Five vie to be Dems’ choice for Pa. lieutenant governor

     Mike Stack, a Philadelphia state senator since 2001 and a candidate for Lt. Governor (Image via SenatorStack.com)

    Mike Stack, a Philadelphia state senator since 2001 and a candidate for Lt. Governor (Image via SenatorStack.com)

    One of the benefits of the relative anonymity of the lieutenant governor slot, is that all five Democratic candidates have different ideas of what the position should entail.

    The Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania sit fairly high on the ballot, right below those of the candidates for governor.

    But for all the attention they get, one would think they’re at the bottom of the ticket.

    One of the benefits of the relative anonymity of the lieutenant governor slot, is that all five Democratic candidates have different ideas of what the position should entail.

    Take Brandon Neuman, a Washington County state House member of three years. He sees it as a sort of governor-in-waiting position – you do take over if the governor is incapacitated.

    “The things I’ve done in a bipartisan fashion can only help in a situation where I need to step in as governor,” Neuman said.

    But the job has actual duties, besides just serving as substitute governor.

    Candidate Brad Koplinski, a Harrisburg city councilman, gets amped about chairing the Local Government Advisory Commission.

    “Nobody’s ever heard of it, nobody knows what it does, but I want to turn it into the conduit to build a better relationship with our municipalities.,” Koplinski explained.

    Mark Smith, a second-term Bradford County commissioner serving in Marcellus Shale country, envisions helping to balance environmental issues with natural gas industry development.

    “Being the No. 1 drilled-in county in the state, we’ve got a lot of issues, the positives and the negatives,” he said.

    Mark Critz, a former congressman from Johnstown, sees the job in tactical terms: a way to boost western support for whoever wins the Democratic nomination for governor, since all the candidates are from the eastern half of the state.

    “From western Pennsylvania, I can help bring out the vote to help a Democrat win in November, and that has to be our focus and our goal,” he said.

    “To Mike Stack, a Philadelphia state senator since 2001, it’s all about not being someone’s lackey.

    “A lieutenant governor should stand up for everything that they believe in, and I don’t really believe that your No. 1 mission is to carry out the agenda of the governor,” Stack said.

    The winner in the Tuesday Democratic primary will face sitting Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley in the fall.

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