Friday, June 5, 2009

Specter to Address Democrats

Political observers are billing this weekend's Democratic State Committee Meeting in Pittsburgh's as Senator Arlen Specter's big debut with his new party.
When Senator Specter takes his place at the lectern on Saturday, he'll be facing a slightly skeptical crowd. County-level party officials throughout the state are saying they like Specter, but they want to hear him explain himself on a range of issues before they fully back the longtime Republican.
Party Chairman T.J. Rooney, a Specter backer, says he's confident the new convert can win over wary Democrats.

"Well, I think Senator Specter needs to remind the leaders of our party just how strong a leader he's been on issues we care about. Whether you talk about alternative energy, whether you talk about labor issues."

Allegheny County party chairman Jim Burn says he and other party leaders are looking forward to hearing their new ally explain himself.

"All of them are anxious to hear what he has to say about, a, why he switched. And b, what will his platform be, with respect to issues and values that are important to the Democratic voters and residents of the state?"

Burn and Diane Bowman, who chairs the Dauphin County Democratic Committee, say they both want to hear Specter spell out his stance on the Employee Free Choice Act. Specter's viewed as the swing vote on the controversial federal measure. Earlier this year he announced he wouldn't support the legislation as it stands right now.
But some Democrats are hoping he'll reconsider now that he's crossed the aisle.

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