Archive of posts for September, 2011:

Press Release: Sierra Club endorses Shapiro and Richards

Posted by admin on Friday, September 30, 2011

Norristown, PA (September 28, 2011) — The Southeastern Pennsylvania Group of the Sierra Club has endorsed Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County Commissioner.

The Sierra Club is America’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

“Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards may be the strongest environmental team to run for county commissioner in southeastern PA in years,” said Bill Brainerd, political co-chair of the Southeastern Group. Brainerd pointed to the records of both candidates to back up his statement.

Josh Shapiro’s environmental score in Harrisburg the last seven years is 89%,” he said. “The Sierra Club endorses him every time he runs. Leslie Richards has worked for the Environmental Protection Agency, and has been an environmental consultant. Under her leadership, Whitemarsh Township played a major role in saving beautiful Erdenheim Farm as open space.” The preservation of the 400+-acre Erdenheim Farm is one of the most significant pieces of open space preservation ever in southeastern Pennsylvania.

“We are honored to have the endorsement of the Sierra Club, and we are committed to promoting sustainable projects and growing the county’s green footprint as county commissioners,” Richards said.

Leslie Richards is a Whitemarsh Township supervisor and is a senior project manager at a woman-owned civil engineering firm. Josh Shapiro is a Pennsylvania State Representative currently serving his fourth term representing Abington and Upper Dublin. He was a leader in the passage of Growing Greener II, legislation that preserved open space and protected the environment.

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Democratic candidates meet the public

Posted by admin on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jenny DeHuff of The Times Herald writes:

UPPER MERION ­­­— A newcomer to the area, Valley Forge Towers resident Greg Myers said he was more than impressed with the candidates he heard speak during a “meet the candidates” forum at the Valley Forge Towers Tuesday night.

While all the candidates at Tuesday’s event were Democrats, several of the speakers said they were happy with the turnout and hoped to reach voters on both sides of the aisle.

“The Democratic representation here in Montgomery County is really outstanding,” said Myers, who moved to the towers in August.

“I am really impressed with Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards because when they stand and speak, I really see a team. It’s not just something you read in their campaign letters. It’s as if they can be completing each other’s sentences.” Read the rest of this entry »

Voters come out to mingle with politicians at Conshohocken’s Meet The Candidates

Posted by admin on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jenny DeHuff of The Times Herald writes:

CONSHOHOCKEN – For local candidates across the spectrum – from school board to borough council to county commissioner – Democrats and Republicans converged under the same roof Monday to present their ideas to their constituents.

Hailing from Whitemarsh, Plymouth and Conshohocken, candidates from both major political parties met at Conshohocken Café on Fayette Street, from 6 to 9 p.m., to rub elbows and tout their campaign standpoints.

Nearing the end of the event, the little café was overflowing with people, mostly politicians, but some voters came out, nonetheless. Incumbents and newcomers alike sought to gain their constituents’ favor. One of them was Sheldon Simpson, representative of the 2nd district on Plymouth Council. Read the rest of this entry »

County commissioner candidates propose vet center

Posted by admin on Friday, September 23, 2011

Keith Phucas of The Times Herald:

WHITPAIN — At Montgomery County Community College Wednesday, Democratic commissioner candidates Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards proposed funding a veterans center to aid students who have served in the military.

The candidates were accompanied by 23-year-old Tim Rayburn, a Marine who served in Iraq and now attends the college.

Many veterans face a difficult challenge reentering civilian life after serving their country in wartime. The proposed Veterans Success Center would help transition men and women from the battlefield to campus life and beyond.

“We have a responsibility to look after our veterans and to help do at least three things for them,” Shapiro said. “To reintegrate them into our community, to educate them and to help them get into our workforce.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dems pledge to aid student-veterans

Posted by admin on Thursday, September 22, 2011

Margaret Gibbons of The Intelligencer writes:

The two Democratic candidates for Montgomery County commissioner Wednesday pledged to create a well-staffed, well-funded Veterans Success Center at the county community college to ease the transition from military life to civilian life for students who are veterans.

