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D, 45, Bucks County, 215-766-1924, candidate for US Senate in 2006 primary. Lost to Bob Casey.
MAKING EVERY VOTE COUNT:Edit
Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. We must act now to protect each citizen's right to have his or her vote counted accurately. Since the fiasco of the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida many states have instituted electronic voting systems but without proper safeguards these new systems could be more flawed than those that they replaced. The 2004 presidential election in Ohio raised new concerns about the reliability and fairness of the electoral process. The integrity of our democracy can be protected only by setting strict standards and procedures to ensure that all votes are counted as intended by their voters.
To protect individual voting rights, every precinct should retain a paper record of each voter's intent. The record should be on paper to guard against tampering. Paper records, while not foolproof, are significantly safer than electronic records, which can be easily and invisibly altered by error or fraud. To be sure that the voters' intents are correctly recorded, each voter must have an opportunity to see the paper record and correct it if necessary before leaving the voting booth.
Routine random audits of precinct-level election results are also necessary to strengthen confidence that all votes are counted correctly. Immediately after the official election results have been reported, a fixed percentage (at least 5%) of the precincts in each county should hold hand recounts of the voter-verified paper records. In case of a discrepancy with machine counts, the official results shall reflect the hand count of the paper records.
In particular, I support passage of US Senate Bill 330. Further, I will introduce and push a U.S. Senate counterpart to U.S. House Resolution 550.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM:Edit
The Pennacchio for Pennsylvania campaign is committed to creating a new political culture in Pennsylvania and America; a culture where the will and power of our citizens are lifted up above the monied interests that corrupt American politics. A Senator’s job is to represent all the people. Truly meaningful campaign finance reform must reflect a good faith effort to return the political system of Pennsylvania and the nation to its citizens.
Chuck is committed to fixing the ways in which we finance and run political campaigns at all levels. McCain-Feingold, and similar reform attempts, have been well intentioned, but have proven ineffective and, in some respects, counter-productive to the goal of a political system that reflects the interests and desires of our citizens.
Chuck supports the public financing of all campaigns for Federal office. By providing public financing, chances greatly improve that the views and votes of our elected officials are uncorrupted by concern over who will write the next big fundraising check for them. We can end the sad reality of “government for sale” which pervades our politics.
In the meantime, it is essential that we undertake efforts to encourage more small-dollar donors to participate in funding campaigns, so that candidates no longer need be so dependent on large donations by wealthy individuals and Political Action Committees. Chuck supports legislation to make donations to candidates for President, and the Senate and House in your home state and district, tax deductible, up to $100 per candidate per cycle. Legislation of this type promotes more Americans taking ownership in the campaigns of their legislators (and their opponents), while encouraging legislators to take more seriously their constituents’ best interests.
The irresponsible and selfish fiscal policy espoused by the Bush Administration and Rick Santorum (R-PA) have put our government into debt; their recklessness has created a birth tax of $36,000 on every child born in the United States. The regressive and irresponsible tax cuts for their elite friends have turned the record surplus left by Bill Clinton into a record deficit that Bush and Santorum intend to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The results of greed and mismanagement are not the legacy Americans want to leave for the future of this country.
Chuck will be a voice of responsibility in the Senate. He will oppose the Bush-Santorum’s war on working people and work to bring our budget back into balance. By spending more wisely and following a prudent, common-sense corporate and individual taxation policy, we can grow the economy and cut the deficit. Leaving this debt hanging over the heads of our children would be a rejection of the values that we Americans hold sacred.
PROMOTING DEMOCRACY AT HOME:Edit
Chuck believes strongly that our political system must be returned to you, the people. Sadly, much of the influence has shifted from people to monied interests, which can and do subvert the political system to suit their needs. When government and politics become a matter of who can raise the most money, rather than a contest of ideas, values, and vision, the people lose. By organizing from the grassroots level we, the people, can take our system back. When people mobilize, they can beat back the influence of money and begin to retake our democracy.
Marshall McLuhan once wrote, “The medium is the message.” For Pennacchio for Pennsylvania, the campaign is the message. Pennacchio for Pennsylvania is committed to proving that everyday people can retake our political system and our government from elite and powerful interest groups and lobbyists. This need to unlink politics from the corrupting influence of money is more important than “left” or “right,” more important than “liberal” or “conservative,” more important than money itself, more important than any other issue. It is nothing less than the reclaiming of our American democracy.
