As you read Paul’s column, I hope you find yourselves as moved by his story as I was.
Since the announcement of my candidacy for state senator to replace Tommy Tomlinson, the senator and his political operatives have used the Bucks County Courier Times to make an issue of my being “out of town” and that I am inexperienced by calling me a “kid.” Instead of discussing issues, politics, and reform, the Tomlinson team has taken a page out of the Rove-Bush playbook.The only thing I will say in Tomlinson’s defense is that has helped Rendell with the governor’s attempt to use gaming revenue for property tax relief, but that works for Tomlinson because Philadelphia Park Racetrack, which would benefit from bringing gaming to PA, is in Tomlinson’s district.
I would like to set the record straight on how I have been “out of town.” First, I have lived in Bucks County for close to 20 years. I left Bucks County to serve in the military and I am proud to be the only candidate in this race with a military record.
While Senator Tomlinson was chosen as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and vocalized his unity with George Bush, I was wearing a 9 mm on my hip, stopping drugs and protecting our borders. I became a disabled American veteran following a line of duty law enforcement accident. I also became a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security and gained valuable legislative experience with the Coast Guard’s Congressional Hearings Team.
After eight years of active duty service, I was given the honor of being retired due to my injury. Upon retirement, I studied my tail off, earned a law degree and an MBA in between countless rehabilitation visits to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Now I work in Bucks County. I am getting married this month, and wish to serve the people of the 6th PA Senatorial District. Above all, I am proud of what I have done and am unapologetic for being “out of town.”
I, like many other veterans, have looked death in the face and fought back harder than most ever have. The physical pain I feel every day reminds me that I am lucky to be alive and that what I have done with my life so far certainly has made me a man.
Of course, I do give credit where credit is due. When Tomlinson’s people say I am inexperienced, they are partly correct. Unlike Tomlinson, I do not know what it is like to vote myself a 50 percent pension increase like he did in 2001. Unlike Tomlinson, I never voted against a minimum wage increase as he did in 1996. Unlike Tomlinson, it hasn’t taken me over 4,000 days to finally pass property tax relief (despite having a governor, House, and Senate of the same party for many previous years). Unlike Tomlinson, I didn’t fail to follow the state ethics rules by not reporting the $22,200 he made after selling stock in IGA Federal Savings (Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 2005). Finally, I have never been a member of a legislature with one of the worst records for lobbying and special interests.
So, Tommy, you have a fight on your hands and I will not back down from pointing out your legislative history as a career politician. But, it isn’t just me who has a lack of faith in your leadership. Your own party has continually refused to appoint you chair of every important committee you have sought to lead. I understand that your team will be writing letter and bad-mouthing me from now until Election Day. My hope is that we can discuss leadership, reform, and what is best for Pennsylvania. I broke my back for my country and I am willing to do it again for the residents of the 6th PA Senatorial District and there is nothing you or your smear operatives can do to stop me. If I have been “out of town,” you have been out to lunch and I look forward to having the middle class help you collect your 50 percent pension increase earlier than you expect come Election Day.
Other than that, Tomlinson is a Repug. And by itself (not withstanding what Paul brings to the table, which is significant), that’s enough to earn Tomlinson a ticket out the door.