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Allen Kukovich

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BackgroundEdit

  • D, of Westmoreland County
  • former PA Senator
  • works for Gov. Rendell to cover Western PA after Bob O'Connor departed that role.
One the nicest liberals. His loss in 2004 had many Dems scratching their heads.

Allen's Re-Election Campaign Kickoff SpeechEdit

Below is the text from the speech Allen Kukovich made at his re-election campaign kickoff.

I know many of you know this, but, not only am I lucky to have a supportive spouse, but aren't we lucky to have the best United Way Director in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania serving us right here in Westmoreland County. Let me introduce my wife, Nancy.

It was my hope that my dad would be here to share this moment with me. He has always been my biggest supporter. However, he has been hospitalized. I will let you know how he is doing as more information becomes available

And, if you remember, Ali was barely a year old when I first announced my candidacy for the State Senate in 1995. She is now 9 years old, an excellent student, and a soccer player in the Penn-Trafford School District. I’m sure Nancy doesn’t mind me saying this, but she is the person who I have the most fun with and brightens every day of my life. Our daughter…Ali.

I also want to acknowledge members of my staff who do a tremendous job of communicating with constituents. In an average month, they deal with over 750 calls, e-mails, and letters. Over 70% of those, result in direct assistance from the staff. Bobby Battistel is one of those great success stories. Thank you Bobby for being here for my announcement.

Thank you all for coming….

Everyone, who knows me well, knows how much I love Westmoreland County. It's where my family roots are, and it is where to this day that I feel most comfortable. I grew up in Manor, and. as a matter of fact, I still live on the same tract of land on which I grew up. It's a piece of property that goes back to my great-grandfather. That makes Ali the 5th generation in the family to live there.

Like many communities throughout Westmoreland County, it was safe, the country and landscapes were beautiful, and there were lots of open spaces. People who mirrored the character and values of this region surrounded me. They cherished family, friends, the community, and traditions. A person's word was as good as gold, and trust was a part of the basic fabric of society.

No doubt, a person returning to Westmoreland County after years of absence would notice great changes in the structural landscape of the region. Most of those physical changes are good and are marks of progress. They would still find tight-knit communities, people who value open spaces, patchwork farmland, and rolling hills that go on as far as the eye can see.

They would also find that we have people who maintain the best values of past generations. The values that I am talking about have provided me with a firm foundation for my years of public service. My word is good; you can trust me; I stand firm on principles; and I keep my promises.

I can back those statements up by referring to my record as a public servant. For example, in 1989, I said that children from lower income working families, who couldn't afford insurance, should not be without health care. I promised that I would press that issue until every child that needed health insurance would have it. After years of fighting for what was right, the Children's Health Insurance Program was passed into law. My word was good; I kept my promise. Since that program was started, a total of 15,000 children from Westmoreland County have been enrolled in that program, and over 500,000 children statewide. Furthermore, that program became a model for the entire nation. SHERRY DONATO - thank you for sharing YOUR story with us.

Here is another example of what I am talking about. When the steel mills shut down and families were receiving mortgage foreclosure notices, I said, "Let’s give these people a chance to get back on their feet." MY PROPOSAL became known as HEMAP, Homeowners Emergency Assistance Program. Since it was passed into law, 1200 families in Westmoreland County alone were able to save their homes and eventually were able to return to making payments on their mortgages. Once again, my word was good; I kept my promise.

Ten years ago, I introduced legislation to provide a permanent source of funding for volunteer fire departments. I thought it was wrong to have volunteer fire departments be placed in a position where their access to state assistance was mostly through WAM grants. I insisted that there had to be a better system. Representative Tom Tangretti agreed with me, and, finally in 1998, we were successful in having direct grant money included in the State budget. Today, every fire department in the state is eligible for a grant. My word was good, and I kept my promise to leaders like Greensburg Fire Chief Ed Hutchinson. Ed, thank you for coming here. It meant a great deal to me.

Just a few months ago, a great accomplishment came from Harrisburg. We all know how devastating the cost of prescription drugs can be for seniors. Four years ago, I said that I wouldn't give- up until we added more seniors to the PACE program. As co-chair of the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth, I (along with Senator Orie) led a bi-partisan effort to press for expansion of the program. When that mission was accomplished, I was invited to the Governor's bill signing ceremony at which he said, "unanimous approval of this expansion would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of Senators Allen Kukovich and Jane Orie."

I welcome Margaret Dropik here as a new PACE recipient. Thank you for coming from Mt. Pleasant to share this day with me. Incidentally, the expanded PACE-PACENET program will add over 115,000 seniors to that program. Since passage, I -- along with my staff -- have traveled to many senior citizens to help seniors sign-up for the program. I am told that over 700 have done so already in the county.

