PA-05: McCracken for Congress — Weekly Update — August 17, 2008

Campaign Receiving Important Endorsements:

As we move into the fall campaign season, the McCracken for Congress campaign is receiving several important endorsements.   Earlier this month we were honored to receive the endorsement from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.   This is a key endorsement from an organization that is a leader in supporting the rights of the working people, not only in the 5th district, but in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

This week, we were notified by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, the political action committee of the National Education Association, of their decision to recommend the election of Mark B. McCracken to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional District 05 in Pennsylvania.   This endorsement carries a special meaning to me in light of my prior experience as a former member of a public school board.   I truly believe if our local public school systems receive the proper support from our federal government, we can have the finest education system in the world.   When I speak of support, I’m not only talking adequate financial support, I also believe that elected leaders at the federal, state and local level should be strong vocal advocates for our public schools.  

Throughout this campaign, I’ve stressed the need for a federal education policy that includes adequate funding while letting standards and policies to officials at the state and local levels.  As a person with 10 years experience serving on a local school board, I realize that parents, administrators, teachers and local leaders know what is best for their children.  Unnecessary mandates from the federal government in Washington only complicate matters.

Updates Coming to McCracken for Congress Webpage:

Later this week we will be unveiling some changes and updates to the McCracken for Congress webpage —  

The big change will be with the issues section.  As we’ve traveled throughout the 5th district meeting with people and discussing the issues and problems, we can now better define what the important issues are on the minds of the citizens in the district.  From my position as the candidate, I’ve spent the last 8 months listening and learning from the people that I hope to represent in the United States Congress.  While there are many of the issues I was already aware of as a county commissioner, there were issues I had to learn more about from the citizens of the 5th district.  

As we move into the next phase of the campaign, I want to give voters a better outline of the issues and problems they have discussed with me and provide them with specific ideas and solutions they can consider before making their decision on November 4th.

Keeping Up a Hectic Pace:

We were very busy again this week traveling throughout the 5th district meeting people and listening to their concerns.  

On Monday we spent the evening working in the Democratic booth at the McKean County Fair.  Tuesday took us to State College for meetings with campaign supporters.  Also on Tuesday, Victor Ordonez represented the campaign at an event near St. Marys with the Elk County Farm Bureau.  

McKean County Fair

Thursday was an important day in Clearfield County featuring a visit by Gov. Ed Rendell who announced several million dollars in funding for important projects in Clearfield County.   Funding announcements were made for the expansion of Paris Company in DuBois creating 40 new jobs, expansion of the Clearfield YMCA, a river walk project in Clearfield Borough and the state’s investment to rebuild several deficient bridges in Clearfield County.  

On Thursday evening the campaign headed to Janesville in southeastern Clearfield County to appear at the annual Bud George Day picnic.  It was a great honor be on the speaking program with Gov. Rendell, State Rep. Bud George, Auditor General Jack Wagner, candidate for Attorney General John Morganelli, candidate for Treasurer Rob McCord and fellow congressional candidate from the 9th district Tony Barr.  

On Friday, we were in the DuBois area for a fundraiser organized by Henry and Molly Guthrie.  We had a nice turnout for the event with special guests State Rep. Scott Conklin and State Rep. Dan Surra on hand.  

BBQ Event

Kelly and I want to thank Henry and Molly for organizing the event and also thank the people who did the work getting the site ready and cooking the food.   We closed out the week on Saturday with a trip to Emporium for a car show and downtown event sponsored by the Emporium Chamber of Commerce.  Later, it was on to Smethport for another appearance at the McKean County Fair.

Plans for the Coming Week:

We’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Centre County this week.  

Tuesday we will be joining members of the Centre County Democratic Committee to attend Gov. Rendell’s appearance at the CBICC luncheon.  Wednesday we will be traveling to Venango county for several meetings in the morning and then back to Centre County later in the day to attend the Penn Ag Democratic Picnic held in conjunction with Ag Progress Days.  Friday we will be in attendance for the opening of the Democratic Campaign Headquarters in Clinton County.   Finally, on Saturday, we will start out a busy day at the Centre County Democratic breakfast followed by “Mark McCracken Day” in the Democratic booth at the Grange Fair in Centre Hall.  

