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Fetterman Files Financial Form

Published by Chris Potter on .

Braddock Mayor and US Senate candidate John Fetterman promised to file a tardy financial-disclosure statement before the end of the year. He also promised it wouldn't reveal stunning personal wealth.

He's delivered on both counts.

Mr. Fetterman has been dinged for not filing the form, which was due in mid-October, sooner. He's called the lapse an oversight, and judging from the form, the delay doesn't appear to have stemmed from the need to count huge piles of cash. 

In a statement filed with the Senate just before 5 p.m. today, Mr. Fetterman reported a total of $4,000 in earned income for 2014 and 2015. The bulk of that, $3,600, came from his $150-per-month position as mayor of Braddock; an additional $400 came from a 2014 speech at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, though Mr. Fetterman wrote that the honorarium went "directly to charity."

As Mr. Fetterman has previously told reporters, his principal source of income appears to be his parents. In a comment attached to his filing, Mr. Fetterman writes that "while it is not mandatory to disclose gifts from family members," he was doing so "in the interest of full transparency." In 2015, he wrote, both he and his wife received $27,000 from Mr. Fetterman's parents, for a total of $54,000. "Their generosity supports our family while [I am] serving as the mayor of Braddock," wrote Mr. Fetterman.

Candidates must also disclose the value of real estate, bank accounts, and other assets. The disclosure forms only indicate a dollar range for the value of each asset or account, so it's difficult to be precise about any candidate's net worth -- though Mr. Fetterman provided values down to the penny in some cases. But he reports banking accounts and stock holdings worth roughly in the range of $6,000 to $48,000. (On the other side of the ledger, he holds a mortgage with a balance of $24,247.) He also reports saving accounts for his children worth between $115,000 and $250,000.

Each of those assets produced $200 or less in interest or other income, the filing shows.

Mr. Fetterman's real estate assets include his own Braddock home, with an assessed value of $120,900, and a second property in nearby North Braddock. Mr. Fetterman, who once owned three homes in the community, previously told the Post-Gazette that he allowed people to stay in the home rent-free, and his filing reflects no rental income from it.

 

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Mon Valley man to challenge Daley in the 49th again

Published by Janice Crompton on .

A small business owner from West Pike Run has tossed his hat into the ever-growing ring of candidates who will challenge state Rep. Peter J. Daley, D-Calfornia, for his 49th Legislative District seat.

Bud Cook, 59, will seek the Republican nomination to unseat Mr. Daley, who is serving his 17th term in office.  He is the fourth-longest serving lawmaker in the state.

 “Do we have problems in our region? Just take a ride around our region and read the articles. You bet we have problems," said Mr. Cook, owner of an Internet marketing company.  "As a close friend of mine said about the messages from candidates from our most recent election, ‘You would have thought it was all butterflies and rainbows in our region!’ ”

Mr. Cook, who formerly served as a councilman in Buckhannon, W.Va., said he's come up with a plan of action to address looming problems in the Mon Valley.

"Our region suffers from a political disease called '“Going along to get along.”  A majority of politicians view the political electoral process as a popularity contest, not a job interview. The job is to work for the citizens as a public servant!  We cannot let our region’s lack of leadership continue and certainly not with part-time representation! " Mr. Cook said in a statement.

Mr. Cook challenged Mr. Daley unsuccessfully two years ago.  He is joined by Melanie Stringhill Patterson, who is also seeking the GOP nod.

 

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Mon Valley businesswoman to challenge Daley in 49th

Published by Janice Crompton on .

A small business owner and entrepreneur from Washington Township, Fayette County, will challenge longtime state Rep. Peter Daley, D-California, for his seat.

Melanie Stringhill Patterson, 56, today announced she is seeking the Republican nomination for the 49th Legislative District seat, located in the Mon Valley.

"For too long, career politicians in Harrisburg have turned their back on taxpayers, and cost us the jobs we need," Ms. Patterson said in a news release. "It's time for honest, conservative representation that puts taxpayers first."

Ms. Patterson operates a vacation rental business, invented PIBS - disposable paper bibs on a roll, and served as Mrs. United States in 1993.

