My First Term on the PA Dems State Committee Ends- I’d Like Another

In 2002, I returned home from Cross-Country practice one day to my dorm at Moravian College and saw a flier on the door of my building offering internships with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign for Ed Rendell for Governor and Ed O’Brien for Congress in Allentown. I called the number, and here I am 16 years later still in politics. A few Presidential, Senate, Gubernatorial, and Congressional races later, I can’t help but think the business of politics is important- peoples lives are changed for the better or worse because of who wins our elections, and what those people do with power. This stuff really matters. I think that more decent, honest people on both sides of the aisle should involve themselves in our politics. I think the rule of “don’t discuss politics and religion” is actually a really crappy thing we do in our society.

On Saturday in Harrisburg, we held the 12th and final meeting of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee for my first term. In 2014, I was elected to represent Northampton County as one of three male slots. I didn’t campaign overly hard in 2014, I was out of state working on Election Day, and I only had a few more signatures to qualify for the ballot than I needed. Never the less, I did win, and I did serve, and I’m glad I did. I met amazing activists and leaders from all over Pennsylvania, people I never would have met otherwise. I made friends from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, rural counties, of every race, gender, and religion, and of all ages. I was one of the youngest people to actually serve as an elected member of the committee. I think the experience soberly aged my perspective on politics.

I think I did a pretty good job, and so I’m running for a second term. Whether we measure my record on attendance, on who I endorsed, on my votes for the policy resolutions that moved the party, administrative votes, or how I helped our statewide and local candidates during this last term, I think my performance should make the cut. Among the highlights:

  • I supported a diverse lot of candidates, particularly when measured against Pennsylvania’s history. I voted to endorse Dwayne Woodruff, Maria McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols, Debbie Kunselman, and Ellen Ceisler for statewide judicial offices in 2017. I supported Anne Lazarus and Alice Beck Dubow for statewide judicial offices in 2015. This was a radical departure for Pennsylvania, even among Democrats. During this term, Pennsylvania Democrats both endorsed their first African-American candidates for state judgeships, and elected our first African-American woman to the elected leadership of the committee. No one deserves a pat on the back for doing that in 2018, but it’s worth noting.
  • I obviously voted for some of the front-runners to be endorsed, like Senator Casey and Governor Wolf this past weekend, but I wasn’t afraid to vote for some long shots either. I voted for John Fetterman to be our endorsed candidate for the Senate race in 2016 on the first ballot. I voted for Judge Ceisler to be our endorsed candidate for the Commonwealth Court in 2017, when I was just one of two people in the entire Northeast Caucus to do so (Out of like 40 members. Also, as an aside- she won.). I supported very progressive candidates, and more moderate ones, depending on what I think fit the race best for us at the time. I’m proud of the thought I put into it.
  • I didn’t miss a meeting. I did have to give my proxy to a Northampton County Councilman for the second day of the Fall 2017 meeting, due to a family funeral. Even in that case though, I was there the first day and actively taking part.
  • In conjunction with the State’s Young Democrats, I started the Lehigh Valley Young Democrats during this term.
  • I voted for the policy resolutions that came up during this term to move the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to a more progressive place. For instance, I supported a resolution supporting single-payer health care. Obviously I take a more nuanced position than many others on health care, but I think our party should speak up in support of our values.
  • I made it a point to reach out to our statewide candidates and lobby them to visit Northampton County and the Lehigh Valley to campaign here. I promoted our endorsed candidates and personally set up visits to the area for many of our candidates over the past few years. It is an important, and often times over-looked part of our job on the committee, to promote our state candidates back home, where they are often unknown.
  • I also made it a point to help our candidates back home, in a capacity beyond my political consulting business, volunteering my time and expertise to our Northampton County candidates in their races.

With all of that said, today is the beginning of the petition period for the May 15th, 2018 Primary that will elect the new Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. If you are a registered Democrat in Northampton County, PA, you can sign my petition to appear on the ballot. You can also vote for me on May 15th. If you have any questions, comment here or shoot me an email, and I will try to answer them. I hope I can earn your vote for another term.

Yes, it Happened, Philadelphia.

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I took last week off from writing in the entirety, in part because I was busy, and in part because I didn’t have any fully formed thoughts to say. In the last piece I wrote, I predicted the Eagles would win the Super Bowl- just hours before they did. Even though that was my prediction, I still can’t believe it happened.

When the hail mary from Tom Brady landed incomplete in the end zone, I didn’t really have much immediate reaction. I was too shocked. I will be the first to admit it, I never thought the Eagles would ever win a championship in my lifetime. The last time they had won, 1960, my father was three. The Eagles had been a bad franchise in my lifetime to be honest, a franchise that hadn’t won a title. It wasn’t just that though- they always seemed to get close. This was their sixth NFC Championship or further in my lifetime. This was only the second time they were playing in the Super Bowl though, and they lost that time. You see, that’s the frustrating thing about the Eagles for a fan, they can’t just suck every year. We not only had to fail, but we had to do it in heartbreaking fashion. Basically, after the loss to Arizona to end the 2008 season, and then seeing my favorite Eagle (Brian Dawkins) simply cut loose, I had a negative view of the team. I didn’t ditch them and go cheer for another team, I just became extremely cynical. We aren’t supposed to win- until now. So when the Eagles did win, the shock over me didn’t make it all that real at first. There’s no way it happened.

