Critz: U.S. to feel impact of shutdown for years
Putting agendas aside and working together were at the forefront of Mark Critz’s mind as the former congressman addressed the Indiana County Democratic committee just 10 days after the end of the government shutdown.
“We have our ideology, but at the end of the day, we have to solve problems,” he told the crowd of more than 100 Friday at the Indiana County Democratic Committee Fall Banquet, held at the Indiana Holiday Inn.
The Congressional impasse that held up legislation on appropriation of funding for fiscal year 2014 is one that is irresponsible and has impacted the country in ways that “will be felt for years to come,” Critz said later in the evening.
“Foreign countries now doubt the U.S. is a stable economy they can depend on,” he said, adding that recent actions may affect interest rates and the availability of small loans for businesses.
He also told the crowd that the importance of local elections cannot be ignored.
“If we’re not joined together and fighting, we’re crushed,” he said in his address. “We’ve got to get Democrats involved at every single level.”
Critz, representative of Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 2010 to 2013, told those gathered that, in light of those concerns, an off-numbered election year is just as important as the even years, when most federal elections happen.
“We can’t stop paying attention in odd-numbered years. We can’t let our guard down. We have to keep fighting and let people understand who we’re trying to help.”
Critz counted among those Pennsylvania’s youth and seniors.
He expressed unhappiness with Gov. Tom Corbett’s education cuts and their impact on school districts.
While Corbett didn’t raise taxes, Critz said, the cutbacks left school districts with the burden of having to decide whether to eliminate programs, lay off staff or turn to options that would dip further into taxpayer pockets.
“So he didn’t raise taxes specifically, but he did in the long run,” he said.
Putting out a call for Pennsylvania to aim for becoming top in education, he noted his belief in the importance of supporting the state’s school system.
“If you start changing education, you start changing the future of this country,” he said.
Seniors, he said, were another concern, specifically when it comes to the governor’s consideration of turning over management of Pennsylvania’s lottery system to a private British firm. That’s a move, according to Critz, that could take money away from senior programs.
Critz also mentioned his 2014 bid for lieutenant governor. After the banquet, he noted that he would bring a lot to the table during that race, especially when paired with a gubernatorial candidate from the eastern part of the state to draw out voters from across Pennsylvania.
Grassroots support and lessons learned from John Murtha, whose seat he took in a special election after the longtime congressman’s death, would be key to his success, he said.
Of the county and state Democratic candidates, Sandra Kirkland, running again for county treasurer, was at the banquet as well. When addressing the crowd, she noted her 20-plus years of experience holding that seat.
“When you do all you know to do, you stand on that record,” she said.
Many times, she said, after mandatory audits, she and staff have been praised for how well they keep their books. She also noted her efforts to return money to residents who have lost checks or forgotten about payments owed to them.
“I do all that I can to find these people and get their money returned to them,” she said.
Others on the county and state ballots this year include Mary Jane Dellafiora, running for county jury commissioner; Jennifer Rega, seeking re-election as judge in the magisterial district 40-3-03 in the southern part of the county; and Jack McVay Jr., running for a position on the Pennsylvania Superior Court.