I look forward to meeting with everyone at the Grange Fair on Saturday.

FINAL THOUGHT — Momentum is Building:

Right after winning the primary election in April, I made a statement when asked by a reporter “Mr. McCracken, can you actually win this race?”  My response was “We can and we will” which I posted on our campaign blog site.  I was encouraged on Monday evening when speaking with a gentleman at the McKean County Fair who made reference to my response.  He was asking me how the campaign was going and I gave him a very positive report about the progress we are making.   What was so encouraging was when he told me — “Mark, remember what you said on your blog — We can and we will…? Just keep up the hard work and you can and you will win the seat.”

We’ll see you on the campaign trail and with your help, we can and we will win this race!

Mark B. McCracken

Your Candidate for Congress

PA-05: McCracken for Congress — Weekly Update — August 3, 2008

White House Announces Bush Administration to Leave a Record Budget Deficit of $482 Billion.

Since January when we began our campaign for the 5th District seat in the US Congress, I’ve consistently stressed that my biggest concern is the fiscal mess that has happened in Washington.  This week, White House officials admitted the Bush administration would leave office in January 2009 with a record budget deficit sitting on the books of $482 BILLION.   This record $482 billion deficit is coupled with a record debt of $9.5 trillion.  

On January 20th, 2001, when George W. Bush was sworn in to his first term in office and the Republican Party had control of both houses of Congress, the United States government had a record budget surplus, our economy was in a period of record expansion and the national debt was being paid down.  In fact, if the Bush administration would have continued the fiscally responsible polices from the 90’s by continuing to grow the surplus and pay down the debt, the federal debt could have been retired by 2013.

It is all fantasy now thanks to the irresponsible fiscal policies of the last 8 years, but, imagine what we could have done in the United States after the debt was paid off in 2013.  Our country would have had a surplus of funds that we could have invested in a complete rebuild of our infrastructure to make it ready for the next century,  We could have made a real effort at addressing the health care crisis because funds would have been available.   We could have invested in updating and upgrading our military and providing for our veterans.  We could have had a real investment to fix our public education system.  All these possibilities – GONE.

In the 90’s, difficult decisions were made and sound fiscal policies were put in place by the federal government.  These decisions were made in a bipartisan manner with a Democratic administration in the White House and the Republicans in control of Congress the second half of the decade.   Rather than sticking with sound logic in support of a fiscally strong government, Republicans in Congress joined with George W. Bush in the early days of his administration and decided that short term gratification from across the board tax cuts, with the overwhelming majority directed towards the top 2% income levels, was more important than the long term fiscal and financial security of the federal government.

In the 5th District race, voters will have the decision to choose between more of the same fiscal irresponsibility as my opponent continues to voice his strong support for the Bush tax cuts.  Or, they can choose something better because I believe we must show the courage and responsibility to clean up this fiscal mess once and for all.  It won’t be easy in the short run, but, if we make the commitment to stick to strong fiscal policies, we can finally invest in the things we need to in order to make the lives of our citizens better and our country more secure.  

Campaign Receives Endorsement from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

I am pleased and excited to announce that our campaign has received a letter from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsing my candidacy.   I am truly honored that we have received this important endorsement as it represents support from working men and women, not only in the 5th district, but from throughout Pennsylvania working for our cause.  

In announcing the list of endorsed candidates in a press release posted on, Bill George, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO said “These candidates have proven themselves to be the friends and supporters of working families.  They understand that workers are struggling in this economy with stagnant wages, soaring prices for health care, gas and food.  They advocate and support an agenda that mirrors the priorities of the labor movement.  We are confident that they will put this country back on track toward prosperity and opportunity for all not the few.”.

The letter from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO concluded with the positive exclamation “Congratulations on Labor’s endorsement!  On to Victory!”.

