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Defeated Republican in the May 2006 primary.

LinksEdit

FOLMER STATEMENT ON BRIGHTBILL'S DIRTY TACTICSEdit

Source: Blog of opponent, Mike Folmer from Friday, May 12, 2006.

Senator Brightbill knows the voters are tired of him taking money from their wallets and pocketbooks to increase his own standard of living. They no longer want a Republican Senator who has voted for the four largest tax increases in state history, while also voting for massive pension and pay raise for himself. They no longer want a State Senator who holds the Constitution in contempt and explodes the size of government.

So what’s a powerful, tax-hiking, pay-raising politician to do when his campaign is on the ropes? Nothing short of running the dirtiest campaign in the history of Pennsylvania politics.

At the outset of this campaign I was very candid about personal mistakes I’ve made in my marriage, many years ago. I’ve long since asked for God’s forgiveness, as well as my wife’s and my family’s, and by God’s grace our marriage and our family is rock solid. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I’ve made penance with God and my family.

Mindful of my own mistakes, I pledged not to wage any personal attacks against Chip Brightbill. In the light of Chips recent personal attacks, many of my supporters have urged me to reply in kind. Politely and firmly, I have refused to do so…because this campaign shouldn’t be about the personal mistakes Chip Brightbill or I made 20 and 30 years ago. It’s about reforming state government, it’s about eliminating property taxes, it’s about reforming our legal system, it’s about getting government and lawyers off the backs of businesses and families, and its about restoring traditional values. It’s about treating voters and taxpayers as the people in charge of government and not a bunch of politicians in Harrisburg.

My campaign is very optimistic that the taxpayers will see right through Brightbill’s underhanded tactics, and that they will backfire.

We’re not going to back down one inch in the face of Brightbill’s personal attacks. My family and I are all the more inspired to fight hard right through till the election on May 16th.

Why Replace Billbright?Edit

Source: [1]

Senator Brightbill has held elective office in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for over 20 years and has been the Republican Senate Majority Leader for approximately the last five years. In addition, he is Chairman of the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee. Since last elected to the Senate in 2002, Senator Brightbill’s “major legislative accomplishments” and “Additional Legislative Highlights” resulting in actual legislation, both as listed in the Biography Section of his Web Site on January 9, 2006, list only one accomplishment: Act 21 of 2003. This Act established a procedure to help ensure that serious juvenile sex offenders are not released while they remain a danger to the community.

A more revealing summary of the Senator’s achievements, since last elected in 2002, is that Senator Brightbill has presided over a Republican majority in a Senate that (a) brought us the slot-gambling bill, (b) failed, to date, to bring any property tax relief except for the now discredited ACT 72, which Act is in the process of being substantially repealed, (c) failed to legislate any meaningful tort reform to help lower health-care costs, (d) brought us the now infamous pay-raise legislation (since repealed) and (e) is part of the Political Class of the most expensive state legislature in the Country.

In fact, it does not seem unfair to conclude that his crowning achievements in the years since he was elected Republican Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Rules Committee have been his active leadership participation in the vote in 2001 for a 50% increase in pension benefits for the entire General Assembly (including himself) and helping to engineer the circumvention of the Constitutional process for enacting several key and controversial pieces of legislation, including (1) the passage of the slots-gambling bill (of course, once out of his Rules Committee, or permitted by him without meaningful objection to bypass his Rules Committee, he could cast a vote against this Bill on the floor of the Senate, being confident that the Bill would pass) and (2) the pay raise legislation for the Political Class which included a 32% pay increase for himself (since repealed). Without question, Senator Brightbill is a consummate member of the Political Class and, as such, seems to be seriously out of touch with the average voter in his District. In addition, he has, deservedly or not, acquired the reputation of being arrogant and vindictive.

His actions leading up to and following the pay raise fiasco provide vivid and documented examples of his arrogance and lack of touch with the voters in his District. Not only did he engineer the 2:00 o’clock in the morning bill substitution and passage of the pay-raise legislation in the Senate, reportedly threatening other legislators if they did not vote in favor of the bill, he stonewalled the press for weeks refusing to disclose his intention to take the “unvouchered expense” monies, which monies he did take. He also is reported to have warned other legislators not to talk about the pay raises after it was clear that the raises had created a firestorm of protest. Further, he wrote a letter dated July 27, 2005 to certain of his constituents explaining why he voted for the pay raises. His explanation basically said that it was all Governor Rendell’s and Chief Justice Cappy’s fault and that his position as Majority Leader of the Senate “obliged” him to vote in favor of the raises. Most preposterously, he stated that: “no member of the General Assembly had sought a pay increase”. Lastly, he continues to tell his constituents that payment of the unvouchered expense monies was constitutional when he really knows or, as an attorney, should know better. He continues to tell his constituents that he accepts the $127 per day per diem allowance for each day that he drives from Mt. Gretna to the Capitol in Harrisburg, because he made a decision when first elected to the Senate to accept this money as part of his compensation package. As reported in an October 2005 article in The Lancaster New Era, Senator Brightbill took $8,090 of per diem payments and $5,301 of mileage reimbursements during the previous year. In addition, he is entitled to a partially tax-free automobile allowance of up to $7,800 per year; however, how this allowance may or may not have been utilized in combination with the mileage and per diem payments he is reported to have received, was not reported by The Lancaster New Era, because he did not respond to requests for further explanations regarding his expense reports.

Considering the totality of his actions over the pay raises, his belated apology, coming only after four months of outrage and the defeat of a Supreme Court Justice in the November elections, rings hollow and disingenuous. Even after the repeal of the pay raises, he was quoted in The Patriot-News as saying that he still felt that the legislators were worth the increased salaries. It also seems fair to conclude that he only said he would return the unvouchered expense money because of his belated recognition of the voters’ outrage over the raises, the fact that he is up for re-election in 2006 and that an internal poll taken on his behalf around the end of October 2005, was reported by The Lancaster New Era to have indicated an approval rating in his district of only 17%.

InsightsEdit

Rock The CapitalEdit

Brightbill 717-787-5708 Republican Lebanon Repaid $13,381

Senator David Brightbill returned $13,381 in a two-month period from December to January, according to the Senate record.

Senator Brightbill voted for the 2005 pay raise and accepted “unvouchered expenses.”

Senator Brightbill hopes to resolve the issue completely by returning the additional $11,288 he was paid since July, most likely by forfeiting his December Senate paycheck, and then taking another deduction in January, according to The Patriot-News of Harrisburg (Lancaster New Era, November 17, 2005).

“We are here to correct a mistake. As one of the people who exercised poor judgment, I would like to apologize,” as he introduced the repeal legislation on the Senate floor.

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