Chuck believes that education is the primary means of ensuring opportunity for every American. When our education system fails to live up to its potential, it comes at a very high cost, in terms of resources, opportunities, and democracy. Education must be strengthened at all levels. Funding for early childhood education programs like Head Start must be increased, as investment programs such as this provide the foundation for all education.
No Child Left Behind has crippled school districts and students with federal regulations, and saddled them with “one-size-fits-all” standards that don’t fit all. Accountability is important, and Chuck supports holding schools, teachers and students accountable for their performance. But we cannot be so foolish as to hold a poor school district without the resources to handle non-traditional or special needs students to the same standards as a wealthy district, without providing the resources to poor districts to meet the standards. Standards without appropriate resources widen, rather than lessen the achievement gap. No Child Left Behind is bad policy to begin with; by their refusal to fully fund it, the Bush Administration has only intensified the negative impacts of the legislation.
Every qualified student who desires higher education, whether in a college or a trade school setting, should have access to it. The Bush administration’s attacks on Pell grants and Perkins loans programs have stolen the dream of upward advancement from millions of young Americans. Chuck will demand that funding for these high-return programs be increased.
We must use our education funding wisely, and dedicate it to improving our schools. Voucher programs take needed money out of the schools that need it the most, and give it to well-heeled public, private, and parochial schools. Vouchers are an attempt to avoid the problem of failing schools. We must take the initiative and fix the problem instead.
To protect our environment, our economy, and our national security, we have to change our priorities. We are a petroleum dependent society facing a rapid reduction in petroleum availability. The result will be fuel scarcity and escalating prices, not just for travel, but for goods and services. Petroleum dependence has the potential to destabilize our economy. We can’t continue to depend on cars to get us everywhere.
A critical piece of the solution to our problems is public transportation, and in particular, rebuilding our derelict rail and light rail systems. It currently takes 7½ hours to travel by train between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. A modern bullet train could make the journey in about two. Absence of rail transport forces us to use cars, which burn far too much fuel, or fly, with flights becoming costlier and less frequent every day. Trains are cleaner and more fuel efficient than auto-mobiles and airplanes. They emit fewer volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide than cars and planes, and fewer nitrous oxides than cars. Per ton-mile, studies show that a freight train uses between one-third and one-ninth as much fuel as trucks. Trains can move a ton of freight (or passengers) 410 miles on a gallon of diesel. While trucks will always be needed for local delivery, for transport across long distances, we must start moving to rail.
In addition to its other benefits, rebuilding our rail system will provide work for years to come, help to revive Pennsylvania’s steel industry, alleviate city and highway traffic congestion, reduce accidents, and increase the speed of freight delivery. And if we reduce the need to import fuel from other countries, we can increase our national security by disengaging ourselves from regimes with poor human rights practices that give rise to terrorism.
Finally, we must develop renewable fuel sources, such as wind, bio-diesel, solar, and hydro-electric. Conserving energy will alleviate the pressure to destroy our environment for short-term gain, for example the push to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. Exploitation of ANWR for oil is wrongheaded and shortsighted. The oil it would provide, as a percentage of our needs, is negligible, while the damage it would cause to one of the world’s great untouched wildernesses is substantial and permanent. The tradeoff does not make sense, and the benefits are not worth the costs.
Protecting and maintaining our environment must be a priority; a clean and unpolluted America is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Environmental protection is an American value, a value that not only makes our nation cleaner and healthier, but also creates new jobs and economic opportunity. There are many who attempt to paint environmental concern and conservation as anti-business; this is fundamentally false. Chuck knows that as we develop cleaner, “greener” industries and energy sources, a world of new economic opportunities will follow. Chuck will work to promote environmentally friendly industries and energy sources.
The Bush Administration and Rick Santorum (R-PA) often stand against positive environmental policy; Orwellian proposals like “Healthy Forests” and “Clean Skies” have allowed clear cutting and increased air pollution in exchange for economic benefit for their elitist donors in the timber, fossil fuels and manufacturing industries. Chuck believes that environmental protection should come before the bottom-line of Senator Santorum’s campaign donors.
