Letters to the editor May 28 to June 3
Progressive Women of NEPA is proud to endorse four candidates in the upcoming June 2 primary election. We invite all voters to consider their credentials and platforms; we are confident they will be competent and trustworthy public officials.
These candidates sought our endorsement and successfully completed our vetting process.
On the statewide level, we endorse Dr. Nina Ahmad for PA Auditor General (www.ninaforpa.com). She is one of six Democrats running for this office and is from the Philadelphia area.
Regionally, we endorse Marian Keegan (D) for PA House District 139 (www.keeganforpa139.com). This rural district is in Pike County (Milford and Matamoras, for example) and Wayne County (Hawley and Salem Township, for example).
We also endorse Joanna Bryn Smith (D) for PA House District 120 (www.paforjbs.com). Her district is in Luzerne county and encompasses 16 municipalities from West Pittston and Kingston to Shavertown and Trucksville.
And finally, we endorse retired Sergeant Major Claudette Williams (D) for PA House District 176 (www.claudetteforpa176.org). This district in Monroe County includes Mount Pocono, Tobyhanna and Tunkhannock townships, among others.
As a political action committee, our sole purpose is to improve government by working to recruit, train, fund and elect qualified, progressive women to political leadership at the state and local levels. We are a grassroots organization with inaugural membership open to any woman residing in the seven-county area of Northeast Pennsylvania (Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming). We also accept donations from any citizen who supports our mission. Visit us at www.prowomennepa.com and join us on Facebook.
Progressive Women of NEPA Board Members Jan Kelly and Marie Killian
Moosic and Dunmore, PA, respectively
Someone recently wrote in their letter to another local paper, “It is the readers’ responsibility what to believe…” in the matters of Judge Michael McGuire and our county legislature’s decision to hire him as our county attorney, and that “what needs to be stated in this matter is that there is full transparency as nothing was hidden.”
But when the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct issued its determination in March that McGuire be removed from the bench for cause, it did so based on findings from 12 days of hearings. The 2,771-page hearing transcript makes clear that dozens of witnesses provided testimony under oath—in other words, under penalty of perjury.
When our county legislature then faced scrutiny over its vote to appoint McGuire just weeks earlier, Sorensen, Doherty, Brooks, Salamone and Conklin issued a written rebuke, published elsewhere, of the commission’s decision while defending their own.
It was based on, they claimed, an “investigation” of their own. But investigation either never occurred, or it proceeded in such slapdash fashion as to render it unworthy of serious consideration. A request under the law for documents related to it revealed—not just that they were unauthorized for release—but nothing. Nada.
Sworn testimony or back-door hearsay, at best?
That this “investigation” was even suggested seems to me an insult to constituents. And if that’s the kind of leadership we can expect from this group of mostly newbies, then, particularly during these difficult times, we could be in serious trouble. (Sorensen, however, has been around and knows better.) It’s the kind of stunt worth remembering, though I suppose the calculation was that voters will either forget or remain sufficiently apathetic—if proven true, we deserve what we get.
Michael McGuire has a reputation, a family and every right to be heard. And he has been, by the Commission, and will be again, under review by the Court of Appeals. Whether he’s fit to serve as our county attorney is something I’m not qualified to say. Whether Sorensen et al got cute is clear.
Rock Hill, NY
In a short year-and-a-half, Sen. Jen Metzger has established herself as one of New York State government’s more important voices for agricultural interests. On May 13, she co-chaired a virtual New York State legislative hearing that examined the effects of federal COVID-related legislation on small businesses, especially farms and food industries. Legislators heard testimonies from the New York Farm Bureau, the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other groups. The hearing revealed that some aid is getting through to farmers, but they—like other American businesses—have experienced late payments and difficulties with loan applications. What was clear, as Metzger noted, is that agriculture fills a critical, particular niche in community life, and its challenges in this pandemic require thoughtful, targeted solutions.
One thing we Americans have, gratefully, been able to rely on is the continuity of our food supply in stores—even as those of us facing economic devastation survive with the assistance of food banks. Have we ever recognized so acutely the importance of our farmers, who now are struggling with vanishing markets and oversupply?
A chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Metzger is well-positioned to defend and support agriculture in our region, and she has responded aggressively with successful advocacy and proposed bills: restoring agriculture budget cuts, winning support for farming tax credits, and advancing legislation to ensure the physical and mental health of farm workers.
Our state senator, Jen Metzger, represents us tirelessly on issues that affect all of us in the day-to-day. A prime example of this is her work on behalf of our troubled farm industry, balancing the needs of farmers, farm workers and consumers. It would be easy to make these three groups into opponents, but Jen has worked to validate the needs of all three groups, and to find solutions that recognize their interdependence so that all might prosper. With the advent of COVID-19, the problems have increased, and Sen. Metzger has worked to develop solutions on all fronts: pushing for more direct aid from the USDA, inclusion of farmers into the CARES Act, extension of the Farm Work Force Retention Credit,and expanding farm-to-school and farm-to-institution opportunities which would increase purchases of healthy, NY-grown foods to hospitals, nursing homes, state colleges and correctional facilities. This benefits our farmers, the farm workers and all of us consumers. Jen works for all of us, and she deserves credit for all she has accomplished.