Progressive in Trump Country: Pa’s Cartwright sticks to his guns | Wednesday Morning Coffee

June 19, 2019 7:04 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

We don’t often have the occasion to write about U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of northeastern Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District. 

That’s not really a conscious omission. There’s certainly no attempt on our part to ignore him or overlook what  we’re sure is the very important work he’s doing on behalf of his constituents.

It’s just that, after the low-key Cartwright’s comfortable defeat of Republican John Chrin in 2018, the Moosic lawmaker became (for us, anyway) sort of the progressive equivalent of a pair of Crocs: Reliable, not that glamorous, but always sure to be there in a pinch.

Like, if you needed to labor in the vineyard, or something.

And sure enough, even with Republican forces gunning for his seat (again) in 2020, that’s exactly what Cartwright, 57, has been doing: Reliably laboring in the progressive vineyards.

As  our friends at Roll Call reportCartwright has voted with his caucus 99.3 percent of the time in 2019, and shown no inclination to move to the middle in some Trump-friendly territory in Pennsylvania.

As Roll Call notes, Cartwright’s seat, which includes Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, was reshaped in last year’s court-ordered congressional redistricting. About half the voters in the rejiggered 8th District were new to Cartwright as he geared up to run for his fourth term last year.

Voters in Cartwright’s old seat went for President Donald Trump by 10 percentage points in 2016. So you’d think that might have served as a warning shot for the northeastern Democrat as 2020 draws ever nearer as some of his 30-odd Trump district colleagues have done this year, Roll  Call reported.

In an email blast to political reporters, the GOP-friendly Congressional Leadership Fund seized on the Roll Call report, warning that Cartwright was “under fire again” (though we aren’t sure quite how or from whom), and was “touting (sic) the liberal party line in Washington and refused to even consider voting like his constituents.

“Not a great headline for one of the country’s most vulnerable members of Congress!” the CLF breathlessly noted.

Count on this showing up in the first round of anti-Cartwright campaign ads.

And the second. And third. And fourth.

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso
 has an insanely useful explainer on the budget-enabling “Code Bills” and why they might be the fly in the ointment this budget season.

Got humor? Caruso’s story about a Congressional push to get whole and 1 percent milk back on school menus will do your body good.

Elizabeth Hardison has the details on an important Senate committee vote on a bill updating Pennsylvania’s teacher evaluation system.

On our Commentary Page, frequent correspondents Mike Young and Terry Madonna muse aloud on the Democratic presidential debates. And Rob Altenburg at PennFuture says reliable funding, not regulatory reform, is the key to a healthy and vigorous DEP.

Image via Flickr Commons 

‘Hundreds’ of sexual and harassment claims filed by state employees have cost the taxpayers $1.9 millionThe Inquirer reports.
panel of environmentalists meeting in Pittsburgh discussed ways to pin down the causes of childhood cancers, The Post-Gazette reports.
PennLive has the latest on legislation to open up the Pennsylvania primaries to non-party voters.
A state House panel has advanced legislation authorizing the sale and demolition of Allentown State Hospital, The Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day.

Philly DA Larry Krasner says it’s not his fault that there’s been an uptick of violence in the City of Brotherly Love, WHYY-FM reports.
Taxpayers pay $100M a year for technical parole violations, The PA Post reports.
A Philly property management company has given some homeless city residents free apartments for a year, BillyPenn reports. 
It’s Juneteenth, which is officially a state holiday in Pennsylvania. The Incline has your guide on how to celebrate it. explains why Illinois residents are fleeing the Land of Lincoln.
President Donald Trump went to Orlando on Tuesday for an epic airing of the grievances … err … we mean to kick off his 2020 re-election campaign. Politico has the story.

What Goes On.
The House and Senate both gavel in at 11 a.m.
Meanwhile …
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: Rep. Jake Wheatley has an event with something called the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities, which might not be the same as the People’s Popular Front of Judea or the Judean People’s Popular Front (thank you ‘Life of Brian.’). But you can never tell.
11 a.m., Main Rotunda: PennEnvironment renewable energy rally
3:15 p.m., Main Rotunda: Reps. Sue Helm and Steve Kinsey on Gov. Tom Wolf signing a Juneteenth Holiday into law.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 heads to the Hotel Hershey for a 9:30 a.m. event touting the state’s workforce development efforts this year.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Rep. Jordan Harris
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Andy Dinniman
11:30 a.m.: Reception for Rep. Carol Hill-Evans
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a mere $8,000 today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to KDKA-AM radio dude Robert Mangino, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day, sir.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one by rapper Vic Mensa that’s an absolute scorcher, and absolutely on point for where we are as a nation right now: It’s “Camp America.”

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
 got clobbered by Oakland 16-2 on Tuesday night. Ugh.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.