The push to exploit the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) for oil is wrongheaded and shortsighted. The oil it would provide, as a percentage of our needs, is negligible, while the damage it would cause to one of the world’s great untouched wildernesses is substantial and permanent. The tradeoff does not make sense, and the benefits are not worth the costs.
For too long we have been separated and divided by artificial lines of race, religion, class, gender and sexual orientation. The politics of division is a troubling proposition for a country founded upon the creed, “all men are created equal.”
The issue of equal rights is fundamental for all Americans. Since women’s suffrage and the end of racial segregation we have prided ourselves on our concepts of freedom and liberty. Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten unconscious in Alabama while marching for equal rights said, “I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color to not stand up for discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
When Americans struggle against the natural tide of equal rights for all Americans, they are defending a history of discrimination that has persisted since the birth of our nation. Similarly, when the radical right attempts to write bigotry into our U.S. Constitution they reflect that same dark impulse to deny equality to a class of citizens.
The gay community has been exempted from the concept of equal justice under law by a system of apartheid that creates two classes of citizens based on sexual orientation. Every American who works hard, pays taxes, and plays by the rules deserves the same benefits and protections the rest of us are afforded. The right to visit a loved one in the hospital and peace of mind that comes with shared tax, health, and inheritance benefits are rights all Americans should enjoy, regardless of sexual orientation.
Same gender unions in no way pose a credible threat to the sanctity of marriage. The national divorce rate is 49%, and the only place where same gender marriage is legal, Massachusetts, has the lowest divorce rate in the country. Also, Vermont’s civil union law has been a particular success, and a boost for that state’s economy.
The issue of equal rights extends beyond Republican attempts to divide us on the single question of gay marriage. As a moral authority in the world, our country must take the lead on curing the scourge of global AIDS. We must also participate in a rational discussion to determine appropriate responses to hate crimes at the state and federal levels. Ensuring a freedom from fear of prejudice is a goal that should unite us; creating an artificial fear of our neighbors is a Republican tool used to divide us.
GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTION:Edit
Irresponsible gun policy is a plague on our nation. In 2000 alone, 3395 of our young people (19 and under) died by gunfire. That’s more than the total number of Americans lost in Iraq; more than the number who died on 9/11. Firearms deaths of children 15 and younger are 12 times greater in the US than in the other 25 industrialized nations combined. The annual cost of gun violence in the US approaches $100 billion. While responsible gun owners are entitled to keep and use guns for legitimate purposes, including hunting, sports, collecting, and self-defense, the phrase “tough on crime” is a mockery if you refuse to take weapons out of the hands of criminals. Therefore, I support the following legislation.
Renewal of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Act: The Assault Weapons Act, which stemmed criminal access to military-style semiautomatic firearms, has been allowed to expire by the Republican Congress. The Act reduced the number of crimes committed with assault weapons by an astonishing 66%. That’s 60,000 crimes prevented during the decade when the Act was in force. The vast majority of Americans, over 75%, support the Assault Weapons Act, including 64% of those in households that keep guns. George Bush promised to renew the Act. He broke that promise.
Closing loopholes: It is currently legal for individuals on the nation’s terrorist watch list to purchase guns. An audit by the FBI reveals that 47 suspected terrorists have bought guns. In 2005, the FBI recommended that gun sales to these individuals be barred. The Republican Congress has refused to act. They have also failed to close loopholes that allow sales without background checks at gun shows and on the internet, and others that permit child access. Background checks work: in the six years after the Brady Bill went into effect, checking stopped more than 600,000 felons and other prohibited purchasers from buying handguns. We should close the gun show and internet loopholes; keep assault weapons out of the hands of juveniles; and guns of all kinds out of the hands of suspected terrorists and unsupervised children.
One-a-month handgun limit: Pennsylvania is a hub for the illegal firearms trade. Straw purchasers legally acquire as many handguns as they like, then sell them to criminals. A one-handgun-a-month limit cuts off that trade. After Virginia enacted a one-a-month law, its share of guns recovered from crimes in the Northeast fell from 54% to 16%. One-a-month affects sales of handguns only, and does not interfere with hunting, sports, or self-defense. It is a proven roadblock to criminal traffic in handguns, and I support a federal law in order to curb interstate gunrunning.