“Montgomery County’s heroes, who have sacrificed so much to protect us and our way of life, will get special emphasis from our administration,” said state Rep. Josh Shapiro, who’s running with Whitemarsh Supervisor Leslie Richards.

“We have a responsibility to look after our veterans,” said Richards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release: Shapiro-Richards proposes Veterans’ Center for MCCC

Posted by admin on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

For Immediate Release: September 21, 2011

Contact: Frank Custer (215-527-5928)

Blue Bell, PA (September 21, 2011)— Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, Democratic candidates for Montgomery County Commissioner, today said that if elected they would seek a public/private partnership to establish a well-staffed, well-funded Veterans’ Success Center at Montgomery County Community College.

The Democrats announced their proposal at a press conference at the community college where they were joined by Tim Rayburn, a student-veteran enrolled at the college who described the challenges veterans face and how the proposed center would make the transition from war to an academic setting easier.

Shapiro and Richards outlined the problems faced by veterans acclimating to civilian and academic life upon returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There are 600 veterans enrolled here at Montgomery County Community College and those numbers are going to continue to increase as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down,” Shapiro said. “Many of these men and women have been through a crucible during their time in the military, and are now looking to put their lives back on track by getting an education and skill training in order to transition into public, private and non-profit careers.”

Shapiro pointed out that the G.I. Bill provides generous financial help to the returning veterans, but does not provide the critical social and psychological support needed.

“A recent study by the American Psychological Association revealed that 50 percent of veterans who have enrolled in college have considered suicide,” Richards said. “Twenty percent actually planned a suicide. Half of veterans in college suffer from PTSD. One-third suffers from anxiety, and one quarter from depression. The study also demonstrated that the transition from the military to a college campus can exacerbate the situation and socially isolate the veteran and they struggle to relate.

“Americans honor their men and women in uniform, but what about when they come home?” Richards said. “Too often when they come home and they are out of uniform, they are forgotten. One day a celebrated hero…the next day a man or woman struggling to find their way in society and today that struggle is complicated by a bad economy where jobs are scarce. We cannot and should not forget them.”

Shapiro pointed out that under the leadership of MCCC President Karen Stout, the college currently employs a part-time individual, with experience in working through the complexities of tuition benefits provided by the G.I. Bill and other military educational programs. This individual has also acted as the point person to direct returning veterans to the various college services available to them. Because of this approach, the College has gained a national Military Friendly College designation, and the college and staff have done a herculean job in the face of funding cutbacks, especially from the state government.

“Despite MCCC’s best efforts,” Richards said, “it is not enough. So today, we are announcing that a Shapiro-Richards administration would make it a priority to establish a Veterans’ Success Center at Montgomery County Community College that would build on the foundation that has been laid. The Veterans Success Center will close these gaps and support the degree and credential completion rates for this important segment of students. A comprehensive center will provide strong support systems to aid progression, degree attainment, and re-entry back into the civilian workforce.”

Shapiro said the Veterans’ Success Center provides a perfect situation for public/private cooperation. “We will aggressively seek corporate or private funding, with county help if necessary, to support a full-time Veterans Success Center Director, a part-time advisor, funding for program development for Veterans in areas like financial planning, mental health services, job placement support, and the development of a mentoring program that matches incoming veteran students with veteran graduates,” he said. “We will also bring to bear appropriate county offices and expertise to help provide the types of service necessary to serve the veterans, such as the county’s Workforce Investment Board, MH/MR office and the Veterans’ Affairs office.”

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Montgomery County Commissioner Candidates Have Big Plans If Elected

Posted by admin on Friday, September 16, 2011

Brad Segall of CBS Philly reports:

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – The Democratic candidates for commissioner in Montgomery County are pledging not to raise taxes and say they will review county government from top to bottom to reduce duplication and waste.