Her work as a small business owner has given her a realistic view of the way policies effect job creation, Ms. Patterson says.

"Unlike the career politicians, I've run a business and know what works and what doesn't when it comes to helping job creators and employers," Ms. Patterson said. "This real world experience is something I will bring to Harrisburg to spark the job creation our community needs."

Ms. Patterson said she will support conservative causes and she highlighted the contrast between herself and Mr. Daley, who has served for 35 years and is the fourth-longest serving lawmaker in the state.

"I won't take the taxpayer funded per diems; Mr. Daley does. I won't take the taxpayer funded pension; Mr. Daley does. And I will never vote to raise my own pay," Patterson continued.

A former kindergarten and elementary school teacher, Patterson said she also understands how to reform the education system to ensure children are prepared to succeed in the world, with our without higher education.

"The liberal experiment in our schools has failed, and it's time to get back to basics. That means teaching kids real skills instead of teaching to the test, and focusing on the core skills in math, reading, science and technology they will need to succeed," Ms. Patterson said.

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Pennsylvania's almost kind of budget: What they said

Published by Mike Pound on .

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Wolf says he is rejecting parts of a $30.3 billion state budget plan that's already a record six months overdue, but he's freeing up over $23 billion in emergency funding. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Wolf says he is rejecting parts of a $30.3 billion state budget plan that's already a record six months overdue, but he's freeing up over $23 billion in emergency funding. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

This is progress?

Sure, he said he'd release funds to help school and non-profits keep their doors open, but Gov. Tom Wolf used his time in front of reporters to hammer the Republican Legislature for reneging on the budget framework agreement he reached with Senate leaders last month.

UPDATED: Here's the video of the governor's brief address.

I am going to exercise my constitutional right to line item veto this ridiculous exercise in budget futility. I'm calling on our legislators to get back to Harrisburg – back to the work they left unfinished last week. In the meantime, I'm vetoing their $95 million cut to education. I'm also vetoing other items that they don't pay for.

At the same time, I'm allowing emergency funding for our schools to get out. I'm also letting funding go out to our human service agencies and to our counties. But this is on an emergency basis only.

In doing this, I'm expressing the outrage that all of us should feel about the garbage the Republican legislative leaders have tried to dump on us. This budget is wrong for Pennsylvania. And our legislators – the folks we elected to serve us – need to own up to this. They need to do their jobs.

In his response, state GOP Chairman Rob Gleason didn't take Mr. Wolf's bait. Instead, he claimed that the governor had capitulated to the funding that Republicans had sought all along.

Today, Tom Wolf finally admitted his multi-billion dollar mistake. When Tom Wolf issued a complete veto of the Republicans' on-time budget last June, he needlessly plunged our school districts and non-profits into a six-month crisis. Throughout this year, Tom Wolf has repeatedly made special interests his top priority. It is tragic that so many schools and non-profits were faced with unpaid bills, layoffs and even closures because Tom Wolf used them as political pawns in his reckless budget game.

It is time for Tom Wolf to join with Republicans in enacting a fiscally responsible budget that puts our Commonwealth on the right track for the future.

If Mr. Gleason's response is any indication, Republicans won't be in any hurry to return to Harrisburg to take care of the portions of their budget that Gov. Wolf vetoed. So -- has anything actually changed? 

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Wolf to make announcement about GOP budget

Published by Mike Pound on .

(Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)(Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)

We should find out later this morning what Gov. Go Time plans to do with the Republican budget that's sitting on his desk.

The GOP-led state Legislature approved a compromise budget last week -- not the one Wolf agreed to with GOP leadship in the Senate and the House a month ago, but a significantly watered-down plan backed by more conservative House Republicans -- and a spokesman for Mr. Wolf said there will be an announcement at 10:30 this morning about that budget.

The governor has options. He can sign the plan into law or he could allow it to become law without his signature. He could slice individual spending items from the budget or he could veto it altogether. It's worth noting that the plan on his desk doesn't have anywhere near the increases in education funding Mr. Wolf had sought; we'll have to wait and see whether that plays a part in the governor's decision.

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