Local control: When states have “shall issue” laws allowing anyone to carry concealed weapons, firearms homicides increase. Pennsylvania has one of the most indiscriminate CCW (concealed carry permit) laws in the nation. It requires no safety training, and forces local police to issue a CCW license to anyone not convicted of a felony. In 2005, there were 380 murders in Philadelphia, 82% of them committed with handguns. Where guns are a special problem, local government and police should be able to limit concealed weapons licensing for reasonable cause.
Good health is fundamental to a successful, productive and happy life. Yet tens of millions of us – 16 percent! – lack insurance for basic health services, treatment of disease and preventive care. Those who do have insurance are subject to rising premiums and deductibles, and attempts by insurers to contain cost by restricting treatment and denying benefits. In this great and wealthy nation, 18,000 die each year just because they lack health insurance. In addition, soaring health insurance premiums place a hidden tax on employers, weakening our nation’s economy. With so many talented health care professionals, high quality medical institutions, and economic resources, America has the capacity to expand coverage, improve care, and contain medical costs and insurance premiums. But our nation’s health care crisis demands bold solutions that ensure affordable health care for every American.
I will fight for Universal Health Care. As both a moral and economic imperative, every American must have access to high quality basic care. Years of “safety net” programs have not eliminated the uninsured; in fact, more people lose employer-based coverage each year. It’s time for an American-style single-payer health insurance system. We can get better health outcomes for less money with universal health care and administrative simplification. Our talented, creative and caring medical professionals should be free to treat patients; they should not have to struggle with duplicative paperwork. Savings and waste reduction from a single payer system will make payments to hospitals and caregivers fair and reliable, and will make fraud easier to spot.
As with Medicare, the federal government must provide the framework and funding, while state governments administer the program tailored to the needs of their populations. Patients’ must also have the right to privacy, choice of provider, and treatment decisions in consultation with their physicians. Under our current system, we pay far more per person for health care than other nations. Insurance plans that spread cost across a single risk pool are fairer, easier to administer and less expensive.
Good health is more than treatment of injury and disease. Prevention and early detection improve the quality of life for all, stop or slow epidemics and avoid unnecessary expense and suffering. It’s far cheaper to pay for a visit to the doctor and an antibiotic, than a week spent in the hospital with pneumonia, which is what we do now.
Finally, the Medicare prescription drug law must be changed to allow price negotiation. Nearly half of our states negotiate discount savings on prescription drugs. Other countries pay far less than we do for the same medications. It was morally and economically wrong to create 470+ new for-profit “plans” at the expense of seniors and taxpayers. Until the law is changed, we must allow re-importation of drugs from other countries.
Immigration is a vital part of our nation’s history; it is critical to our long term survival. But illegal immigration has created insecurity at every level. An estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants work in the United States in unsafe conditions for poverty-level wages. This black market in low-cost labor depresses wages for American citizens and has contributed to the stagnation of median family income in the US over the past two decades.
We need immigration reform that 1) secures our borders by promoting viable economies for our neighbors; 2) treats immigrants with respect and creates realistic opportunities for them to gain legal status; and 3) improves working conditions and living standards for low-income workers both inside and outside the US.
The flip side of illegal immigration is employers who illegally exploit undocumented immigrants as a source of cheap labor. This must end. As we bring immigrant laborers to legal status, we should enact legislation that affords both immigrants and American citizens a living wage. Employers are not entitled to subsidize their profits with illegal labor, or with poverty wages that force workers to rely on public subsidies. If we want to subsidize businesses, we should do it up front. Right now these costs are falling on local communities, whose tax bases are already overburdened.
Finally, walls don’t stop illegal immigration; viable economies do. We need to insist on worker health and safety standards, environmental standards, and locally adjusted living wage provisions in our international trade agreements. This will reduce pressure to emigrate by helping the native economies of our neighboring countries to stabilize and prosper. Wage and safety standards will also level the playing field between American employers and foreign competitors, who gain unfair advantage by underpaying their employees.
THE IRAQ WAR:Edit
By choosing to go to war in Iraq in a reckless and deceptive manner, George Bush promoted the concepts of “nation-building” and liberation before the War on Terror. In doing so, this administration has opened a Pandora’s Box of dangers upon America and the world.
