PA-05: McCracken for Congress — Weekly Update — August 10, 2008

Drill Here, Drill Now — But What Are The Oil Companies Planning?

Nationally, Drill Here, Drill Now seems to be the only issue where Republicans are gaining any traction with voters during 2008.  For those who don’t know, Drill Here, Drill Now started on the website  A couple of mouse clicks on the American Solutions website will take you to a screen with friendly welcome from none other than former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.  

Based on where this started, skeptics can easily surmise that Drill Here, Drill Now is nothing more than a political ploy to distract voters from real issues of the 2008 election.  There are many questions about what the oil companies will do if Drill Here, Drill Now actually brings policy changes in Washington.  Do oil companies really want to Drill Here, Drill Now and put more oil on the open market, causing oil prices to go down thus decreasing their record profits?  Could the oil companies and the politicians that are friendly with them have other motives in mind beyond providing less expensive gas at the pumps?

Realize this, there is nothing about Drill Here, Drill Now that will mandate oil companies to start drilling to put more oil on the market.  In fact, all that President Bush and those supporting Drill Here, Drill Now will do is lift long standing moratoriums that have been placed on offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).  Once the moratoriums are lifted, oil companies can start acquiring leases that will allow them to drill in areas that have been off limits, but not mandate them to do so.  In fact, under our market driven economy, the oil companies can, and likely will, sit on the leases until prices are higher and they can make bigger profits.

People throughout the 5th District have been asking where I stand on Drill Here, Drill Now.  My answer is this: I can support drilling domestic oil reserves if it is needed to stabilize the price of oil for consumers in the United States or if conditions around the world would cause a shortage in oil supplies.  However, if we are going to make leases available for the oil reserves offshore or in ANWR, the leases must have language to mandate that oil companies actually put the oil on the market for consumers in the United States.  I also believe we must address the issue of the 68 million acres oil companies currently have available for domestic drilling but have yet to tap.  If we need to Drill Here, Drill Now, then it must be done to benefit the people by providing affordable gas and heating oil not as a way to make larger profits for the oil companies.

However, Drill Here, Drill Now remains a short term solution at best.  I still believe the only long term solution is a real national energy policy that will invest in domestically produced alternative fuel solutions.  

Sad News Out of Clarion County — Sealy Closing Strattanville Plant

I was very sorry to read in the Tri-County Sunday that Sealy Corporation has decided to close their plant in Strattanville, Clarion County.  The plant, which has been in operation since 1981, will leave 114 workers without jobs when the plant ceases operations in late October.  Sadly, this is the hard truth of how the failing national economy can hit close to home.  We’ll keep the 114 people affected by the closing of the Sealy plant and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

The Week In Review:

This week we attended fairs in Clinton, Elk, Jefferson (Sykesville), Warren and Venango counties and met with the Sierra Club in State College.  We also paid a visit and met with some people at the Centre County HQ on Thursday.  Kelly, Amanda and I missed today’s Potter / Cameron County Democratic Picnic because the location was changed from the Austin Dam Memorial Park to a location in Coudersport.  I had the event on my schedule since May at the original location.  We did make a stop in Emporium for lunch.

Warren County Fair

At the Warren County Fair

Venango County Fair

At the Venango County 4H Fair

Schedule for the Week:

Monday: McKean County Fair — 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Wednesday: Emporium / Cameron County — Attending Hilliard for Senate Event — 6:00 PM

Thursday: Bud George Day Picnic — Clearfield County — 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM

  NOTE – Governor Ed Rendell and Auditor General Jack Wagner to attend.

Friday: McCracken for Congress Fundraiser — DuBois Lions Club Sky Lodge  6 PM

  Tickets are available for $20 – Please email  

Saturday: Car Show — Cameron County early afternoon — McKean County Fair evening.


Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.  We will continue to travel this district and greet as many people as possible.  Don’t forget to pick up your campaign materials. They can be found on our campaign website.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate For Congress


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page

PA-05: McCracken for Congress — Progress Report — June 2nd, 2008

The upcoming week is going to be a busy week of listening and learning.  I have 3 important meetings to attend that will give me the chance to discuss important issues in the north central region.

On Monday June 2nd, I am scheduled to meet with Kirk Johnson to discuss issues surrounding the Allegheny National Forest.  Mr. Johnson is the founder of Friends of Allegheny Wilderness and he contacted me several weeks back to request a meeting to discuss the future of the Allegheny National Forest.  I have been a supporter of the PA Wilds tourism promotion initiative and I recognize that the Allegheny National Forest is large attraction for tourism in the PA Wilds region.  I look forward to speaking with Mr. Johnson and learning more details about the ANF.

On Wednesday, June 4th, I will be meeting at the Clearfield Hospital with members of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania to discuss the important issue of healthcare.  While comprehensive healthcare reform has been discussed for almost 20 years, the federal government has been consistent on only one front – the failure to enact meaningful legislation to solve the problem.  The meeting with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania will be very valuable to learn what their association feels will be necessary to help achieve healthcare reform.