Major Fundraising Event for DuBois area / Elk and Jefferson Counties:

Campaign Chairman Henry Guthrie and his wife Molly have finalized plans for a McCracken for Congress fundraising event to be held Friday August 15th at the Lion’s Club Sky Lodge in DuBois.  This is going to be a fun filled evening with entertainment from the Moore Brother’s Band and a Chicken BBQ dinner.  We are inviting several local and state level elected officials.  Tickets for the event are $20.  We are also looking for sponsor level support for the event for a donation of $150 or more.  Please contact Henry or Molly at 371-1892 or 577-2398 for ticket information.   Also we would greatly appreciate it if you could take 10 or more tickets and sell them.

BBQ Fundraiser

Recap of the Past Week:

The majority of the past week was spent working close to home at the Clearfield County Fair.  The response from people visiting the Democratic booth was tremendous.  I was also encouraged by the positive comments and remarks that we received from people interested in the Obama campaign.  I have to recognize the people who put in the time and effort to make the booth available for the week.  Specific recognition goes to County Chair John Sughrue, Sue Lemmo and Terry Noble for leading the effort over the past months to have the booth.   Also, Patrick Yingling was at the booth several nights, County Controller Claudia Read worked for many weeks to schedule people to work the booth and Rodger Baumgardner was on hand every evening to make sure the booth was properly secured at closing time.

Tuesday evening I made a trip to Potter County to spend the evening working with County Chair Norma Nichols in the Democratic booth at the Potter County Fair.  It was a very positive visit and I made contact with many voters from Potter, McKean and Tioga counties.

Potter County Fair

On Friday evening, I traveled to St. Marys for the Elk County Democratic Picnic.  Media Advisor Diane Kesner traveled with me to shoot some footage that we will use later in commercials for the campaign.  The event had a great turnout with the highlight of the evening coming from a rousing speech given by Rep. Dan Surra who talked about the problems facing our region, state and country.  Rep. Surra made it clear that this is a key election in the history of our country and he called on everyone to get involved to elect the candidates who will work to solve the problems.  State senate candidate Don Hilliard also gave a tremendous speech addressing the important issues in his race.  

On Saturday, Kelly, Amanda and I made a trip to Juniata County to appear in the parade for the Fayette carnival in McAlisterville.  While this was a small parade, it was an important event for the campaign.  Fayette Township is the only municipality in Juniata County that is part of the 5th District.  Juniata County Commissioner Teresa O’Neal has been working with me to make sure our campaign has a presence in Juniata County.   Although Juniata County only has a very small portion in the 5th District, it is important to me that we include them on our campaign schedule.

Scheduled Events for the Upcoming Week:

Monday — Clinton County Fair — 6 PM

Tuesday — Meeting with Sierra Club — State College

Wednesday — Elk County Fair — 6 PM

Thursday — Sykesville Fair — 6 PM

Friday — Tentative — Venango Co. Fair

Saturday — Multiple Events Subject to Change — Clinton County Fair Parade / McKean Co. Fair / Warren Co. Fair

Sunday — Potter / Cameron County Joint Democratic Picnic — Austin PA


We now have campaign materials available!  Don’t forget to pick up your magnetic bumper sticker or campaign yard sign.

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 — 4/16/08

6 Counties in 1 Week:

Monday — Tioga County:   I started out the week with a day long visit to Tioga County with the day’s agenda coordinated by Emily Rizzo.  Emily took me around to several communities in Tioga County including Wellsboro, which included a visit to the Tioga County Courthouse to meet the elected officials, and to Mansfield where we stopped to meet with the staff at the Obama headquarters.  I found Tioga County to be one of the most scenic counties, not only in the 5th district, but in the entire state.

The day ended with a candidate forum that was attended by 10 of the 12 candidates (the 2 missing candidates had people stand in for them) for the 5th district seat.  For the first time at one of these multi-candidate events, I drew the 12th position so I had to sit and wait as every other candidate did their 10 minute presentations.   Here is what the Elmira Star Gazette wrote about my presentation:

“After sitting silent for two hours, Democrat Mark McCracken, a Clearfield County commissioner, finally got his turn to speak.   He said the nation’s $9.4 trillion debt was tragic and that his priority would be getting the federal budget back in order.   “We’re in a deeper hole than we have ever been in before,” he said.    “This is a threat to our national security.   Foreign interests could pull the rug out from under us at any time.”