In advocating and pursuing a policy of “pre-emptive war,” the Bush-Santorum team has created a geopolitical climate with the real potential to bring about new and grave international conflicts. We have set a critical precedent which if followed by the rest of the world, could lead to wars between China and Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea, and India and Pakistan, to list a few of many. Any or every one of these limited conflicts would become a full-scale war, and likely trigger American involvement. The precedent we have set must be renounced, and America must return to a sane and effective foreign policy.
The Bush administration took America into war with Iraq through misleading and deceptive means. Congress abrogated its Constitutional duty by giving President Bush the authority to send troops into Iraq without a formal declaration of war. Chuck will stand up and demand that our Constitution, which states that “only Congress shall declare war,” be followed. He would not have voted for the Iraq War resolution, nor would he have voted for a congressional declaration of war.
Chuck believes that we must work to rebuild our alliances throughout the world in order to salvage good out of a campaign that has, heretofore, been disastrously mismanaged. We must engage the Arab and Muslim world and our traditional allies in Europe and Asia and encourage them to take a leadership role in the stabilization of Iraq. We must develop a timeline and exit strategy that brings American troops home as soon as is feasible. We must balance the desire to protect our troops with the unfortunate reality that leaving without a stabilization strategy in place will send the nation of Iraq spiraling into civil war and chaos.
In 1968, the federal minimum wage was 86% of the poverty level; today, it is just 64%. As a result, 1 in 5 American children lives in poverty. Last year, 1 in 10 Pennsylvania households experienced food insecurity. 1.38 million Pennsylvanians have no health insurance. The majority of these citizens work, or are part of working families. Their families are forced to rely on food stamps and public assistance to compensate for inadequate wages. When employers pay substandard wages they are, in effect, creating an unauthorized public subsidy for their businesses, and increasing pressure on limited public resources.
Business interests have predicted disaster every time the minimum wage was raised. It has never happened. Legislators' wages are cost-adjusted; government benefits are cost-adjusted; CEO compensation is cost-adjusted. If it is not inflationary to cost adjust these wages, why is it inflationary to cost adjust minimum wage? The answer is, it isn't. Studies show that where living wage ordinances have been enacted, affected prices either mirrored, or declined against national inflation rates.
Living Wages, More Jobs: A 2004 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found no evidence of job loss or negative effect to small businesses from rises in minimum wage, and concluded that employment results were actually better in states that had minimum wage rates above the federal standard. Raising the minimum wage improves local economies. It increases the buying power of workers who spend in their communities, and removes them as a drag on the economy. Cost-adjusting minimum wage prevents cyclical increases in poverty as wages fall behind the cost of living, and consequently prevents damage to communities. That's why 130 cities and counties across America have enacted living wage laws.
Other candidates have proposed marginal increases to the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, increases which will not even return wages to 1968 levels. Working families in Pennsylvania deserve far more. They deserve a living wage and I will fight to make it happen. I will go the distance to ensure that impoverished workers and their families have the same economic opportunity enjoyed by the 75% of Americans who receive a wage above the official poverty line of $19,300 for a family of four. I am the only candidate in this race to refuse corporate and special interest PAC dollars, so I'm the only one who is free to stand with working Americans, and those 130 cities and counties that have shown the way.
Since 1935 Social Security has served the American ideal that the most vulnerable among us shall not fall into poverty; it has ensured that millions of Americans were able to retire with dignity, or survive the economic loss caused by disability or death of a spouse or parent. Government and politics should focus more on helping those who need it than on enriching the corporate elite, and a commitment to a strong guaranteed Social Security system is the best help we can provide for all Americans.
Chuck rejects the Bush Administration’s baseless view of an impending crisis for Social Security. The only crisis jeopardizing Social Security is the Bush-Santorum plan to dismantle it. Social Security, if left untouched, will remain completely, one hundred percent solvent for at least the next 38 years. It is incumbent on all politicians, and all Americans, to fight to ensure that our Social Security system remains a strong and solvent guarantee to all Americans, well into the future.
