School Boards Association, sits on the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, was Chief Counsel of PHEAA and is currently providing legal advice on legislative issues in Harrisburg.  She was raised in Philadelphia and graduated from Germantown High School, LaSalle University and received her law degree from Penn.  She has deep family roots in central Pennsylvania and knows the area.

She spoke at length at the Congressman's disengagement from his constituents and his dismissal of our concerns about his votes, especially on health care.  As such she penned an op/ed for the Harrisburg Patriot News.   Word is the Congressman was furious.  No more than we, his constituents were on his votes.  It isn't only health care which has us up in arms against Holden.  As Tim Smith said to me he voted with President Bush 60% of the time.  This included the horrendous votes to limit our rights under the constitution.  As I say often on our radio show he voted for torture but against health care.  I think that sums up who Tim Holden is.  Voting WITH George W. Bush 60% of the time doesn't make one a Democrat it reveals they are really Republican.

As State Senator Dave Argall announces his candidacy for this seat today it is incumbent on Democrats to find a viable challenger to Holden. Dow Ford certainly showed progressive credentials last evening while also standing firm on some conservative national security issues.  I asked her what would prompt her entry into the race and she replied, without hesitation, backing of the state AFL-CIO.  She recognizes the importance of organized labor in this District.  Obviously Holden does not as he has blown them off and they told me recently they will no longer support the Congressman.  He cannot win re-election in this District without labor.  That means Argall wins as he also skims off much of the GOP votes Holden has traditionally gotten in Schuylkill County.

Tim Holden's political career is dead and everyone seems to know but him sensing from the dismissive manner in which he is treating constituents. Dow Ford held nothing back saying "I'm tired of mediocrity." She also said "When a person disengages from others because of disagreement on issues, I have a problem with that. I want a Representative who will engage." Holden has been known to call people who disagree with him and shout at them. His contempt for liberals and progressives is infamous. Ten percent of his constituents are without health care yet he voted against the good House bill. "Why is he dismissive of his constituents?" she said last evening. "I make no apologies of rwanting to push the envelope on occasion." From her editorial:

Congressman Holden didn't hold one town hall, nor offer any statement - spoken, written or otherwise - with any semblance of a coherent thought on one of the most serious, far-reaching debates in the history of our country.

...His vote against the national health care legislation was apparently threefold: the bill didn't guarantee illegal immigrants won't receive taxpayer funded health care; it contained drastic cuts to Medicaid/Medicare; he refused to be a pawn in a political game.

I finally received a response from my Congressman last week following my visit to his local office. My first reaction was why did it take him so long? Why even bother after six weeks? He brought up the same lame excuse about immigrants and this is a position which infuriates me. Anyone who would refuse access to medical care for anyone in need has no humanity. I suppose that tells us all we need know about Tim Holden. As for cuts to Medicare any even halfway knoweldgeable person knows the cuts are to Medicare Advantage the privatized Medicare pushed through by the GOP to eventually destroy Medicare. Why does Congressman Holden support such efforts? Medicare Advantage plans force elderly constituents off the government plan and into for private, for profit plans which are more expensive. He also, in my letter, objects to increasing the scope of Medicaid and claims this will shift financial burden to states. However the federal government, of which he has a vote, can fund this mandate if it so chooses. All he need do is sponsor a bill. The Congressman's letter to me showed his inhumanity and his lack of knowledge about the issue. It is time for someone who has both qualities. If that turns out to be David Argall so be it.
John Morgan :: Sheila Dow Ford: "I'm Tired of Mediocrity"
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Much as this pains me... (0.00 / 0)
...if Argall wants the seat, it is very likely Schuylkill will give it to him and that's a shame, because he's no better than Holden and in some ways worse by my observations.

It is sad that the Schuylkill Dem's have stood pat on not running anyone against Holden from their county, and that finally the GOP has heeded what I've said and known for some time that the key to the district, until it ever gets redrawn will be Schuylkill County and its favorite son, Tim Holden, who now seems to be losing favor even with his home crowd.

If Holden is the Democratic nominee (0.00 / 0)
Democrats will lose this seat.  Argall is a very formidable opponent and Holden has so ticked off labor they won't support him again.

Follow me on Twitter:  JohnPMorgan

[ Parent ]
Holden will not lose... (0.00 / 0)
As mentioned in my previous posting, this coming general election campaign between Holden and Argall will be a knock-down dirty fight with Argall the loser.
As you are fully aware, in most campaigns where a long-time incumbent is challenged, his opponent will take on the role of an attack dog.
There are usually good reasons for this:
(1) The challenger desperately needs to attract media attention as well as voter recognition.
(2) The incumbent has his record to defend while the challenger is often free to ignore his own past record/s (if any) which is generally obscure.
In line with this upcoming congressional campaign, the very opposite is true... for it is not Holden, but rather Argall who will need to defend his past.
What is the Republican Argall to attack...the voting record of a blue dog Democrat who has skillfully re-invented himself to please rightwingnuts in Lebanon County and those mentally-challenged citizens of the black fly Susquehanna river towns?
Conversely...does not Argall need to defend his key role in engineering the infamous 2005 "midnight pay raise" while in the state house Republican well as his "fast Davy" run for Congress only 40 some weeks after poor Jim Rhoades was layed in his grave?
Thus, it will be Holden who will take on the role of the attack dog, thus fetching many more TV sound bites and column inches of print media attention than his challenger can possibly engender.
I am afaid John that your hopes and dreams may be racing far ahead of your better judgement.
Matt Thomas


The AFL-CIO told me (0.00 / 0)
they will not support Tim Holden again.  He cannot keep this seat without organized labor.

Follow me on Twitter:  JohnPMorgan

[ Parent ]
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