Friday, October 14, 2005

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 10/14/2005 - Bill "The Heathen" Scranton Admits Lackawana County Failure

GOP candidates criticize Rendell
J.D. Prose, Times Staff
10/14/2005
Lynn Swann a Republican candidate for governor and a former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, speaks with supporters after a campaign rally in Bridgewater on Wednesday.
The Times / Kevin Lorenzi

BRIDGEWATER - Three Republican candidates for governor took shots at Gov. Ed Rendell and tried to rally support for their own campaigns during a party fund-raiser Wednesday night in Bridgewater.

All three - former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton and state Sen. Jeff Piccola, D-15, Dauphin County - hammered the issues of job growth, education and property tax reform, but it was Rendell who took the verbal beating.

Swann, a college football analyst for ABC Sports, said he was trying to become governor while Rendell, who does a Philadelphia Eagles post-game television show, was trying to start a broadcasting career.

"Let's make up our minds and give Ed Rendell what he wants, a full-time job as a broadcaster," Swann, a Sewickley Heights resident, told about 90 GOP stalwarts at the Jeffries Landing restaurant.

Scranton, a Lackawanna County resident, said Rendell has squandered the state's ability to compete for jobs and his administration has accomplished "nothing substantive in the last four years."

And, Piccola, who is the state Senate majority whip, said Rendell's solutions to Pennsylvania's problems have been higher taxes and fees, gambling and borrowing money.

The state's economy was a centerpiece of discussion, with each candidate pushing the theme of lower business taxes to fuel entrepreneurship. "We are not competing as a state," Piccola said.

Also vital is tort reform to combat "lawsuit abuse," Piccola said. Physicians bear the brunt of lawsuits, he said, but the effect stifles other areas of the state's economy.

High taxes and burdensome regulations discourage companies from moving here, he added. "We don't even get a first look," Piccola said.

Scranton played to the Beaver County crowd by saying his county is not only dominated by Democrats, but is also trying to recover from the collapse of local industries.

"I come from a 2-to-1 (Democratic), coal, iron and steel county," he said. "Sound familiar?"

Pennsylvania has remained stagnant while other states have prospered because of failed Democratic policies, such as higher taxes and bigger government, Scranton said.

"We need to change the political direction of this state," he said. "The seeds of growth are there."

The state is at the top in spending on education, but ranks at the bottom on results, Swann said. "We have to be mindful how we spend (money)," he said.

Swann said the GOP must create "a culture and attitude of winning" to defeat Rendell. The governor, Swann said, has "bigger aspirations" politically and isn't interested in managing the state.

┬ęBeaver County Times Allegheny Times 2005

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