Gov. Wolf joins candidates at Ann’s Choice event Friday
Chris Ullery | Oct. 6, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf joined other candidates for state and federal office Friday evening at a nonpartisan event at Ann’s Choice retirement community in Warminster.
With just a month left before Election Day, the candidates up and down the ballot put aside party politics Friday night to answer constituents questions at a nonpartisan event in Warminster.
Gov. Tom Wolf, favored in his own reelection bid against the GOP’s Scott Wagner, made the trip to Ann’s Choice retirement community along with candidates and campaign representatives for races from the state’s House of Representatives to the U.S. Congress.
Wolf said his visit Friday followed the group’s multiple invites over the past few years. Wagner was invited Friday, but could not attend, organizers said.
“I’ve been asked for a number of years, and I wanted to make sure I came out,” Wolf said Friday.
Wolf arrived shortly before 8 p.m., coming from an event in Montgomery County, and was met by a long line of residents before reaching his campaign’s table in the large event room.
“There was a general theme, an interest in good government,” Wolf said shortly before leaving the event at about 8:30.
“I think people like the idea that I’ve been in politics now for a total of three years and eight months, they like the idea of a citizen politician than a career politician.”
Wolf added the topics from residents included senior access to home health care, particularly the Community HealthChoices program currently being phased-in regionally across the state over three years.
“I think we learned a lot of good things from doing this in (western Pennsylvania), but we can always learn things,” Wolf said.
Wolf added the program to provide greater access to in-home healthcare services began enrolling southeastern Pennsylvanian’s in January, and central Pennsylvania enrollment begins in 2019.
Friday’s event was not a focus on a single candidate, however, and the room Friday was constantly in motion as residents talked to candidates from races affecting multiple levels of government in Warminster’s 14th voting precinct.
Republican Meghan Schroeder and Democrat Andrew Dixon, candidates for the state House 29th District, said education funding and water quality were among the most important topics concerning residents Friday.
Schroeder said she was committed to continuing efforts of state Rep. Bernie O’Neill to hold the federal government accountable for the recent contamination linked to the use of firefighting foams at nearby military bases.
“I want to meet with engineers, I want to be meeting with people that are experts in the field (on water contamination) and making sure we’re not doing a quick-fix,” Schroeder said.
Dixon said the residents bringing up health and education concerns reflected the main concerns of many district voters.
“Pennsylvania is 48th in the country in terms of drinking water quality, and we’re 47th in the country in terms of education funding … this is not what people expect in a state like this,” Dixon said.
In the hotly contested and closely watched race for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and Democratic challenger Scott Wallace also came to meet with residents.
Shortly after the event began at 7 p.m., both candidates were in a near constant conversation with a revolving line of constituents.
As the residents began dispersing and the event was coming to a close, Fitzpatrick recounted the myriad topics the seniors brought up.
Social Security, drinking water and education were among them, but Fitzpatrick said the community had a number of comments on national security, energy policy and other topics.
“They bring all the local issues, all the state issues, all the federal issues,” Fitzpatrick said.
Wallace was unavailable for comment Friday, leaving Ann’s Choice to attend another similar event in Bucks County.
He said Saturday, the residents “overwhelmingly” brought up social security, Medicaid and “the soul of the country” under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
“I’m appalled the Republicans gave $2 trillion in tax cuts and the now they want to cut (Medicaid and social security) … to pay for them,” Wallace said. He added the Ann’s Choice residents raised concerns over program funding along side his family’s history with social reform programs.
Wallace’s grandfather, Henry A. Wallace, was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented a series of social reform programs during the Great Depression, known as The New Deal. Henry Wallace served as agriculture secretary until 1941, when he became Roosevelt’s vice president until 1945.
“It gives me a kick when people say, ‘I remember your grandfather and The New Deal.’,” Wallace said Saturday.