Social Security is a guarantee, a hedge against an uncertain future. It ensures a reasonable standard of living not only for older Americans, but also for those with physical handicaps, widows and widowers, and children who have lost a parent. The Rick Santorum led assault on Social Security is not just an attack on our Seniors, it is an attack on all Americans. Chuck will proudly and vigorously resist this attack.
Rather than dismantle and destroy Social Security, we propose to strengthen it, to ensure its solvency even past current projections. Chuck opposes cutting benefits or raising the retirement age to do this, and will fight any attempts to take away the benefits from those who are entitled to them. We can far better ensure the long term solvency of Social Security through a culture of fiscal sanity and responsibility.
TRADE AND OUTSOURCING:Edit
Chuck believes that free trade is only beneficial if the trading nations are on a level playing field in terms of wages, labor and environmental standards. Too many of our multi-lateral trade agreements and proposals, such as NAFTA and the soon-to-be-considered CAFTA, undermine the concept of fair trade. Chuck advocates replacing large, multi-lateral agreements with more limited, bi-lateral agreements developed and determined on a nation-by-nation basis.
By actively and freely trading with those nations which do not share America’s commitment to human rights, fair wages, safe working conditions, and environmental standards, the United States enables those governments to exploit of their people and the environment. By pursuing fair trade policies with nations that protect the rights of workers and the environment, we encourage other nations to improve their own working conditions and environmental protection.
Chuck does not believe that the extension of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Communist China serves any purpose other than to enrich American corporations that exploit Chinese labor while giving away American jobs. He will stand up against PNTR with China. Chuck believes it is vital that we protect our industries from unfair competitors, especially those that seek higher profits through slave labor, environmental destruction, and illegal currency manipulations. Withdrawing from PNTR will help force Communist China into making necessary reforms.
“Job outsourcing” has taken a terrible toll on millions of American workers and families. Bush Administration policy actively promotes American job losses by creating a system of tax savings and loopholes for companies that shift operations overseas. Chuck will help fix the tax system and create incentives for corporations to expand their workforces in the United States.
Real support for the troops comes with action, not empty slogans. The men and women who serve in our military do not do so in anticipation of getting rich; they sacrifice to protect the very liberties and freedoms this country was built upon. In turn, this country owes them a reasonable standard of living both while they serve, and after they are honorably discharged from their commitment. As veterans complete fulfillment of their duty, the government is also duty-bound to honor those who have served.
Unfortunately, the President and the Congress have failed to fulfill promises made to those who protect our nation. The President’s 2006 Federal Budget makes a mockery of the slogan “support the troops.” Under the proposed budget, hundreds of thousands of veterans would be forced to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the “privilege” of using government health care, and pay more than double the prescription drug co-pay for veterans. This comes at a time when VA hospitals and clinics are already seeing increased waiting lists, even for veterans returning home from Iraq.
The Bush-Santorum Administration quote nominal percentage increases in funding for veterans benefits. However, because of our nation’s unnecessary war in Iraq and poor planning by the Administration, there are many more veterans in need of care than there were two years ago. In fact, a 2002 VA study showed that 150,000 veterans waited six months or more for a primary care appointment; Iraq has only worsened the crisis.
Perhaps most insultingly, widows of fallen troops are taxed on the death benefits they receive; that is the real “death tax.” The Bush-Santorum Administration fights to make sure that inheritances left behind by the wealthiest among us aren’t taxed, and that billionaires aren’t taxed on stock dividends. Meanwhile, they gladly tax the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice as their loved ones are lost on a battlefield, thousands of miles away from home.
For those who return home, physically or mentally scarred from the horrors of modern warfare, the outlook is also bleak. In fact, the Republican Party has declared war on our veterans. Veterans hospitals are being closed across the country, beds are disappearing, yet the number of bodies waiting to fill them increase daily.
Democrats have fought to end this national disgrace. Over the vigorous objection from a Republican Congress that fights to keep the issue from coming to the floor, we rally behind the banner of “mandatory funding” for veterans health care. Mandatory funding ensures the delivery of cost effective and timely care to each and every eligible veteran.
When a man or women dies while serving in the defense of democracy at home, that serviceman or woman should go with peace in the belief that the nation will take care of the loved ones they leave behind. Medical care to a surviving spouse and children along with a living income must be guaranteed. For those who do not return, our nation is morally bound to support the surviving kin.
