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Biden targets Trump voters in Pennsylvania with message of economic recovery, unity

Biden targets Trump voters in Pennsylvania with message of economic recovery, unity

Speaking to a small gathering of union members, Biden emphasized the differences between him and Trump — on the economy, their responses to the coronavirus pandemic and their ability to unite the country — and said that workers across the country had been “gutted by President Trump’s broken promises and reckless trade wars.”

“Folks, this is it. The election is here,” Biden said. “The choice couldn’t be more stark, the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Biden accused Trump of being able only to “see the world from Park Avenue,” whereas he said his perspective was “from Scranton,” a comparison the former vice president has tried to drive home in recent weeks. He warned the crowd that Trump was seeking to destroy the Affordable Care Act, even as the coronavirus pandemic was increasing the need for access to health-care coverage, and spoke of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on working-class people.

“America deserves a president who understands what people are going through,” Biden said. “You’re facing real challenges right now, and the last thing you need is a president who exacerbates them.”

Unlike in his previous campaign stop in Arizona, Biden made no direct mention of Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis or of his actions since then. Earlier Saturday, Trump had held his first public event since being hospitalized a week ago, a crowded gathering on the South Lawn of the White House where there was little social distancing among guests.

By contrast, Biden gave his speech in Erie in the parking lot outside of the training facility of the United Association Plumbers Local 27, which he had toured earlier. After he was introduced, Biden did a light jog up to the lectern wearing a disposable surgical mask, which he removed before speaking. Behind him was an array of pipes; in front of him, about

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Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee chairwoman reaps big harvest of campaign contributions from insurance industry

Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee chairwoman reaps big harvest of campaign contributions from insurance industry

State Rep. Tina Pickett, whose position in Harrisburg gives her enormous say-so over what happens to proposed insurance laws, has more cash in her political campaign account than any of her 201 colleagues in the House — thanks in large part to the insurance industry.

A review by The Morning Call of hundreds of campaign finance reports showed Pickett’s $268,546.49 cash balance in late May was inflated by a years-long influx of insurance industry cash that began when Pickett became chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee in 2013.

“The representative’s numbers are staggering,” said Douglas Heller, an insurance industry expert with the Consumer Federation of America, an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that carries out research and advocacy.

The newspaper’s review showed the balance in Pickett’s campaign account on May 18, the end date of the state reporting period just before the primary election, was tops among all House incumbents. In the subsequent period — the most recent for which records are publicly available — Pickett’s total increased slightly but still led all 202 House members.

At least $170,350 in contributions — or more than 54% of the overall total — made to Pickett’s campaign between her Sept. 25, 2013 assumption of the Insurance Committee chair and the May reporting date came from insurance industry political action committees or people tied to the industry.

Experts says such big contributions are made to curry favor.

One insurance group that gave more than $12,000 has even called Pickett the “lead architect and champion” for the industry.

“There is no coincidence that the chairperson suddenly is lavished with incredible amounts of campaign cash. Because, with this position, she has the power to move forward consumer protections, or stop them, and move forward industry interests or stop them, and that is a lot

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