It’s fitting that the driving force of the conservative movement in Pennsylvania, Frederick W. Anton III, announced that he is remaining the Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, but that David N. Taylor will now serve as President at the recent Pennsylvania Leadership Conference; a two-day issues forum that brings together activists from across the Commonwealth to share ideas, network, and discuss issues with conservative leaders and elected officials. The conservative movement in Pennsylvania has likewise thrived under Anton’s leadership. He opened the 2015 PLC, as he did the first one in 1989, citing the need for more conservatives to become involved given government’s all-to-frequent anti-business agenda.
“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to lead PMA and advance a pro-growth agenda for Pennsylvania’s most important industry,” Taylor said. “Above all, I am deeply pleased that I will continue to have the wise counsel and support of my friend and mentor Fred Anton, whose efforts have made our association an enduring institution.”
Mr. Anton’s remarks at the PLC didn’t focus for long on the structural changes at the Association as he quickly delved into current legislative issues.
“They have two main plans for the Marcellus Shale,” Anton said referring to the Wolf Administration. “Raise taxes and increase regulation. Nothing about helping industry to take full advantage of the enormous potential of the Shale as not just an energy revolution but a second industrial revolution.”
He also urged support for two bills in the General Assembly that will loosen labor’s inordinate influence over the political process and improve the climate for both businesses and workers: one will strike a carve-out in the Crimes Code that protects stalking, harassment, and other threats during labor disputes; another ends the practice of unions using taxpayer dollars to deduct dues directly from workers’ paychecks (paycheck protection).
Finally, Mr. Anton talked of the importance of the upcoming appellate court elections. Voters in November will fill three vacancies on the seven-member Supreme Court alone. “These are ten-year terms,” he said. “It’s critical that we elect those who give can us a clear majority on the highest court.”
The conference’s dinner speaker former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson characterized the present state of information as a witch’s brew of political agenda, abiding mainstream media outlets and the explosion of social media. Attkisson, you might recall, filed legal action in January again the Justice Department and the US postal service for hacking her phone and computers. She referred to the twisting of the use of all three as astroturfing. “Astroturf seeks to manipulate you into changing your opinion by making it seem as if you’re an outlier, when you’re not,” she said. “Hallmarks of astroturf and propaganda include use of inflammatory language such as quack, crank, nutty, pseudo, paranoid and conspiracy.” She referenced many chilling encounters she had from her powerful book “Stonewalled.”
PMA’s President, David N. Taylor, had an opportunity to interview Ms. Attkisson before her speech and her comments are in the video link below.
On the national level, Senator Pat Toomey warned of the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. “It doesn’t block the way to a nuclear bomb it paves the way,” Toomey said. Senator Toomey added that we are not as many cynics like to say a country in decline, but to stay vibrant we have to “reject the flawed policies of the left.”
Congressman Lou Barletta spoke of his time as the mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania and his battle to curb the escalating numbers of illegal aliens in his city. He offered his policy recommendations to the conservative crowd. “As I go to congress and I sit on the Homeland Security Committee I realize this is not just a problem affecting small towns, it’s a problem that threatens our national security because our borders are open.”
Renowned National Review national-affairs columnist John Fund discussed the 2016 presidential race and the national political scene. He also sat down with PMA’s David Taylor for an insightful interview.
Guerilla journalist James O’Keefe, President and founder of Project Veritas, spoke about his unorthodox way of uncovering corruption, waste, and bad ideas. His projects have been focused on topics such as border security, green energy program fraud, corruption at ACORN, voter fraud, and many others. He shared his projects with the PLC audience.
Rick Santorum, 2012 GOP runner-up for President and possible 2016 candidate, said that freedom of conscience is under assault in America. “The message is you will believe what you are told to believe,” Santorum said. “America will not fall under my watch,” he proclaimed to a resounding applause from the captivated audience.
Other conference highlights included Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) who said that there is agreement among Republican Leaders in the House and Senate to hold the line on taxes when they approve a spending plan for the FY 2015-16 that begins July 1. In his March 3 budget address, Governor Tom Wolf asked for nearly $9 billion in additional taxes. Turzai said legislative leaders would also insist on pension reform and privatization of liquor sales as part of the budget negotiations.
The two-day event featured numerous other speakers, included Grover Norquist, Ken Cuccinelli, guerilla journalist James O’Keefe, and various panels and workshops. Go to wwwhttp://www.paleadershipconference.org/ to view the entire agenda and archived recordings.