Outside the world of Chris Matthews, national polls and the Electoral College tally, control of the next session of Congress hangs in the balance of several hotly contested races across the country.
While most of the campus is enthralled in the epic battle of right versus left and Bush versus anybody, we are missing one of the few and genuinely interesting Congressional races in the region’s history, which is playing out in our own backyard.
The campaign between Republican Melissa Brown and Democrat Allyson Schwartz in the 13th District is picking up steam as it heads into the final weeks of the election season.
The district, which encompasses large sections of both Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County, is home to thousands of Temple University students who must now decide between the two female candidates before Election Day.
While the race has received little press coming out of the long summer months, both campaigns have increased their presence, as well as their attacks, in recent weeks. But while both women cast their records and policy stances as being moderate, just taking a glance at facts portrays an entirely different picture.
The 14-year senate record of Allyson Schwartz, who only a few months ago moved within the district boundaries, should send up red flags to any reasonably minded citizen.
Among her distinguished accomplishments are writing an amendment to destroy Megan’s Law by allowing convicted sex offenders to move into neighborhoods without requiring notification, voting to block judges from denying bail to suspected rapists, voting against mandatory jail time for repeat drunk drivers, voting against increases in special education funding, voting against a sweeping medical malpractice tort reform bill, and voting against reducing Philadelphia’s city wage tax.
In addition, Schwartz has recently moved toward supporting the death penalty for terrorists, but not for cop killers. She was rebuked for her comments by local newspapers, pointing out her inconsistencies and all-too-often stance on the wrong side of most issues.
Her opponent, Melissa Brown, established her name in 2002 by running a close, but unsuccessful campaign against outgoing Congressman Joe Hoeffel. And while Brown lacks the legislative record of Schwartz, her stances on the pertinent issues of this election make her far more qualified to lead the district.
Her experience as a nurse-turned-surgeon is a big reason behind her push for much needed and long overdue medical malpractice reform, as well as broadening the research coupled with adult stem cells.
Additionally, the police and fire departments of Philadelphia have endorsed her, citing her continued fight to bring more federal funds to recoup the losses suffered by continuous cuts made by City Hall.
Brown also supports reducing the city’s wage tax to encourage job creation and favorable living conditions throughout the city.
Defending such a liberal record against Brown is proving to be an uphill battle for Schwartz. Her campaign has responded to criticisms by pointing out that her opponent, Dr. Melissa Brown, ran unsuccessfully against the Hoeffel and won two “Sleazy Awards” from a columnist who writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer; not exactly slam-dunk arguments.
The choice for voters in the 13th District comes down to the philosophy of both candidates. The ultra liberal stances of Schwartz are simply out of touch with the moderately minded district. Melissa Brown is the right fit for the Northeast and Montgomery County.
Brian Reimels can be reached at email@example.com.