Category Archives: US Senate

The Senate’s Only Black Republican Opens Up About Being Mistreated by Cops

by Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 7/15/16

Citing recent killings by police, Tim Scott of South Carolina asked his colleagues to stop ignoring the struggles of those who face racial prejudice.

Tim Scott of South Carolina is the only black Republican in the United States Senate. This week, moved by police killings of Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and Philando Castile, he rose to the floor to deliver a moving speech about his personal history being stopped by law-enforcement officers for what amounted to driving while black. “While I thank God that I have not endured bodily harm,” he declared, “I have felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted. I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes from feeling that you are being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.”

The first time he was stopped by police, his car had a malfunctioning headlight. A cop approached, hand on his gun, and told him, “Boy, don’t you know your headlight isn’t working properly?” He felt “embarrassed, ashamed, and scared. Very scared.”

Other traffic stops followed. …

continue reading at The Atlantic

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Filed under Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, US Senate

On endorsements and superdelegates: let the people decide

By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times of Chester County, April 19, 2016

I don’t need elected officials to tell me who to vote for

I try to be appreciative of elected officials and the work they do. And I wouldn’t want their jobs, not for the money and perks, not for the fame and glory. But right now I’m annoyed.

Officials elected by vote of all the people of the state should, in my view, once elected, continue to represent all the people of the state. Those officials belong to one of the two major parties, of course, because with rare exceptions, Independents can’t hold public office (thus shutting 1 in 5 Americans out of the system; no wonder people are disgruntled). But I don’t think those statewide officials ought to engage in partisan campaign operations. It just doesn’t look good.

Therefore, I don’t think they should serve as unpledged “superdelegates” at political conventions and put themselves in potential conflict with the will of the voters in their own party. All that power is tempting, but they should resist it. In the presidential convention, 10% of the Pennsylvania Democrats’ votes will be at the whim of the superdelegates. That’s less than the total convention with 15%, but still could make a big difference… against the will of the people.

And those superdelegates particularly should not try to play kingmaker by endorsing candidates for office. Candidates work hard and many are committed to the public welfare, possibly even more than those who hold office currently. People donate money to candidates and work hard for their favorites. Many voters are very concerned about particular issues. Americans should be encouraged to run for office, pay attention to issues, and vote-not to follow the desires of their current elected officials.

Here is the immediate cause of my annoyance. I now have received two missives from Senator Bob Casey endorsing Katie McGinty over Joe Sestak, whom I greatly prefer for many concrete reasons. So I went to Senator Casey’s web site, as our elected representatives always plead with us to do so they can “serve us better,” and I wrote a brief objection….

continue reading at The Times of Chester County

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Filed under 2016 election, US Senate

PA-Sen: Fetterman Calls on DNC Chair to Resign

by Chris Calabrese, Politics PA, 3/7/16

John FettermanBraddock Mayor and Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman has called on DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign from her post after she co-sponsored a bill that would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s forthcoming payday loan regulations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established by President Obama in 2011 and was the brainchild of now Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“These predatory lenders often target low-income families and communities of color like Braddock, taking advantage of those who are economically unstable,” Fetterman said in an email to supporters.

“Republicans in Congress are fighting back with a bill to gut a new set of pending rules at the CFPB on the payday lending industry — and if you’re not shocked yet, wait for it: they’ve found a friend in Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who just signed on to co-sponsor the bill and is lobbying her Democratic colleagues to do the same,” he continued….

continue reading at Politics PA

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Filed under 2016 election, US Senate

An hour with Joe Sestak

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 3/20/16

A few days ago I attended a fundraiser for US Senate candidate Joe Sestak. Sestak, you will recall, represented the 7th PA district (including part of Chester County) in Congress for 4 years. In 2010 he ran for US Senate, beat former Republican Arlen Specter in the primary, but narrowly lost to Pat Toomey in the year of Tea Party triumph. Now he is running again in a four-way Democratic primary to get another shot at Toomey.

I have been to many events with Sestak over the years, and each one is a new learning experience. He is a confident and gripping speaker who has given countless talks and made endorsement appearances for other candidates in Chester County (he is from Delaware county), and has also taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Dickinson School of Law, and Cheney University, among others.

I didn’t know this, from Wikipedia, but certainly am not surprised:

In 1974, Sestak graduated second in his class of over 900 midshipmen, with a Bachelor of Science degree in American political systems.

This I did know:

Between tours at sea, Sestak earned a Master of Public Administration and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1980 and 1984, respectively.

And this I didn’t: Upon being told of Sestak’s planned run for Congress, then Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head Rahm Emanuel “told Sestak he was not ready for such an election.” Sestak ran anyhow in 2006 and won, faring better than other candidates whom Emanuel did not choose to support. Good for Sestak! Emanuel, now the unpopular Mayor of Chicago, was already at the bottom of my list as White House Chief of Staff (“Three welcome departures,” 10/2/10)….

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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Filed under Nathaniel Smith, US Senate