The Eagles did win though. It happened. Nick Foles, a quarterback who I once said would never be good enough to win a Super Bowl (back in the Chip Kelly days), not only won the Super Bowl, but he won the MVP. They not only won the Super Bowl, but they beat Tom Brady, in all of his 500+ yard best form, to win that Super Bowl. By Monday, it started to set in. By Tuesday I was finalizing plans to be at the parade- on Thursday. The impossible had set in.

So, about that parade- I’m the most die-hard of Phillies fans, but was unable to go to the 2008 parade because of work. I was going to this parade. I took a pre-dawn bus down to Center City with a bunch of childhood friends, all of us witnesses to all of those heartbreaking losses, and drank and made merry on the corner of 15th and JFK and watched the parade with hundreds of thousands of our anonymous, closest friends. It was an amazing, amazing experience. Almost everyone was happy and decent towards each other (there are always a few jerks). It was a sea of green. When the team went by, it was euphoric. There was Carson Wentz, holding up the Lombardi Trophy, the moment every Eagles fan about my age never thought would happen. It was amazing. I have no other words for it. I couldn’t even come up with those words for days.

All week, friends of mine and I have debated if this is better than 2008, and all I can come up with is that this is different. The Phillies are my #1, period, and their win in 2008 seems unmatchable. On the other hand, it was also more of a relief than anything. No Philadelphia team at all had won a title since I was one month old in 1983 (The Sixers). Had the Phillies failed to win that World Series, I think I might have given up all hope. This Eagles win was different, in that I really felt like it was going to happen all along, and I have no idea why. Before the season, I thought this Eagles team would win seven to nine games and be entertaining, on paper, and yet when they started winning games early on, I didn’t feel all that shocked. Perhaps it was because I liked these players, perhaps it was because I always had more confidence in Doug Pederson than I ever had in Chip Kelly, or perhaps it was just because I was so certain I’d never see a title that I never actually got nervous about them blowing it. I don’t know. I obviously was really happy about both the Eagles championship and that last Phillies championship. I really can’t draw a distinction between the two though, because they were so different for me. Nothing can ever top that moment in time that was the Fall of 2008 for me, because the entirety of my life was in a special faze, but this is just such a happy moment as a fan that I can’t really put it down in comparison to anything else.

Perhaps the happiest thing about the Eagles championship is the happiness it seems to have brought the entire region. I saw grown people at that parade, smiling from ear to ear, who were just so happy that their Eagles had finally given them that championship. No more abuse from New York, or Washington, or Boston, or Baltimore, or Pittsburgh, or especially Dallas, about how Philadelphia never had a Super Bowl ring. No more expectations of losing. No more wondering if this team was good enough. The Eagles are champs. Yes, the Eagles are champs. I could say it all day.

 

The Most Unlikely of Moments: Buck Foston, Go Birds in Super Bowl LII

The day has arrived. Super Bowl 52 is here. The Philadelphia Eagles, the New England Patriots, a generation after Super Bowl 39. The day after Terrell Owens and Brian Dawkins were voted into the Hall-of-Fame. This is some high drama TV.

This is not Super Bowl 39. This is a new day. It’s ok though, as an Eagles fan you should embrace it. It’s fun. Here’s my notes on today, followed by the prediction.

  • Justin Timberlake is back at the Super Bowl. He’s the true GOAT at this game, no matter what Brady does. With that said, this can only be right if Janet Jackson makes a cameo. America demands it.
  • Tom Brady has come into the Super Bowl as MVP one time- 2007. The Patriots famously lost to the New York Giants.
  • Hand this to the Patriots- Belichick took a rather average looking team in week one and put them in their third Super Bowl in four years. In fact, both of these teams took a convincing early loss to Andy Reid’s September champion Kansas City Chiefs. Andy, who coached the Eagles in Super Bowl 39.
  • No NFL MVP has ever won the Super Bowl the same year. Matt Ryan lost last year. Cam Newton the year before.
  • Howie Roseman should be the executive of the year for taking a 7-9 team that last won a playoff game in the divisional round of the 2008 season to the Super Bowl. He cleaned up Chip Kelly’s mess in literally a year. Give him props. Former ChipBots, be humble.
  • On the Chip Kelly sucks bandwagon, just imagine if the Eagles had traded Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, and something like four top picks to Tennessee so they could draft Marcus Mariota. Just imagine. Chip Kelly should be out of all football.
  • The only player in this game who played in the last Eagles-Pats Super Bowl is Tom Brady. This is his 8th Super Bowl. He’s 5-2 through 7. His AFC Championship record is just as impressive. His divisional round record would win home field most seasons. He’s got nothing to prove today.
  • The Patriots will not blowout the Eagles today. The 4.5 point line is too high. At least according to history. The final spread of the previous seven Patriots Super Bowls? Three, three, three, three, four, four, and six points in overtime.
  • Assuming Lane Johnson gets to the field this evening, the Eagles are 20-4 in his last 24 games. The All-Pro lineman is probably the most important player on this Eagles offense.
  • The hottest unit coming into this game? The Eagles defense. They’ve given up 5 touchdowns in the last 19 quarters they’ve played.
  • The Eagles defeated Minnesota and Atlanta to win the NFC and make Super Bowl 39, in Jacksonville. They defeated Atlanta and Minnesota to win the NFC and reach Super Bowl 52. New England beat… Jacksonville this year. Strange, just strange.
  • This game will sound like an Eagles home game.

So, prediction time… The Eagles win 23-21 on a walk-off kick. Fletcher Cox wins the MVP.