Chuck strongly believes that promoting equal rights and opportunities for women is far more than sound public policy. It is a moral imperative to ensure that all Americans are treated fairly and equally under the law, and to ensure this, he supports passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. While the Constitution does protect and grant rights to all women and men, it is important in an era of conservative “activist judges” and erosion of civil rights, to place the guarantee of equality under the law in the Constitution. It is a concept too important to risk being limited by “judicial activism.”
Chuck believes that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. He believes that a woman’s right to have control over her own reproductive choice is inviolate, and as our Senator, he will stand up to protect this fundamental Constitutional guarantee. While people of good conscience disagree on the propriety of abortions, it is the right of a woman to determine whether abortion is appropriate or not. It cannot be left to legislators, many of who claim to support a “culture of life,” then frequently vote against funding pre-natal, post-natal, nutritional and health care for mothers and their children.
The best way to prevent abortions is to support policies that promote a society in which there are fewer unwanted pregnancies. By pulling people out of poverty, providing opportunity for all, and ensuring quality healthcare and education, America will create a stronger “pro-life” culture, where unwanted pregnancies and abortions are rare, indeed.
In an effort to harass and terrorize women and their medical providers, Rick Santorum has fought to defeat the Schumer Amendment. This amendment prevents anti-choice activists found guilty of crimes against doctors who provide abortions and the women they serve from using the bankruptcy courts to evade their judgment. Chuck strongly supports the Schumer Amendment as a method to ensure that women will be able to deal with their physicians without fear of harassment or physical harm.
Every working man and woman deserves a living wage. Chuck supports increasing the minimum wage and expanding eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit for working people. Just as important as a living wage is, so to is a safe work environment. Chuck opposes the Bush administration’s attempts to weaken OSHA regulations and pass anti-worker-safety legislation. Chuck is also committed to protecting overtime pay for working people, and will stand up to the Bush administration’s new rules, which steal overtime pay from up to 6 million working men and women.
As a labor organizer and former business owner dedicated to workplace equity and fairness, Chuck will staunchly oppose all Bush-Santorum efforts to destroy the balance between workers’ and owners’ rights. The Bush Administration and Rick Santorum (R-PA) have consistently opposed the right of the labor movement to organize and promote the welfare of workers. They have pushed such legislation under the deceptive title of “right-to-work” legislation. Such legislation makes unionization difficult or impossible in many private industries, and inhibits the rights of workers to protect themselves through collective action. This more appropriately named “right-to-exploit” undercuts the rights of workers.
- D primary candidate in 2006 running for US Senator from PA vs. Bob Casey.
- professor of history. History Program Director at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
- with wife, Nancy, a son, Ben, and daughter Sophia.
- Ph.D. from University of Colorado in Boulder in diplomatic history.
Democratic State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. and pension lawyer Alan Sandals were opponents. Casey gained the early support of many Pennsylvania Democratic party insiders, such as Governor Ed Rendell. Casey was asked to run by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and others within the national Democratic Party leadership. Pennacchio ran an "outsider" campaign needing more to grassroots activists.
Pennacchio describes himself as a progressive Democrat, comparable to the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN). He uses this to contrast his views with the more conservative social views held by Bob Casey. He hopes this will allow him to garner broad support in what he sees as the party's authentic base and win the Democratic primary.
A notable example of this strategy can be seen with the abortion issue. Bob Casey is pro-life and against stem cell research expansion while Dr. Pennacchio holds pro-choice views that are more in step with the feelings associated with most Democratic activists and politicians. As such, Pennacchio is attempting to tap into dissatisfaction with Casey that is felt by many in the pro-choice community. Another example is that Pennacchio opposed the war in Iraq and favors an exit strategy, while Casey says he would have voted for the war and opposes any timetable for US troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Political experience Edit
Prior to his decision to enter the senate race, Dr. Pennacchio worked on numerous other political campaigns. In 1984, he served as the statewide field organizer for then-Congressman Tom Harkin's successful campaign for Iowa's U.S. senate seat. Two years later, he served as a deputy campaign manager, helping to elect Tim Wirth to Colorado's vacant senate seat.
