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Gerber endorsing Onorato Monday

Gerber endorsing Onorato Monday

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato will formally get the backing of another prominent southeast lawmaker Monday, when state Representative Mike Gerber (D-Montgomery) endorses the Democratic candidate for governor.

Gerber, seen as a rising star in the party, will officially throw his support behind Onorato Monday night at a bar in Conshohocken.

As chair of the party’s state House campaign arm, Gerber could prove helpful in rounding up support for Onorato among Democrats in Harrisburg. Onorato has also been endorsed by state Senators Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) and Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), as the western Pennsylvanian seeks to build a political support in the vote-rich southesast.

November 30, 2009 at 7:00 am

--Dan Hirschhorn

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  1. Boooylin

    Nov 30th, 2009

    Is Daylin going to back out of his endorsement in a month or is he going to stick with it? (I guess Dan has already brought this up)

  2. David Diano

    Nov 30th, 2009

    What bar in Conshohocken?

  3. Dan Hirschhorn

    Nov 30th, 2009

    The Great American Pub

    123 Fayette Street

  4. GOPHAWK

    Nov 30th, 2009

    Patrons, beware. Dan “beer tax” Onorato may be eyeing your receipts as future revenue.

  5. David Diano

    Nov 30th, 2009

    Okay. I know the “where”.

    How about the “when”? What time?

  6. Dan Hirschhorn

    Nov 30th, 2009

    Right you are David. 6 p.m.

  7. David Diano

    Nov 30th, 2009

    I went to the event tonight. It was well attended. Daylin Leach did a few minutes of stand-up. He gave an endorsement of Dan Onorata.

    Daylin also noted that he more liberal (ie progressive) than Dan, but was able to list some achievements by Dan in various areas including non-discrimination. So, Daylin was able to say that he was more than comfortable supporting Dan.

    My personal take-away message was: This is the best we were going to get from a viable governor candidate in terms of liberal/progressive. Half to 3/4 of a loaf was better than none. Daylin made it sound more “ringing endorsement” than that, but take away the qualifiers, and that’s what’s left.

    Onto Dan speaking for himself:
    The good….
    Dan had some good stories about his achievements in cost cutting in Allegheny (example: consolidating five 911 centers into a single operation and saving $5 million/year)
    He helped take the lead in cleaning up contaminated steel plants that had been closed for decades, and making them viable for new businesses. Getting a company that builds some specialized mirrors for solar energy, and creating hundreds of jobs. Greening up government buildings. He has some good management experience and understands a big economy like Allegheny with a city like Pittsburgh and a surrounding suburbs.

    How Dan answered some questions:
    Dan stated that SE PA was an important battle ground where he (and the Dems) needed to win. That gave me an opening for the first question of the night:
    I asked about what kind of support we should expect from him on standing up the the NRA, and supporting Nutter and sensible gun control laws. This is especially considering that Rendell was a strong advocate for gun control and there wasn’t a lot of hunting in Philadelphia.
    This a a third-rail issue, and I didn’t expect Dan to disavow the NRA, but I wanted to see where he stood. Dan admitted being pretty pro-gun and that in his area they close the schools when hunting season opens. (My guess: it’s either because the kids want to hunting with their dads, or bullets fly too close to the schools.) Dan acknowledged that there could be “sensible gun laws” and that being a gun guy himself, he had enough credibility with the gun crowd to stand up for reasonable gun control.
    This answer is semi-weasel because he didn’t actually list anything specific he would support, but he did say he was reaching out to Mayor Nutter.
    Interestingly, the guy standing behind me (who appeared somewhat inebriated) muttered: “We already have too many gun laws. You just lost my vote.” The lady next to me referred to the muttering guy as an assh0le. Fortunately, I was not caught in the cross fire of any gun play.
    A gentleman from “Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns” approached me, and offered me his card.

    My take: I don’t think Onorata is going to be any kind of advocate for the kinds of gun control I’d like to see. He’s has enough street cred to do something, IF he wanted. My personal guess is that he would stonewall anything getting to his desk in the first place so he wouldn’t have to take a real position with his governor’s pen. I can easily see him giving a different answer if he was 100 miles west of here. So, I don’t have any confidence in him on this issue, but I’m willing to keep an open mind that he is approachable.

    Gay Marriage: My take was that he wouldn’t sign anything supporting gay marriage. He does favor anti-discrimination legislation, and doing some stuff to help with inheritance, burial, insurance, etc. However, it seems to be on a more case-by-case basis for each “right”.
    My take: Onorata is genuinely against discrimination, but is too old-fashion, conservative, uninformed, or just plain “thick” to realize that denying marriage IS discrimination. If Onorata is more open on this issue, it’s a sure bet that he won’t say anything publicly because it would hurt him in with his base the West. However, I got no “wink-and-a-nod” sense that he was even slightly progressive on this issue.
    I confronted Daylin, who offered the defense: that Daylin’s ahead of the curve, so I shouldn’t hold Onorata to that standard.
    My response was that: Daylin is at the curve, and Onorata was actually behind the curve.
    But, I respect Daylin supporting Dan on balance, though this was an area of disagreement.

    Once I hear the other candidates, I might still vote for Onorata on balance, BUT based on this issue, I can’t see myself offering any additional support beyond the ballot box (be it handing out literature, getting signatures, donating, etc.) This issues is as fundamental as inter-racial marriage was 40 years ago. While I don’t expect Dan to be an advocate, I’d like a governor who will sign a gay-marriage rights bill, if it comes across his desk.

    On abortion: Dan’s answer boiled down to “Keep the status quo.” Dan was asked if he’d sign legislation that would turn back abortion laws, and he said he would veto any such changes. I chimed in to get a clarification about supporting more progressive laws that women wanted, and his answer was the same. So, vetoes for all sides and no changes in either direction.

    On Education: Dan’s got a position paper coming out next week, so I’ll let that speak for itself.

    In summary, Dan sounds EXCELLENT on environment, fiscal matters, management of government, job creation, and some civil rights issues. On key social issues, definitely NOT-excellent.
    Dan’s probably falls into the Bob Casey section of the political spectrum.

    I’m looking forward to meeting and hearing from the other Dem candidates.

  8. contactsport

    Nov 30th, 2009

    Dan Onorato is NOT a progressive in ANY sense of the word-he might have some nuanced answers to appease the southeast, but he is lousy on the gun issue, lousy on the choice issue, an opportunist on the GLBT issue, and presents little unique as a county executive.
    We are now facing a STUPACK like amendment from our ANTI-CHOICE ANTI-GUN CONTROL SENATOR CASEY-which the party insiders supported because he was the only “viable” candidate-and so now we will bang our heads against the wall as we try to fight the discrimination CASEY is about to bring on the entire country because WE elected him. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH-why don’t we learn??-we need to elect a true PROGRESSIVE!!!
    JOE HOEFFEL is the ONLY TRUE PROGRESSIVE in this Governor’s race and we should all get on board his campaign and stop listening to the corrupted State Legislature who has lost ALL credibility with the pa electorate!!!

  9. David Diano

    Nov 30th, 2009

    contactsport-
    I like Hoeffel, but he needs more of a campaign. He’s coming of the starting gate too slow.

  10. [...] State Rep Mike Gerber is endorsing a guy from Pittsburgh for [...]

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