Whether it’s expansion of the PACE program or laws initiated by me, like the Attendant Care Act, a law that makes it possible for Alzheimer patients to stay with their families instead of going to nursing homes, seniors know my word is good and I will be there for them. Families also know that I am there for them, whether it is for my initiative like the Children's Trust Fund, which provides added protection for children in abuse cases ... or for my initiative that led to a program to clean-up water supplies called PENNVEST.

Clearly our work to improve the quality of life has just begun. I now want to share with you my vision on how to build on our accomplishments.

First, we need property tax reform, and we need it now. I would like to see those legislators, who are holding up the vote on property tax reductions and further complicating it with other issues, to allow the General Assembly to vote on it before the end of June. I am dedicated to bringing about passage of such legislation.

I would like to see the public become more knowledgeable about the great work that is being done in our schools in Westmoreland County. Too often we fail to appreciate what is being accomplished and the dedication to young people that exists in the school systems.

Furthermore, I would also like to see the State of Pennsylvania, along with members of the education community, stand up to the federal government and tell them that there are parts of the "No Child Left Behind" that make no sense.

Second, every day more citizens of Pennsylvania realize that removing old slag dumps, improving sewage and water systems, stopping acid mine runoff, cleaning up waterways, and protecting open spaces are among the most productive approaches that we can take to encourage economic growth. I am encouraged to see a Governor who realizes that these quality of life issues lead to jobs and can stop the flow of young people away from Pennsylvania. I will do everything in my power to further this realization because there is no glory in being ranked 47th among the states in growth during the 1990's. We can and will do better.

Third, I would like to see increased investments in Westmoreland County and the state. Those investments must be tied to economic growth, job growth, and quality of life issues. We need to create more jobs, good paying jobs, and we need to work with Governor Rendell to make that happen. The first step is to ask the voters to approve a bond issue that would provide funds for the state to invest in manufacturing, to invest in brownfield sites, to invest in downtowns, and to invest in start-up businesses.

As far as what we have accomplished in the past year by working with the Governor Rendell, first, we secured nearly $8.5 million in grants and loans for community projects and our fire departments. Second, $185 million has gone to water and sewage project through out the county. Third, major state grants have been matched by businesses such as Sony and the Mt. Pleasant Glass Centre to promote economic development. I am also proud of the fact that I played a key role in securing $6 million in federal money for first responders, that is, our fire fighters and emergency personal. (HUTCHINSON) I can say with confidence that further grants will be announced within the year.

In conclusion, I return to my original thoughts about Westmoreland County. It is a wonderful place to live and to raise a family. The people who recently moved here realize that in a short period of time.

There is something special about the land and the people of Westmoreland County.

As we seek progress and ways to improve the quality of life in this region, we rely on our character and the values I talked about earlier. We are about family, community, trust, integrity and accomplishment. I/we are so close to have a chance to accomplish so much to improve our quality of life -- not only for ourselves -- but for our children and for our children's future. That is why I decided to run for re-election, and that is why I am here asking for your support. Thank you.

Accomplishments (as no issue page was available)Edit

Listed below is a summary of Allen's accomplishments during his political career. It clear that Allen takes a proactive role in creating and shaping legislation that 'Makes a Difference' for all of us.

Good GovernmentEdit

  • Repeatedly introduced legislation to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania legislature.
  • Initiated a change to House Rules to prohibit certain conflicts of interest by lawyers/legislators.
  • Fought for the first true Ethics Act, which demands full financial disclosure by elected officials.
  • Consistently opposes legislative pay raises. Since 1988, Allen's share has provided over $30,000 in scholarships to area students.

Champion for ChildrenEdit

  • Created the Children's Trust Fund, which has assisted hundreds of community organizations help prevent child abuse.
  • Driving force behind the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -- now a national program that provides health care benefits to children of working families.
  • Led the successful fight to mandate insurance coverage of children's immunizations.

Consumers' RightsEdit

  • Fights for 1993 Plain Language Act, which abolishes 'small print' and requires that contracts be easy to read.
  • Against overwhelming odds, blocked the centralized emissions testing program.

Helping Pennsylvania's FamiliesEdit

  • Won national acclaim for his innovative mortgage assistance program that has saved more than 16,000 families from the devastating effects of home mortgage foreclosure.
  • Created the Family Caregiver Act, one of a kind in the country, which each year assists more than 6,000 families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Created the Attendant Care Act that enables persons with disabilities to live independently.