During the 1988 presidential election, Dr. Pennacchio was once again a statewide field organizer in Iowa, this time working for Illinois Senator Paul Simon's presidential campaign. Simon, who started his campaign in last place in most opinion polls, eventually finished the Iowa caucus with an incredibly close second-place finish.
Despite some inaccurate reports, Pennacchio never worked for Dennis Kucinich's '04 Presidential campaign. However, Pennacchio was a volunteer for Kerry / Edwards Presidential campaign in Pennsylvania.
In addition to his extensive campaign experience, Dr. Pennacchio was also a staffer to two different members of Congress, Congressman Ron Dellums and Senator Alan Cranston, both of California. From 1981 to 1982, he was a military case worker for Congressman Dellums and, later in 1982, served as personal aide to Senator Cranston.
MEET CHUCK Edit
Dr. Chuck Pennacchio is a proud Pennsylvanian, born in Delaware County in 1959. He lives in rural Bucks County with his wife of 14 years, Nancy, and their two children.
A Ph.D. in American, European and Diplomatic History, Chuck is Director of the History Program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He teaches courses in American History, National Security Studies and Politics and the Media. He serves on the board of The Tabor Children's House, is a member of Plumsteadville Grange #1734 and has coached youth athletics since he was 16. He participates at his childrenâ€™s elementary school and teaches 3rd and 4th graders at Buxmont Unitarian Church.
Chuck is an expert in international diplomacy, served as Personal Aide to US Senator Alan Cranston and as Military Personnel Advocate for Congressman Ron Dellums, organized winning campaigns for Senators Tom Harkin, Tim Wirth and Paul Simon. Unlike his competitors for Pennsylvania's 2006 Senate race, Chuck knows how to win tough races and fight successfully for all Pennsylvanians as your United States Senator.
As an expert in American History and Politics, Chuck knows what makes an effective United States Senator: being informed about foreign policy, national defense and homeland security; considering all Senate business in a larger historical and constitutional context. Chuckâ€™s understanding of our nationâ€™s history and our Constitution is sorely needed in Washington now.
For years, Chuck has taken on tough political challenges--often against long odds--and won time and again. As a statewide field organizer in 1984, Chuck helped Senator Harkin (D-IA) win his first election against a radical-right incumbent. As Deputy Campaign Manager for Tim Wirth's long-shot 1986 U.S. Senate victory in Colorado, Chuck directed all operations, including an historic grassroots field effort, to defeat another hard-right Republican. Following the Wirth victory, Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) hired Chuck to run his 1988 Iowa-Illinois field campaigns. Simon won the Illinois primary in a landslide.
Chuckâ€™s experience goes well beyond the classroom and the campaign trail. From 1980-1981, as a Military Case Worker for Congressman Ron Dellums (D-CA), Chuck battled the Pentagon's bureaucracy and, repeatedly, won on behalf of our men and women in uniform--most of whom were aggrieved women and minorities. As a Personal Aide to Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) in 1982, Chuck learned first-hand precisely how the United States Senate functions. Though only 22-years-old at the time, Chuck carried forth responsibilities that gave him more contact with a United States Senator than any other staff position on Capitol Hill.
Chuck's strong work ethic, and his dedication to serve others, is also displayed in many of his other activities from age 11 on. Among other experiences, Chuck delivered newspapers (Philadelphia Inquirer), worked in restaurants, retirement villages, and an industrial factory; he organized fellow teachers and researchers to achieve health benefits and budget-cut protections while in graduate school; he co-founded an autonomous student government, crafted a constitution and by-laws, and then presided over the University of Colorado's United Government of Graduate Students; and he co-owned and ran his own business for nine (9) years.
Every six years, the Democratic Party seeks the perfect Senate candidate - a combination of name recognition, ideology and fundraising skill. In 44 years this formula has produced 14 consecutive full-term election defeats. Chuckâ€™s winning background and determination to fight for all Pennsylvanians make him the only credible Democrat to break that losing streak. Chuck knows how to win United States Senate races.
Chuck believes that defeating Rick Santorum is a top priority for 2006, but to win requires a sharp contrast to Santorum's right wing agenda. Chuck says that his "clear and unwavering positions, grassroots organization skills, and winning track record give us the best chance to win. We will get the Democratic Party and the country weâ€™re willing to work for. Help us revive our state, our party and our country."