News & Brews September 26, 2022

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Slim chances for debate in governor’s race

PennLive reports that while “Pennsylvania voters apparently have a U.S. Senate debate to look forward to … the prospects are bleak for any debate in the governor’s race with candidates at odds over moderators.” At issue is that Republican nominee Doug Mastriano refuses to participate in a debate moderated by a member of the mainstream media. Indeed, the story adds, “For the first time in recent memory, it appears unlikely there will be a governor debate hosted by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry after Mastriano rejected having longtime ABC27 reporter Dennis Owens moderate the Oct. 3 event.” Mastriano offered Democrat Josh Shapiro a debate moderated by a conservative commentator of Mastriano’s choosing, but Shapiro rejected the offer.

Oz releases medical records

On Friday, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz released his health records, noting that “voters should have full transparency when it comes to the health status of candidates running for office.” In response, Democrat John Fetterman attacked Oz for having a doctor in New York City. And so the campaigning continues.

Shapiro’s ‘low-key style’ is outlier in statewide races this year

The AP notes, “In one of the most politically competitive states in the U.S., the Democratic contender for governor is waging a notably drama-free campaign, betting that a relatively under the radar approach will resonate with voters exhausted by a deeply charged political environment.” The story paints this as a contrast to Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano and both U.S. Senate candidates.

Op-Ed: ‘Political attacks won’t help Lancaster County students’

Republican Senators Scott Martin and Ryan Aument, both of Lancaster County, penned a pointed piece in the LNP, responding to an error-ridden opinion piece attacking their stance on education and setting the record straight on how they are fighting to improve educational options for all students, regardless of what type of school they attend. 

Venango county workers fight to decertify union

Here’s an interesting story out of Venango County, where workers at Latrobe Specialty Steel want to decertify their union, United Steelworkers. The Center Square reports that when union officials learned of the decertification effort, they signed a new contract (which the workers had rejected), which then triggered a “contract bar,” meaning workers are prevented from decertifying the union for three years. The workers are appealing to the NLRB.

SERS drops $3 billion in second quarter

The Inquirer reports that “[t]he drop in global stock and bond values has shaved about $3 billion off the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) during the second quarter….” The fund went from being worth about $38 billion to being worth about $34.5 billion. The drop underscores “the threat that such losses could keep SERS from reaching its yearly investment return target of 7%, potentially requiring an increase in its annual ’employer contribution’ from taxpayers — currently at $2 billion — to keep its $19 billion assets-to-liabilities deficit from getting bigger.”

Penn State spent lavishly, wants huge funding increase

Well, this doesn’t really inspire confidence. Spotlight PA reports that in the midst of a “budget crunch,” “Penn State’s Board of Trustees spent nearly $318,000 on its past six in-person meetings, covering the travel, lodging, food, and other expenses of attendees…. The 38-member board spent more than $155,500 on food and associated costs for the gatherings — an average of nearly $26,000 for each two-day event.” But not to worry, on Friday, the board voted unanimously to approve a request for a 48% increase—amounting to a $469.5 million hike—in state funding.

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