Thursday, September 2, 2010

Congressional District 15 Candidates Debate in the Race to be Your U.S. Representative: Monday, Sept. 13th

You write the questions for the candidates!

Posted by: Noel Jones

Exciting news! There will be a public debate on Monday, Sept. 13th at Lafayette College, between the three candidates who want to be your U.S. Representative in Congress:

Charlie Dent (Repbublican--Incumbent)
John Callahan (Democrat)
Jake Towne (Independent)

And the best part is: YOU get to write the questions. This is your chance to find out what you want to know from the candidates who want to represent you.

This candidates forum will be hosted by the College Hill Neighborhood Association and the League of Women Voters, and below is a press release from Robert Clark, who is the contact for the event:

 Contact: Robert Clark

College Hill Neighborhood Association of Easton
And League of Women Voters of Northampton County
Host Forum for Candidates for 15th Congressional District

Program will be held Monday, September 13 at 7 p.m. at Lafayette College

            (EASTON) – The three candidates vying for the right to represent Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District will share the stage in a Candidates’ Night forum September 13 at 7 p.m. in Oechsle Hall, room 224, at Lafayette College. John Callahan (Democrat), Charlie Dent (Republican), and Jake Towne (Independent) are running for the seat currently held by Dent. The 15th District includes all of Northampton, most of Lehigh, and parts of Montgomery and Berks counties. The forum is hosted by the College Hill Neighborhood Association of Easton and the League of Women Voters of Northampton County and is open to the public. Parking is available in the visitor parking deck adjacent to Oechsle Hall (behind Markle Hall).
            The format for the forum will include opening statements by each of the candidates, followed by questions from the audience, submitted in writing. The forum moderator will be

Dr. Phyllis Finger, an experienced political forum moderator and Gifted Support Specialist/Enrichment Teacher with the Easton Area School District. Light refreshments will be available following the program.           
“We are pleased that all of the candidates have agreed to come together to make clear their positions on the major issues facing our region, our state and our nation,” said Hubert Etchison, president of the College Hill Neighborhood Association. “This is the first time all of the candidates will have appeared together at a public forum,” he added.
Joan Dean, president of the League of Women Voters of Northampton County, stated, “The League is excited about the opportunity to partner with CHNA for this forum, which is among the most closely watched contests in the mid-term elections.” Phyllis Johnson, CHNA program coordinator, said, “The forum will help the district’s citizens decide which candidate will get their votes in this hotly contested Congressional race.”
            Candidate John Callahan (D) has served as mayor of Bethlehem since 2003. He
first entered public service in 1998, when he became the youngest person to be elected to Bethlehem City Council. He is president of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and
Municipalities and is a member of the National League of Cities’ policy committee on energy, environment and natural resources. A graduate of Moravian College, he serves on numerous local boards.
            Incumbent Charlie Dent (R) is in his third term in Congress representing the state’s 15th District. He serves on three House committees: Homeland Security, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics). He was an aide to former Rep. Don Ritter and served eight years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and six years in the State Senate. He is a graduate of Penn State University and earned a master’s in public administration at Lehigh University.
            Jake Towne (I), a chemical engineer who has worked in the semiconductor industry the past seven years, is a graduate of Lehigh University. In his position with Ablestik Laboratories, he led the start-up and commissioning of two manufacturing units in Shanghai, China. He also has taught English in tribal villages along the Chinese-Burmese border. In March 2009, he returned to Nazareth, PA, his hometown, to pursue this campaign.   
              The College Hill Neighborhood Association of Easton ( strives to improve the quality of life in the community by sponsoring informational, socially-conscious, and cultural and recreational programs. The League of Women Voters, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government.


noel jones said...

So what kinds of things would readers like to ask the candidates?

I know that I intend to ask where they stand on hydrofracking for natural gas that threatens our drinking water.

What about you?

noel jones said...

I will definitely be going to this if anyone is interested...

Anonymous said...

I think Towne is the only one who understands the issue thoroughly.

