Two interesting essays — they pretty much say the same thing. Take out the word “Democrat” in the one essay and you could switch the names on the essays without making much of a difference. Where they part are not major deal-stoppers. Both essays read as coming from sincere, concerned individuals.
The one advantage Joe Flood has is his experience on Doylestown Borough Council, where he was outnumbered by Democrats but functioned well.
Ullman may be applauded for speaking directly to an extraction tax upon natural gas drillers, which Flood and his fellow Republicans will likely never seriously consider. This, however, is the only mention of new revenues to offset her proposed enhancements.
Flood was more general in his response and told us things that make us feel good but scant mention of how things could actually happen. We’ve had a Republican-dominated Legislature for so long and it has received high levels of scorn over its lack of substantial achievements. Flood’s response struck us as mirroring much of the Republican philosophy that has led us to where we are. The positive side is that Flood has placed stress on fiscal discipline in governance. The question remains where and how this discipline will be applied.
Both being freshmen in the Legislature, they will necessarily bow to the will of their leadership. Both would bring a new face to representation in the 143rd.
With Ullman, we liked the specifics on the infrastructure plan. Flood’s essay left us with more questions than answers, on fiscal discipline, protecting school kids and reducing overhead in education funding.
Both candidates support an independent commission to address gerrymandering, although that solution is more likely if the House obtains more Democratic representatives, since the GOP House leadership has shown its stripes. The two are similar on pension reform (both seem to favor the compromise that was recently adopted) and gun control (though Flood did not include an assault weapons ban in his list of favored measures).
Flood did not endorse an extraction tax — a common partisan Republican reticence that contributes to our fiscal woes and results from the patronage provided to GOP politicians by the fossil fuel industry. He also cites the tired GOP taxophobia mantra.
Ullman’s background as a community college educator is a positive. If there is one thing this state needs to do above all else, it is to strengthen community college vocational education programs and work to enhance their prestige.
WE RECOMMEND: WENDY ULLMAN
Contributing editorial board members include: Alan Gaudio, Dr. Marion Mass, Dick Sakulich as well as Executive Editor Shane Fitzgerald and input from the Bucks County Courier Times editorial board members.