Quality of Life for SeniorsEdit

  • Saves seniors over $10 million every year through the sponsorship and passage of Medicare Overcharge Measures (MOM).
  • Aggressively pursued the first reform of the stagnant guardianship system in forty years by creating Guardianship Reform measures that protect our senior citizens from abuse.
  • Prime sponsor of eight bills that increase health security for all Pennsylvanians including the Health Insurance Bill of Rights and the Managed Care Bill of Rights.

Building Safe CommunitiesEdit

  • Shaped the proposal that became the PennVest program, a plan that has generated millions of dollars, through sale of bonds, for the rebuilding of Pennsylvania's water delivery and sewage systems.
  • Led a bipartisan group to forge more than 30 bills to fight drug abuse.

A Stronger EconomyEdit

  • Played a lead role in creating the PennPRIDE program to restore the economy in the wake of the recession in 1984.
  • Brought home over $43 million dollars in loans and grant since 1997.

Aid to Volunteer Fire FightersEdit

  • Introduced legislation to provide grants to volunteer fire companies in place of the more costly and less efficient WAM system.
  • Recognized statewide, including being cited in "The Pennsylvania Fireman" magazine for his efforts on behalf of volunteer fire companies.

Standing Up for WorkersEdit

  • Strongly opposed legislation passed in 1993 that slashed workers' compensation benefits.
  • In 1995-96, cosponsored and supported legislation to increase the minimum wage, to restore workers' compensation benefits, to promote job safety and health, and to encourage job creation.

Advocate for Public EducationEdit

  • Strongly opposes the school voucher plan.
  • In the 1995-96 budget, worked toward maintaining and increasing the state funding for Westmoreland County public school districts, vocational-technical schools, and community colleges.

Local Tax FairnessEdit

  • Co-sponsored the Homestead Tax Credit Bill that exempts from property taxes a certain amount of the value of residential property thus lowering taxes for all homeowners.
  • Currently working with local school districts on a program to reduce property taxes for senior citizens who contribute their time and talent to school districts.

2004 Newsroom Articles & DateEdit

  • $5 Million for Saint Vincent College Fred Rogers Center October 26, 2004
  • Allen Hosts Pittsburgh Football Party October 03, 2004
  • Allen Attends Gun Bash October 03, 2004
  • Team Kukovich Does Derry Railroad Days Parade September 25, 2004
  • Allen Joins Mt. Pleasant Glass Festival Parade September 25, 2004
  • Allen Supports Memory Walk for Alzheimer's September 25, 2004
  • Allen and Team Kukovich Participate in Fun-Filled West Newton Community Festival September 11, 2004
  • Newsletter from Your State Senator, Allen Kukovich September 09, 2004
  • Senator Kukovich: Amtrak Cuts are Wrong Way to Stimulate Economy September 07, 2004
  • Allen and Team Kukovich Visit the Labor United Rally September 06, 2004
  • Kukovich Outlines Energy Strategy to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil September 01, 2004
  • Kukovich Presents Check to New Alexandria September 01, 2004
  • Team Kukovich has Voter Registration Drives at Local Universities August 27, 2004
  • Governor Rendell, Secretary Yablonsky Present $8.25 Million for Westmoreland County *Community, Economic-Development Projects August 16, 2004
  • Young Democrats Work the Rolling Rock Town Fair July 31, 2004
  • Kerry-Edwards Campaign Stops in Greensburg July 31, 2004
  • Allen Visits the Westmoreland County Rib n' Wing Fest July 17, 2004
  • Rendell to Sign More Reasonable Construction Code Law July 06, 2004
  • Senator Kukovich Hails Passage of New PA Budget July 04, 2004
  • Allen Visits Irwin's Ethnic Festival June 19, 2004
  • Allen Installs Drywall for Habitat for Humanity June 19, 2004
  • Senator Kukovich Holds Construction Code Forum June 17, 2004
  • Allen Helps Deliver Meals with the Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging June 15, 2004
  • Allen and Governor Rendell Lead Latrobe's 150th Birthday Parade June 12, 2004
  • Kukovich, Westmoreland County Delegation Issue Statement Opposing Full Implementation of New Building Code May 11, 2004
  • Kukovich Presents Rendell Proclamation Designating May as "Protect Our Children From Tobacco *Smoke Pollution" Month April 30, 2004
  • Kukovich and Tangretti Join Rendell for Check Presentation Supporting Seton Hill University *Center for the Arts April 20, 2004
  • Kukovich Announces PENNVEST Funds for Westmoreland March 24, 2004
  • Senator Allen Kukovich Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign March 15, 2004
  • Kukovich Proposal Would Slow Outsourcing-Related Job Losses March 10, 2004
  • Senators Act to Prevent Congressional Gerrymandering January 26, 2004

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