Hopefully he can teach the other two career politicians what's up.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

I do know that Towne attended the Lehigh University showing of GASLAND. I saw him a few rows behind me. He had no comments that night and I'll have to read his position paper on it. By the way, if anyone reading this is of his political persuasion, he is looking for low-cost rental space for a campaign headquarters in the LV. His space in Lower Saucon was shut down by the code office for being an "illegal use".

He was using a defunct restaurant on 309. Don't ask me what the big deal was over a temporary office use along the highway for a few months. My sources tell me that Dent pull some strings to have the local officials hassle him and have him pushed out. If you have a storefront space available call his campaign.

Callahan has not yet been forthcoming to my knowledge on the gas drilling issue - but I may have missed something.

Dent was pretty closed-mouth about his position during a summit by anti-drilling activists at his office last month. He sent a letter to me that was also rather vague but insinuated we had to keep the drilling operations safe but ongoing because "We won't be ready to transition to renewables for a very long time". Of course this is only because congress continues to subsidize the oil and gas industry with millions of tax breaks (for a dying industry) while they do practically nothing for alternative energy (the growth industry). Senseless.

On the Governors race front, Corbett has been a tool for the big corporations as Pa. A.G. He continues to initiate punitive legal actions and rule against small communities that try to use their local governing powers to protect themselves from corporate takeover. I can see where he wouldn't be worth a shit to anyone trying to reinstate local governing control over corporate piracy - especially involving hydraulic fracturing.

Onorato is also sketchy on what he actually would do if the majority of the public decided they wanted to pass on the gas revenue and protect the watershed instead. The bottom line unfortunately is that all the politicians are looking at this as a political face-saving opportunity to pull the state out of it's current financial malaise (which, in reality, it won't do anyway).

We already know that regulation is a joke...they can't even control the wells they already have operating. It would be interesting to know - if given a choice - how many NY/NJ/DEL/PA people affected by possible drinking water contamination, air pollution, noise, community disruption and other negative externalities of this whole process would just say forget it - lets leave it in the ground and move on to something else.

I guess the direct question for all of these guys is:

What part of the public resource legacy are you willing to sacrifice for the temporary influx of gas money and is wrecking the state's natural capital worth it in the long run?


noel jones said...

I also saw Jake Towne at the film screening of GASLAND.

I asked John Callahan what his position on hydrofracking was at a Democratic picnic, and he said he didn't know enough about. I gave him the highlights and asked him to watch the film. Then his campaign manager told me that he has been advising him to watch it for a while, so hopefully he has by now. It has certainly been brought to his attention.

I have not met Dent.

frank said...

Jake Towne on “Fracking”.

Anonymous said...

Towne's a chemical engineer and has a good grasp of the whole fracking process.

As a matter of fact, I had no idea about the whole Marcellus gas deposit until I met Jake and he told me about it, he's trying to get the message out. Definitely read his position statement on it which is linked above

noel jones said...

This is one of those rare, unifying issues that concerns Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, because as much as it's an environmental issue, it's also a property rights issue--and we all want to be able to drink our water.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

Read Towne's position paper. Probably has the closest thing to the right take on it I've heard. As an aside, he also seems to understand the prefered constitutional role of government from the perspective of the local level. We are far from that ideal. It will take more than "getting out the vote" or "throwing the bums out" to address this problem.


noel jones said...

I just read it myself:

I agree--Jake Towne seems to be the one taking the hydrofracking issue seriously so far. Dent's web site just says that he's in favor of natural gas drilling, and I can't find a position on the issue yet from Callahan.

The candidates forum will be a great opportunity for residents to let all three candidates know how serious their concerns are about protecting our clean drinking water and property rights.

carinne said...

Noel, I want to go to this!

noel jones said...

Maybe we can get the old school board meeting posse to head up together from the pub?

noel jones said...

I would suggest that anyone hoping to submit questions for the candidates get to the venue around 6:30 or as early as possible, as volunteers from the League of Women Voters will be handing out cards to people as they walk in on which they can write their questions, and the debate is scheduled to begin at 7pm...