“Congress also needs to address energy costs and supplies…We missed a wake-up call in the ’70s,” he said. “We really need to get an energy plan in place. We need to be looking at alternate energy sources.    This is our second wake-up call. We’d better take it.”

Tuesday — Clarion County:   Tuesday evening, Kelly and I made the trip to Clarion County for the Spring Democratic Banquet.  Like Democrats all over the region, the folks in Clarion are excited about our party’s prospects for 2008.

Wednesday — Elk and Mifflin Counties:  Wednesday morning brought a trip to St.Marys for a candidate forum in front of members of the Allegheny Hardwoods Utilization Group AHUG.  The members of AHUG quizzed 11 of the 12 candidates on where we stood in regards to the lumber and timber business that is so important to the economy in north central Pennsylvania.

Wednesday evening brought a trip to Lewistown to appear at a candidate forum sponsored by the Mifflin County Farm Bureau.  It was decided that the 3 Democratic candidates would have our own portion of the forum since the Republican candidates would be arriving later due to party event also being held in Lewistown.

Thursday — Clearfield County:   The DuBois Democratic Committee sponsored a forum for the 3 Democratic candidates at the Penn State DuBois Campus.  PCN was on hand to record the forum which they will run several times over the next few days.  

I have to congratulate the people who put the event together.  It was a unique format which included the standard Q & A, followed by a 1 on 1 session with a moderator, then questions from the audience and ended with 5 minute closing statements from each candidate.  The format was different from any event we’ve participated in thus far and was a good challenge for me personally and I think for the other 2 candidates as well.

Friday — Centre County:  Friday evening Kelly and I traveled to the Tussey Mountain Lodge to attend the Centre County Democrats Spring Banquet.  This event turned into a celebration of the extraordinary gains in voter registration the Democratic party has made in central Pennsylvania.  Centre County led the way with the excitement for Sen. Obama’s candidacy leading to a huge wave of young people registering Democratic.  But, the excitement doesn’t end in Centre County as my home county of Clearfield and Rick Vilello’s home county of Clinton also turned “BLUE”!   Hmmm, with everything going the Democratic way, maybe a Democrat can win the 5th district after all.

Saturday — Clearfield County: I spent the day working on behalf of the Obama campaign doing some door to door canvassing at the invitation of Jody Grumblatt.  Jody has been putting her heart and soul into campaigning on behalf of Sen. Obama.  She was even out on the Clearfield Courthouse Plaza on a cold day a few weeks back registering voters.

Sunday — Clearfield County:  Kelly, Amanda and I went to the DuBois Democratic Committee spaghetti dinner.  Many campaigns were on hand for this well attended annual event.  

Auditor General Jack Wagner was the main speaker with Jay Paterno on hand to speak for the Obama campaign.    Rick Vilello and I each spoke to the crowd to make our case for votes on April 22nd.

Maybe the Wrong McCracken in on the Ballot:  Kelly had a very lucky week.    She won 4 tickets to a Pirate baseball game at the Clarion County Dinner and really cleaned up at the spaghetti dinner in DuBois winning 2 gift baskets.  

Amanda was really excited with the one gift basket that had a porcelain doll that she really liked.

We’re heading into the last full week of the primary campaign and there are a lot of miles left to travel.    Please be sure to remind your family and friends to vote on April 22nd.  Of course, a mention to vote for the 5th district candidate listed in the #1 position on the ballot would be appreciated.

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 Update – Barack Obama to PSU

It’s been a very busy week for the campaign with many highlights:

Monday March 24: I attended the Voices of Central PA dinner in State College.  It was a very nice event and I got the chance to speak with the truly progressive minded people who support Voices.  The questions were tough but fair and I really enjoyed the Indian food on the buffet at the India Pavilion restaurant where the event was held.  The food was a little on the spicy side but was very good.

Tuesday March 25: I spent the late afternoon and evening getting signs out to people.  You always get the chance to speak with your supporters while delivering signs and the feedback was good.  I did get home in time to catch American Idol with Kelly and Amanda.  Not as important as the Obama / Clinton race but Kelly, Amanda and I seem to be pulling for David Cook and Brooke White.

