Thursday, October 30, 2014


I attended the Aaron Kaufer vs Eileen Cipriani Debate for the 120th district. Here are some observations:

Bill 76 to eliminate school taxes: Both candidates are for Bill 76 citing it would be a huge benefit for middle and lower income homeowners. This appears to be the general consensus with most local candidates (except Pashinski). Eileen Cipriani made the sage comment that with taxes as they are now... one never really owns their home.

It would also help renters in that, with the cost of owning a home reduced, it would put less pressure on homeowners to raise rents and would actually lower the "rent floor" for the poor who may be living w/relatives or in shelters etc..
2nd amendment:  Both support
School vouchers: Both are against
Gay rights:  Both are staunchly "pro gay rights"
Extraction taxes: Both support
Abortion:  Kaufer is "pro-life" with certain exceptions. Cipriani is "pro choice." Cipriani attempted to convince the audience that she leaves it up to the individual which somehow softens her stance. But that, in my opinion, is essentially the stance of pro-choice.

Term limits: Kaufer for... and Cipriani against. Kaufer argued that with term limuts, candidates wouldn't be continually using time and resources to get re-relected. This makes sense to me. Cipriani argued that a good representative should not be forced out which makes sense as well. In my opinion I believe Kaufer has the stronger argument here. Kaufer also talked about the number of "staffers" that Pa has... far exceeding other states. He considers this largely wasted money. I believe he has a point.

Ms. Cipriani spoke about cities and boroughs sharing resources. This struck a chord with me as I cannot understand why there isn't a "West side police" station instead of each tiny town having its own force. It would seem sensible to me to unify all the police forces together. Salaries could be frozen and retirements could help reduce rhe force to the right number (if needed). No one would be hurt in the process.

Both candidates are cynical of tax credits to corprations. Kaufer brought up the point that many businesses have taken advantage of the KOZ system ended up leaving. I believe his is on solid footing here because tax credits don't increase demand for a company's product. What happens is the tax credit turns out to be nothing more than a gift which they will gladly accept.

Kaufer spoke about how we need to leave the "coal mining and seamstress days" behind us. But I think we have. We now attract warehousing and call center jobs which one can't raise a family on. Cipriani talked about linking our schools with trades that are in demand. It seems like steering the "blue collar" into plumbing, electrician work, and auto mechanics is a big step up from where many are working now.

Kaufer mentioned how corruption has taken its toll state-wide. And of course we know how it has locally. We need a fair playing field. The perception from the outside must be that the area is corruption free, We aren't anywhere close. We will be feeling the effects of corruption, cronyism, and nepotism for years. It didn't happen over-night.

I am impressed by the personal pledges and sacrifices that Kaufer has made if he is our representative. I feel that his heart is in the right place and I there is a "ring of truth" about what he speaks. He has command of the issues and I believe his youth will serve him. He is untainted.

At the same time I was impressed by Cipriani. She seems like a person who will authentically listen to the constituents.

I left the debate feeling we are in good hands either way. A feeling I have never felt once in regards to my anti-corruption work in Wilkes-Barre.       Thank You and God bless.