Sunday, November 18, 2007

Boback has a challenger

It's not surprising for a freshman legislator to be challenged in a primary and we have 3 new State Reps in Luzerne County. Expect Eddie Day Pashinski and Mike Carroll to also have a challenger emerge in time for the April primary election. Let's just hope that the other party puts up a candidate other than Christine Katsock for the General Election. I hate uncontested elections.

In the 117th District Karen Boback won a crowded primary race in 2006 with less than 30% of the vote and went on to a 2 to 1 win in November against the only Democrat that bothered to run.

Boback has received some good press from the local papers as do all our local office holders. The fallout from the Lake Lehman teachers strike has inspired James May, a 37-year-old former U.S. Army chaplain and resident of Falls Township to take her on. May, a Republican, said the issue of teacher strikes is the reason he intends to mount a campaign against Boback, who took office in January.

Just in the way of disclosure he was a candidate last time but got bounced off the ballot because of an incomplete financial disclosure form and his website is still out there.

He has attracted the attention of one of the Republican heavy hitters.

“The Conservative Reform PAC will be sending him $9,201,” Bob Guzzardi, PAC president, said. “A check is a tangible sign of support."

$9,201 to May's campaign struck me as an odd amount. Is there some significance to that number? So I asked Bob Guzzardi to explain. His reply:

Yes, it is one dollar more than given to Boback by PSEA. Parental choice is education is a core value of the Conservative Reform PAC and Rep. Boback has evidenced hostility to Penna. Charter Schools, which are one choice parents may want to choose for their children. Conservative Reform PAC also advocates for the expansion of Education Improvement Tax Credit, closest to free market in education that is politically feasible, and represents a legitimate compromise to me. is a web site I set up and, perhaps, could educate the electorate with a focus on the facts of the value of this program. Parents, although not perfect, are much better able to make decisions for their children's education than anonymous government bureaucrats. And allocating educational resources based on zip code seems harsh and counterproductive. In past 10 years, spending has more than doubled, above rate of inflation, and learning has not improved at all. Time for choice and competition in education; free markets for free people.

EITC is the only vehicle that can transform urban education, in my opinion.

I also support Simon Campbell and Strike Free Education in Pennsylvania Teachers strike for their money and their benefits, not better education.


Anonymous said...

I met James and i would eagerly support him if I was not in but "I must keep my identity hidden"

Anonymous said...


Pennsylvania has more teacher-union strikes than the other 49 states combined! That not only hurts our children but it diminishes respect for our teachers. The saddest part is that it doesn't need to be this way. There is a bill in the PA House of Representatives right now that would ensure that every child in Pennsylvania receives a strike-free education, but it is going to take support from legislators all across the state to look past money from special interest groups and focus on the real goal – making sure Pennsylvania's children are receiving a " thorough and efficient system of public education" as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Last year, State Representative Karen Boback received $9,200 from the Pennsylvania State Education Association Teachers' Union. The PSEA gives the vast majority of its money to liberal Democrats, but Karen Boback received more PSEA money than 97% of all Republicans in the House. This is quite troublesome to most Republicans. This does, however, provide Representative Boback with a unique opportunity as it pertains to the Lake-Lehman Teacher Strike.

Because Karen Boback lives in the Lake-Lehman school district, I'm certain that she is well aware of the outrage at the teachers' union over their decision to strike. The thousands of PSEA dollars pouring into her campaign cannot begin to silence the anger of the parents and the taxpayers in her district. Now as a State Representative, Karen Boback has a choice: to side with the teachers' union that helped finance her campaign, or side with the parents in her district. Because she is being bankrolled by the PSEA, Karen Boback has been given a platform from which she can have a direct impact on the PSEA's decision to strike. Karen Boback has said that striking is a teacher's "right". She is simply wrong. A quality education for our children supersedes the supposed right of a teacher to strike.

I am asking Representative Boback to demonstrate that she is not beholden to the special interest money of the union that is bankrolling her campaign. I am asking Representative Boback to demonstrate that she values the education of children more than she values her relationship with this union. This can be done in two ways:

First, publicly condemn this liberal union, and their decision to strike. The upheaval this is causing families mandates that she do nothing less. As a resident of the Lake-Lehman school district who has received thousands of dollars from the PSEA, she has both an obligation to speak out and a platform from which to be heard. She needs to side with her constituents, not with the union.

Second, address the root of the problem and fundamentally change the combative system that pits teachers against school boards in the first place. Sign House Bill 1369 which will outlaw teacher strikes in Pennsylvania and would replace the current antagonistic system with a cooperative focus on what everyone really wants – a quality education for our children. In so doing, she will demonstrate that she has the courage and conviction to stand up for what is right, even when she receives money from those who do not, and Pennsylvania will join the 37 other states that have already banned teachers' strikes.

However, should she choose to side with this all-too powerful, liberal union over both the taxpayers in her district and the children in the Lake-Lehman school district, she will demonstrate that she needs to be replaced by the voters in 2008.

James May
Northmoreland Township