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« Mike Waltner Guest Blogging | Main | Piccola Introduces Gambling Changes »

March 31, 2008

Comments

John Morgan

Welcome Mike!

John Morgan

Tell us some about the 3rd District, which counties comprise the area, the types of towns and communities there.

Mike Waltner

Hello John, Great to be with you.

John Morgan

How long has Phil English been in this seat and how will you beat him?

Mike Waltner

The 3rd District is found in 7 counties in Northwest Pa.
Erie, Warren, Crawford, Mercer, Butler Venango, and Armstrong

It is comprised of midsize to small industrial cities like Erie, Sharon, Butler, Meadville, and Greenville. It also includes rural areas and a number of small towns. We have an advantage of 10,000 registered democratic voters in the district over republican and we are working to make sure that Phil English will no longer be our rep in jan, 2009

John Morgan

What, in your opinion, are some of English's more odious votes in Congress?

Mike Waltner

English has held the seat for the past 14 years. This after promising not to serve for more than 6 terms, (12 years).

It is clear that he looks at this as a life-time seat. It is imperative that we put a new representative, someone who will represent and fight for the interests of our region. The past 14 years have not been good for our region or or our country and we desperately need a new voice in washington to turn things around.

John Morgan

What do you think uniquely separates you from the other Democrats to represent this District? Do you think you are better positioned to beat English in the fall?

Mike Waltner

His votes on trade have been hurtful to our region. He also continually votes against labor. Such as his no vote on the Employee Free Choice Act.

He voted for the Bush Tax, to subsidize big oil with 87 Billion Dollars, when they were making record profits.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspects of his record though are the way he uses votes to disguise an ideological right wing voting record.

For instance, English has sought to distance himself from his initial support of the Iraq war, by voting against the surge. Now it seems he is again calling for the status quo. He constantly flip-flops positions citing nuance as the reason. But it is clear that he is voting based upon his own political self preservation. He is constantly "testing the winds" and switching positions. He is indecisive, lacks courage, and is overly calculating.

Overall English represents what is wrong with washington. 70% of his contributions come from PACs and Special Interests he represents them not us.

John Morgan

What specific PAC's is he indebted to? I remember he voted against SCHIP, for example. Has he taken inusrance and pharma money?

He also voted for the Military Commissions Act which authorized torture.

Will

Mr. Waltner,

What separates you from your opponents in the primary?

Thanks.

Mike Waltner

What I think seperates is my is my personal and professional background.

I don't believe that I am entitled to this seat because of my last name or because I shoot pool with and slap the backs to local leaders. We have had enough of that type of politics in this region. I have never had anything handed to me in my life I have had to pioneer my own way and have had success in engaging issues we all care about. Health Care access, Poverty, Domestic Violence, the Environment and more. I have worked with leaders at all levels of society from grass-roots to the highest.

I am the only one who has done such work and who has made his own way. This gives me an idependance and work ethic that my opponents just plainly don't have.

You can see it in the type of organization I have built. My opponents have several adavantages but I have out hustled and out manuvered them at every point along this road. We have set the tone in this campaign.

To the point were my opposition is copying our talking points and trying to catch up.

We are the only campaign that can beat English. We already have a nation wides fundraising base and have cultivated connections in recent months that will take us to Victory come November. We have the largest Grass roots operation and the most comprehensive vision and agenda for this region.

In addition, I can draw the attention of the National Democratic Party, Netroots, and more to this race. This is a national election, not a city or county council race x's 3. We are running a campaign with the infrustructure, staff, and network to beat English.

Mike Waltner

Pharma, and the Health care insurance and device industry are primary investors in English who work make sure he continues to sit on his hands while 47 million Americans go without Healthcare and millions more remain under- insured or worry that they will lose insurance.

John Morgan

You've actively cultivated the netroots and they've allowed you to outraise your opponents. You've come from relative obscurity to take the lead in this primary. How do you think you were able to outfox such entrenched local leaders to take this race?

Mike Waltner

I think it speaks to my ability to see trends on the horizon and to execute a strategy. My leadership abilities.

I fully understand and respect the role the internent is playing in changing the way politics is conducted in this country. We also attended Yearly Kos and spoke to bloggers and worked with people that are trying to change politics. The fact is the intnernet is brining democracy back to our politics by making information, access quick and convenient. It also enables candidates to draw support in small amounts from larger numbers of people.

This is the reason we have been successful and why we have changed the way politics is done in Northwest, PA!

Shirley

Hello Mike:

I am impressed with your truly progressive values and would like to know which of our Democratic presidential candidates you support as the one nearest these values.

Thank you and good luck.
Shirley

Mike Waltner

By the way kudos to John and the work you have been doing in NW Pennsylvania developing the infrastructure to get the word out on what is going on Politics in NWPA. You have set the bar very high.

I know for a fact that you have the respect of folks throughout the country for work here.

John Morgan

Thanks Mike, we try.

Bill Douglas

Have you received any endorsements of note?

mike waltner

I was an Edwards supporter early on. Now I am trying to focus on representing this district, so I am publically staying out of it. I do have a personal preference, but I keep that to myself.

I have supporters from both Clinton and Obama camps, even on my own staff. I will support fully whoever gets the nomination, but I am not trying to coat-tail my bid for congress to the pres candidates.

John Morgan

You mean aside from mine???? LOL

John Morgan

What is your plan for providing constituent services in this District? This is always a critical part of any elected official's efforts and this is a far flung District.

Mike Waltner

I have received some endorsements and expect some more to fall our way.

I have received the endorsement of the Butler local UAW 3303 as well as the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals a state wide union of more than 5,000 members.

I have also received some endorsements from key elected officals throughout the district. Keep on the look out for more information as it is released.

I am thankful for the support that we are receiving from these individuals and groups.

John Morgan

The presidential campaign has, so far, ignored NW Pennsylvania and Erie. Are you endeavoring to get both of them there soon?

mike waltner

I think it is important to make sure that we have open and accesible offices throughout the district. I plan on having an office in hermitage which I know is important to those folks because they had an office closed out there.

Access is very important to me. I will always work to make sure that my presence if felt in the district and that my constituents know that their representative is connected to them.

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