Leslie Richards and Josh Shapiro say they’ve identified a new way to get spending under control in the county — adopt zero-based budgeting. In other words, the budget starts at zero and only programs deemed to have merit would be funded.

They vowed not to raise taxes and Shapiro says their administration will bring a new vision and a new way of doing things to county government.

“For the last 100 plus years, the same organization has led county government. There’s a whole lot of cobwebs in county government and there’s a whole lot of people that are doing things a certain way because that’s the way it’s always been done.”

They also want more transparency, putting all county spending online for the taxpayers to see and plan to listen to the county’s workforce to get their ideas for streamlining government.

Read the full story here.

Montco Democratic candidates firm on no tax hike pledge

Posted by admin on Friday, September 16, 2011

Margaret Gibbons of The Intelligencer writes:

The two Montgomery County Democratic commissioner candidates Thursday held tight to their pledge not to increase county taxes.

“We do not believe it is necessary to raise taxes to meet the obligations of the county and to make the critical investments that we believe are worth it to the citizens of Montgomery County,” said state Rep. Josh Shapiro, who is running with Whitemarsh Supervisor Leslie Richards for majority control of the three-member board of county commissioners.

However, neither Shapiro nor Richards would identify any specific cuts that they would make.

“We know there is duplication, we know there is waste and we know that there are things that can be cut,” responded Shapiro when repeatedly asked to identify just one proposed cut the pair would make if elected.

Richards said the pair will have a better handle on specific cuts following a comprehensive review of county real estate holdings, use of technology and necessary infrastructure repairs to get a good hold on county spending and to identify areas where cuts can be made. This will be done during their first 100 days in office, according to Richards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shapiro-Richards: No New Taxes if Elected

Posted by admin on Friday, September 16, 2011

Molly Lozinak of Patch.com writes:

The Democratic candidates for county commissioner say they would ‘begin at zero’ and make each organization in county government ‘make its case.’

Democratic candidates Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards said today that they would not increase county taxes if elected to County Commissioner seats in November.

The tax promise was made as part of the candidates’ fiscal platform, which they announced to gathered members of the media at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown this morning.

The announcement came two days after the Republican candidates for County Commissioner, Jenny Brown and Bruce Castor, announced their own fiscal platform.

The two candidates said they have spent the past few months campaigning throughout Montgomery County by attending 67 community events, 37 house parties, visiting eight senior centers, and making 12,000 phone calls to prospective voters. They describe their four-fold agenda, called “H.E.A.R,” as focusing on holding the line on taxes, the efficiency of county government, the accountability of spending through budget and expense transparency, and adopting a new, “zero-based” budget.

“Castor and Brown didn’t make a commitment on their decision to raise or not raise taxes, and we are making a firm commitment to NOT raise taxes,” Shapiro said.

Read the rest of this entry »

We H.E.A.R. You, Montgomery County

Posted by admin on Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Shapiro/Richards H.E.A.R. Plan for Montgomery County

Fiscal discipline, fiscal reform and no tax increases

H old the Line on Taxes

E fficiency

A ccountability

R eform

Hold the line on taxes: Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards will not raise taxes.

Efficiency: Within its first 100 days in office, the Shapiro/Richards Administration will conduct comprehensive reviews of county real estate holdings, use of technology and necessary infrastructure repairs to get a handle on county spending, and to run a more efficient government.  To help create jobs the new administration will, among other things, utilize public-private-partnerships in key areas.

Accountability: Conduct internal audits of spending controls and publish all county spending in an online database to ensure that taxpayers know how their tax dollars are being spent in a Shapiro/Richards Administration. We need to do more with less, keep an eye on the bottom line and balance our budget without gimmicks, and not solely on the backs of county workers.

Reform: The Shapiro/Richards Administration will adopt zero-based budgeting standards and include the public in the budgeting process.