PA Cannot Have an All-Male US House Delegation

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PA ranks notably low relative to other states on female representation in state politics, and in federal politics Allyson Schwartz is the only woman representative in our state’s delegation from either party.

Now that she’s vacating her seat to run for Governor, the odds are disturbingly high that PA will have an all-male House delegation in the 2015-16 session.

I know some brogressives secretly (or not so secretly) think liberal men can do just as good a job of representing women’s economic interests as actual woman legislators, but obviously that’s wrong. This would be a serious problem that should not be put in a “social issues” box. Women’s experience of life in Pennsylvania is different than men’s experience, and those experiences bear heavily on a lawmaker’s issue positions, and her sense of what counts as an important problem deserving of a public policy response.

In the 13th District – the most winnable for Democrats – I am a big fan of Daylin Leach. I think he is an iconoclastic politician capable of drawing on a national fundraising base and eventually creating an alternative progressive power structure in SEPA to displace the Bob Brady/Johnny Doc axis. This is why I am supporting Daylin over Val Arkoosh for this seat, even though I like Val very much.

But this means that to avoid the all-male House delegation scenario, it’s going to be crucial to proactively support and campaign for the other Democratic women candidates running in the 2014 cycle – Shaughnessy Naughton in the 8th District, and Erin McClelland in the 12th district.

In the 8th District, both candidates are pretty equally progressive and both are first-time candidates. I see absolutely no reason to think that Kevin Strouse is a stronger candidate than Shaughnessy, and believe the people who say he has a better chance than her are relying on an outdated archetype of a successful political candidate as a white man. In truth, woman candidates run no worse than men at the polls. Shaughnessy’s experience is just as compelling as Strouse’s, if not more, and she will be better positioned to make Mike Fitzpatrick own his War on Women votes in socially-liberal Southeast PA.

In the 12th District, even though Erin McClelland’s career experience initially struck Jake S. as not a great fit for the district, she has proven herself to be a very smart and impressive politician and communicator who, with sufficient money, will be able to inflict some real battle damage on millionaire Keith Rothfus’s fake “regular guy” persona.

We need to support these women. I will be working to promote them in 2014, and will continue to encourage you all to donate money and commit volunteer time to them, because even though the gerrymandered Republican map tilts against us, we can still turn these into competitive races with well-funded high-energy anti-tea party campaigns.

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11 Responses to PA Cannot Have an All-Male US House Delegation

  1. Pingback: Why Gender Diversity Matters in Politics - Keystone Politics

  2. Ed H. says:

    I’m all for women running for, and winning offices in congress, Senate, President (though im mo gan of the Clintons) and any and every elected office out there. But, why would I vote for a Valerie Arkoosh or Marjorie Margolies, when the economy needs to see more infrastructure and protection of labor rights, and I can get thy with a guy like Brendan Boyle? Lets face it: all of the weenie liberals, whether they are making their pronouncements while hugging trees, and going from tree hugging ceremony to the next tree hugging ceremony in their limousines, need labor to supply the money, boots on the ground, and infrastructure, to get Democrats elected and hold back the horde of dopes the right throws out there to destroy labor rights, women’s health issues, and a whole host of subjects that would go very badly without labor holding the line for the weenies. I’m sure Dr. Arkoosh is a great lady. I have no doubts that shed be a good congressperson. But for the vast majority of people in the district, I think they’d be better represented by someone who’s first priority is jobs. Knowing Brendan Boyle, I have no doubt thats where his focus will be. And to lay scorn on Brady and Dougherty, when their focus is on job creation for everyone, and lifting people up and away from poverty, I think it’s shortsighted to believe as you do. The district has seen an upsurge in poverty in recent years. Of course, you’ve presented your conspiracy theory, sans evidence, on the Building Trades and Brady giving Boyle the endorsement.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      How is John Dougherty’s primary focus job creation when he has supported Pat Meehan, Mike Fitzpatrick, and Jim Gerlach, who have voted with John Boehner since 2009 to block President Obama’s jobs agenda? The conservative wing of the Philadelphia labor movement has no credibility on jobs. They’ve been supporting the bad guys.

