Monday, November 22, 2010

Power Shifts East to West

For most of the Rendell Administration, Philadelphia lawmakers set the agenda in Harrisburg.
Next year, Allegheny County will hold the reins at the Capitol.
The Pittsburgh area is riding high right now. Governor-elect Tom Corbett, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa and both House leaders, Republican Mike Turzai and Democrat Frank Dermody, come from Allegheny County.
Political scientist Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College says the power shift is good news for the region.

"Historically, lawmakers have assisted their region. They have brought home economic and community development monies. They have pushed the federal funds for which the state has discretion into their areas of the state. And so typically, you would expect that leaders would bring the bacon home."

Madonna says leaders will still find a way to make that happen, even though money will be tight next year, due to a likely multi-billion dollar deficit.

After he took the reigns as top House Democrat, Dermody assured anxious Philadelphians -- who are losing a governor and appropriations chair -- their interests will still be met.

"Surely they’re not without representation in Harrisburg. And believe me, all of us here have been big supporters of Philadelphia. We understand it’s a big state. That we represent the whole state, that we represent everyone in this state. And we will continue to do that. Philadelphia and every other part of this commonwealth will get a fair shake from us."

Governor Rendell says the idea leaders will help their home city has been “badly blown out of proportion.”
He’s likely a bit sensitive to the charge, though, having been labeled by many as “the governor of Philadelphia” for the last eight years.

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