| 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.