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PA 2010 Mid-Term Election Breakdown: Dan Onorato, Tom Corbett, Pat Toomey, and Joe Sestak


While the Presidential election is still two years down the road, the mid-term elections are just around the corner on Tuesday, November 2, 2010.  The two biggest contestsonorato corbett in Pennsylvania are the races for Governor and for the United States Senate.  Major party candidates Dan Onorato (D) and Tom Corbett (R) are seeking the Gubernatorial office, while Joe Sestak (D) and Pat Toomey (R) are running for the Senate seat.

Gubernatorial Race

Dan Onorato began his career as a certified public accountant.  In 1991, he won a seat on Pittsburgh's city council.  In 1999, he was elected as Allegheny County Controller.  In 2003, he was elected Executive of Allegheny County.

Scott Conklin, a member of the PA House of Representatives since 2007, is the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

Tom Corbett began his career as a Civics and History teacher at Pine Grove High School.  In 1975, he earned his law degree and  then practiced in the private sector.  He has served as Assistant District Attorney for Allegheny County, Commissioner in Shaler Township, and as a United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  In 1995, he was nominated to to assume the Pennsylvania Attorney General post, by then-Governor Tom Ridge, and served until 1997.  He returned to private law practice until 2005, when he was elected to the Attorney General position that he had previously held.

Jim Cawley, a Bucks County Commissioner, is the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

The two major party Gubernatorial candidates discussed several issues during recent public debates.

Onorato said that he would support reasonable regulations on gun control and believes that a Florida loophole, which allows gun permits to be issued to non-residents, should be closed.  He wants to lower the corporate net income tax, reduce the size of the Pennsylvania legislature, and believes that ideas like PA House Bill 1275 (a proposal to eliminate the property tax) should be taken to the voters for a referendum.  He does not plan to make any cuts in school funding, favors Early Childhood education, and the EITC school tax credit program.  He also likes grants that allow low-income students to pursue a school of their choice if their current school is academically challenged.

Corbett stated that he has created a gun violence task force, wants taxes to be reduced, prefers that government works with business to help them grow, and favors tort reform.  He wants to cut the legislative per diem and reduce the  government's fleet of vehicles.  He would introduce zero balance budgeting and believes that an idea like HB 1275 must be revenue neutral.  He is in favor of Early Childhood education, the EITC program, and would support tax money following a student to a school of their choice.   

Both candidates believe that there is significant job growth potential in the development of the Marcellus Shale rock formation.  Onorato wants a competitive severance tax to be paid by the companies that plan to drill, while Corbett prefers a permit-fee structure.  They both agreed that environmental concerns must be addressed with whatever approach is pursued.

The use of highly effective drills, liked the ones used in the Chilean Miners Rescue, may offer insight into the future of Marcellus Shale. This rock formation underlies much of Pennsylvania and portions of New York and West Virginia, at a depth of 5,000 to 8,000 feet and is believed to hold trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. The geology of the Marcellus formation suggests that areas in the North Central and North Eastern regions of Pennsylvania, that have not traditionally seen much gas well drilling, might be especially productive.

Senate Race

Joe Sestak spent the majority of his career serving in the Navy. He became a Vice Admiral, a United States Director of Defense, and was the first Director of a Navy  Intelligence Unit that offered strategic advice to the Chief of Naval operations after the September 11th attacks.  After retiring from the military as a Rear Admiral in 2007, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 7th District.  He then defeated incumbent Senator Arlen Specter, in the 2010 Democratic primary, to become the Senatorial nominee.

Pat Toomey worked in a variety of private sector financial positions and owned a restaurant, before being elected to Allentown's Government Study Commission in 1994.  In 1999, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 15th district.   He served until retiring in 2005.  He was President of the Club for Growth from then until  2009. 

These two major party Senate candidates discussed several issues during recent public debates.

Sestak stated that some cuts can be made in the Pentagon budget where excess exists, does not believe that Iran should be permitted to have nuclear weapons, and does not support a deadline for the Afghanistan war. 

He supports Early Childhood education.  He is opposed to privatizing Social Security and said that, while he is against overturning Roe V. Wade, he has voted against taxpayer funding of abortions. 

Toomey is against the use of Earmarks in legislation.  He believes that dollars for funding education should follow the child.  While he supported the increased troop levels in Afghanistan, he does not believe in setting a deadline for the current war there.  He would support a repeal of Roe V. Wade.  He believes that changes need to be made to the current Social Security system so that it can remain viable for future generations. 

Feel free to click on the websites of each candidate, watch the embedded video of  their debates, and to seek other sources of information before election day. An informed choice will allow you to make sound decisions. Remember, our right to vote allows us all to exercise equal power on election day.

Email Sean O'Brien at seanboru68@yahoo.com