The Citizens Voice - News - 11/04/2005 - Rendell: Democrats up to the challenge: "Rendell: Democrats up to the challenge
By:Elizabeth Skrapits 11/04/2005
WILKES-BARRE - Gov. Ed Rendell had a message for local and state Democrats Thursday night: go back to your roots.
Democrats still provide the best chance for ordinary working families to get ahead and still give the best opportunities to senior citizens, Rendell told a roomful of local and state party members.
"We take care of people. It's our job to," he said.
Rendell was the main speaker at a cocktail party for Luzerne County Democrats held at the Ramada Inn in Wilkes-Barre.
"This is the first time I've been to Luzerne County when neither (Wilkes-Barre City Mayor Tom Leighton) nor (Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak) nor any of your legislative delegation has asked me for money," Rendell joked.
Then he grew serious as he outlined the challenge Democrats on the local, state, and federal levels are going to face in upcoming elections.
The current Republican administrations in Washington and Harrisburg are floundering, and don't seem to be able to do anything right, Rendell said.
But Democrats should not rely on the other party's mistakes, he said. The answer, Rendell said, is for Democrats to go back to their roots.
And start fighting back, he emphasized.
Republicans defined themselves as the party of religious and moral values based on their stances against abortion and gay marriage, Rendell said.
He couldn't find any mention of gay marriage in the Bible, but Rendell said he did find plenty of references to doing unto others, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked.
"We're the party that stands for real Judeo-Christian values," Rendell said.
Democrats do not believe in cutting veterans' services and food stamps for infants to give tax breaks to millionaires, he said.
Democrats should not be afraid of spending money - provided it is spent in the right way, he said.
Money should be spent on infrastructure, education, finding alternate sources of energy - such as the wind turbine park in Bear Creek Township - and programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
"That's what we should be doing, and we shouldn't apologize for it," Rendell said.
State Treasurer Bob Casey, who is challenging Republican Sen. Rick Santorum next year, was unable to attend the party, but his brother Pat Casey represented him.
Despite polls showing Bob Casey ahead of Santorum, Pat Casey said it will be the toughest battle of his brother's political career - as tough as when their father Robert Casey Sr. narrowly defeated Republican Bill Scranton for governor in 1986. Scranton is running again for governor next year, against Rendell.
Next year Santorum will have $25 million in his war chest, and he is already moving to the center, Pat Casey said.
Democrat Chris Carney is also preparing for a tough battle next year against Rep. Don Sherwood for his seat in the 10th Congressional District. The political science professor from Dimock in Susquehanna County attended to get started on his campaign early."