On Friday June 6th and Saturday June 7th I will be in Harrisburg attending the Democratic State Committee Meeting.  I look forward to meeting with county chairs, state committee members and other people from the 5th congressional district that will be in attendance at the meeting.  

A quick update on events from the past week.  Kelly, Amanda and I visited Centre County on Monday to attend the Memorial Day celebration in Boalsburg.  While it was a humid day, many people were out enjoying the festivities.  

On Wednesday, I traveled to Reynoldsville to attend the monthly meeting of the Jefferson County Democratic Committee.  

On Thursday, I traveled to Wellsboro, Tioga County to attend a fundraiser for PA Senate candidate Don Hilliard and later, the monthly meeting of the Tioga County Democratic Committee.  

Finally, yesterday Kelly and I made a trip to Lock Haven in Clinton County to attend a fundraiser for State Senator John Wozniak.  While at Senator Wozniak’s event, Kelly and I spent some time speaking with Rick and Marie Vilello.  After the event was over, at Rick and Marie’s urging, Kelly and I took some time visit the riverfront area and walk along the levee.  Throughout the primary campaign I listened to Mayor Rick speak with such pride about his community of Lock Haven.  After our visit today, I can see why Rick is so proud and excited about his town.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate For Congress


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page

PA-05: McCracken for Congress — Progress Report — 4/28/08

The last 4 months have been exciting and rewarding to travel around the 5th district campaigning.  I’ve learned a lot about the district, the people and myself in the process.  It all came to a climax on Tuesday, April 22nd as the voters in the 5th district went to the polls to select who would be the 2 remaining candidates to continue on to the November 4th general election.

From a personal standpoint, I learned that in politics, the best thing you can do is plan your strategy and stay the course.  You have to be honest with the people, explain where you stand on the issues important to the people you want to represent and trust their instincts when they go to the polls.

As Kelly, Amanda and I watched the election returns on Tuesday evening I couldn’t help but wonder if I had done enough to get our message out to the voters in the 5th district.  Kelly was nervous and Amanda’s only concern was “Is daddy winning?”  At the end of the evening, just after 11:00 PM, both of the area TV stations called the election in our favor.  A short time later, both of my opponents called to offer their congratulations and I gave them both thanks for the positive, clean campaigns they both ran.  

Waking up on Wednesday, I have to admit I was still overwhelmed by results from the night before.  The day found many people calling and stopping in the office to offer congratulations.  In the evening, I traveled to Reynoldsville for the monthly meeting of the Jefferson County Democratic Committee.  It was fitting that I was making my first appearance as the Democratic nominee for 5th district at the same meeting I attended as my first event as an official candidate back in January.  

Of course, the reality is that for everything we accomplished on Tuesday, the real work began on Wednesday morning.  It is going to be busy between now and November 4th.  I’ll continue to keep everyone updated on how the campaign is going.  If you know of any events that we should be attending, please email the campaign and let us know.  Also, if you have any ideas to help reach out to the voters please forward them to the campaign.  

I’ll conclude with this.  Most of the media interviews I had on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning all asked “Can you win this seat in November?”  After about the fifth or sixth time I got the question, I finally responded “We can and we will.

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate For Congress


This diary is cross-posted at McCracken’s campaign blog, PA’s Blue Fifth

Mark McCracken for Congress

ActBlue page

McCracken for Congress – PA 05 Update

Mark B. McCracken, Democratic candidate for PA’s 5th District, addressed the Jefferson County Democratic Committee last night. He discussed a major issue facing the 5th District: fiscal responsibility. He specifically addressed the upcoming stimulus plan.

His points were that while it may seem that the government is handing out free money, most Americans will use this money to pay down debt, not go on massive shopping sprees. He questioned where the money was coming from and how it would affect the massive debt the government is carrying. He stressed that simply printing money isn’t the solution and will only deepen the hole.

Mark also connected this issue with our Middle East strategy, or lack thereof. He points out that we have now spent 3/4 of a TRILLION dollars on this war ($750,000,000,000). Yet we still find ways to give tax breaks to the rich and subsidies to the oil industry. People of the 5th District end up paying $100+ per barrel in oil and over $3.00 at the pump to give money to a business enjoying record profits.

On an additional note, Mark McCracken continues to rack up endorsements from elected officials. Keith Bierly, a former four term Centre County Commissioner, supports McCracken and states “Mark is making decisions every day that affect the lives of our citizens. He knows the people and the issues and realizes that health care, job opportunities, and alternative sources of energy are the three most important issues facing the citizens of this district.

Jeff Pisarcik, a current Jefferson County Commissioner, adds “I’m supporting Mark McCracken for Congressman of the 5th District because I believe that these positions should be earned and not given to people because of their name or because they have money and buy their position. Mark is a sitting commissioner in his second term and in the past has sat on other important boards. He is the only qualified person for the job. Mark understands what the 5th District needs and understands the aches and pains on those living in the 5th District because he lives with it everyday in his job.”