Wednesday March 26: All 12 candidates were on hand for the candidate forum sponsored by the DuBois Chamber of Commerce.  Getting the chance to hear the other 11 candidates, I feel very confident of the message our campaign is spreading.  We recognize the problems of 2008 and we are offering solutions for 2008 and beyond.

Sadly, many of the other candidates keep offering solutions from the 1980’s.  Perhaps most troublesome from several of the candidates are calls for the return to and expansion of the use of fossil fuels.  I will continue to stress throughout this campaign as long as I am part of it that we MUST invest in cleaner, domestically produced alternative fuels.  It will help our economy and our national security.

Thursday March 27: First, I was interviewed on C-Net, the local cable channel in State College.  The interview will run in the State College cable market several times before the April 22nd election.  Then, at the invite of Raymond Snyder, I traveled to Lewistown for the appearance of former President Bill Clinton.  Prior to the public being admitted to the Lewistown High School gymnasium, I had the opportunity to walk the line waiting to get into the event.  I shook hands with approximately 1,500 people who were waiting to get in.  Perhaps the most interesting story was about halfway through the line I met a lady and her young son.  He asked for my autograph, the first time this ever happened.  As I was signing, I saw the young boy reach over and tug his mothers coat and ask “Is that President Clinton?”.

We did have to wait quite awhile in the gym as President Clinton was behind schedule.  When he did arrive after 6:30 he didn’t disappoint.  He gave a rousing speech that lasted approximately 50 minutes and he actually made mention of ethanol as a viable alternative fuel source and even said that ethanol from cellulose material is the way to go in the future.  Then, as he left the stage, he worked his way around the barrier between the stage and the crowd and I was able to shake his hand.  I was 3 rows back but I reached up over the 2 rows ahead of me and got the handshake.

Friday March 28: I attended the opening of the Obama campaign office in DuBois.  I am so encouraged that a presidential campaign has opened an office in Clearfield County.  This is proof that rural Pennsylvania is going to have our say in this election.  I met several people at the opening and they are truly committed to making a difference in 2008.

Saturday March 29: I hosted a visit to the Clearfield area by John Cordisco candidate for State Treasurer.  I first met John last August at Rep. Bud George’s picnic and I was very impressed with him.  One thing that made me interested in him was that he also started his political career by serving on a school board.  I invited John and his staff person to join me at Denny’s Pub, famous as the home of the biggest hamburger in the world.  

He had a nice interview with Jane Elling from our local newspaper and then we all enjoyed one of Denny’s famous burgers.  Not the big one, just one of the regular sized burgers available on the menu.  John was very interested in the alternative fuels industry that we’ve brought to Clearfield County and north central Pennsylvania.  We also talked about state funding and investment issues and his vision to be an active and involved state treasurer.  He is a great candidate and I feel he will make an excellent treasurer for Pennsylvania.

Sunday March 30: Although I was not able to personally attend due to a Commissioners’ Conference, our campaign attended the Obama Rally for Change Event on the campus of Pennsylvania State University.  We had a chance to talk with a lot of young eager minds ready for change in Washington.  Although the gates opened at 11:30am, it was brought to our attention that students and interested citizens started lining up at 5:30am and even earlier.  This is the kind of dedication we need from our young people and from the citizens of the 5th District.  Although the lines were long and the wind brisk, the message of change kept the spectators lively.

Obama’s message of change and a new direction is precisely what the 5th District is looking for.  He pointed out that it is time to move beyond our differences and come together to forge a better future for all Americans.  He addressed the massive amounts of money we send overseas to fight this war and the rising costs of gas.  His solutions, and ours, is to invest in alternative fuel sources like ethanol.  We are proud to join Barack Obama in this fight.

In our seating location, we were honored to meet up with the great candidate for the 171st State House seat Tim Wilson.  Many state officials were also there including Senator Casey and State Rep. Dan Surra.  We thanked them for the warm welcome.  Luckily for us, we had a great seating location!  We were also informed that this rally was the largest in the history of Penn State and we were honored to attend.

It’s been a busy week and every day between now and April 22nd has something on the schedule.  Please keep spreading the word about the campaign and let us know what you are hearing.

Also, we expect to release some important campaign news on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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