      • Ed H. says:

        There’s two things to consider when giving an endorsement to those politicians you’ve named: one is votes on certain things like Davis-Bacon prevailing wage issues, PLA’s and other laws like National Right to Starve legislation that the far right is salivating over. The laws unions are fighting ober, including the anove, help nonunion workers as much as they do union workers. The other is the fact that Democrats aren’t knocking these guys off any time soon. I can’t speak to Dougherty endorsing these guys over the years, because i have no idea if he or his International Union have offered their endorsement in order to get some good votes out of these guys. But quite frankly, labor gave a ton more support to Patrick Murphy in money, endorsements, and boots on the ground, than Fitzpatrick will ever get. He knows it. I think he knows his party sucks, but is trapped by the insanity the GOP of today represents. Before he was in congress, Fitzpatrick actually helped to pass good contractor language as a Bucks County Commissioner. In the meantime, until these guys shed totally and completely their willingness to throw a few votes to the middle class, or Democrats show they are a threat to them, we have to try to work with them. Without their votes going against their parties, on certain legislation that could still get their own party to run tea Baggers against them, labor could lose more, and then the weenie liberals lose more without organized labor to do the heavy lifting.
        Anyway, to the women who want to run, make sure you win, and you’ll get your agenda heard, if not moved forward. We could use more wome in congress. Especially in Barletta’s, Marino’s, Thompson’s, etc, districts.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          I guess we’ll never know if Democrats could’ve won any of those suburban seats where they have clear registration advantages, because the conservative wing of Philly labor didn’t do the “heavy lifting” for the Democratic candidates, they worked for the Republicans.

        • Craig S. Kaufman says:

          Marino is always running in a district that consists of a lot of rural individuals that appear to be convinced that Tea Party Republican politics is the way to fly. Go to any county fair here and try to get folks registered to vote and you are bound to hear,”he votes but I don’t” (female voice.) My question is always, what has the Republican Party done for you recently? Tom voted to shut down the government costing taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars. Yes he’s for term limits. That is a safe easy one since I believe the bill requires a constitutional amendment and most likely will be buried. It sounds good to his constituents that are often too busy farming or working difficult industrial jobs to brush the surface of politics. There is a woman that could compete and it would be terrific if she’d jump into the race. Problem is, it will take very large sums of money to educate those that do vote here. Great contributions would be needed to get the word out about how Tom votes and why he’s doing them no favors. Many organizations, unions etc. are wary of putting money into this race as they view it as a tough one. If they’d pour the money in, it is possible to win here given his voting record. Having a congressional representative that votes to shut down our government and doesn’t have the courtesy to attend any functions or invitations to The White House (according to his own public statements)
          deserves to have his term limited by the voting public.

  3. Pingback: Should Daylin Leach Run for #PA6 Instead? - Keystone Politics

  4. Carl Dash says:

    Just out of curiosity: if the 13th district is “the most winnable”, and it’s so important to have a woman in the PA delegation then why not support Arkoosh or MMM? You know, since it is so “obviously” wrong to think a man can represent women’s economic interest the same as a woman.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      It’s a good argument, and I’m not totally happy with my answer. I think this is a special case because Daylin is a progressive superstar who’ll be able to create a national brand, and potentially become the face of the House Progressive Caucus. He’s much less ascerbic than Alan Grayson and would do a better job delivering the same message with humor. If that opportunity wasn’t at stake in this race, I’d be backing Val Arkoosh.

  5. Dan says:

    Quick question – have you actually seen either of the candidates speak? The difference is pretty stark, and is what has resulted in Strouse securing every important endorsement he is eligible for so far while Naughton cleans up the women’s groups. Presence matters in politics, and she just doesn’t have it.