League of Women Voters release 2012 voters guide

League of Women Voters release 2012 voters guide

(Editor’s note: This abridged voters guide was prepared by the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh and the League of Women Voters Education Fund. The League is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse or oppose any political party or candidate. The listings are based entirely on material submitted by the candidates. In cases where the candidate has not responded, only the candidate’s name and party are listed. The guide lists all candidates in the 2012 General Election for President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania Attorney General and Auditor General.)

President of the United States


Mitt Romney Address: Mitt Romney for President, P.O. Box 149756 Boston MA 02114-9756 email: info@mittromney.com;

Campaign Phone: (857) 288-3500

Question: Please identify your top three goals if elected.

Answer: The first priority of a Romney administration will be to create 12 million new jobs and get our economy going again.  We must get our fiscal house in order.  President Obama has put our nation on an unsustainable course.  As president, Mitt Romney will set the country on the path to a balanced budget.  And he will ensure we have a military so strong that no adversary would want to test it.

Question:  In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important things that should be done to improve our nation’s economy?

Answer: Mitt Romney will get America back to work by reforming our tax code so businesses can hire more workers, developing our domestic energy resources to create new jobs here at home, reversing burdensome job-destroying regulations-including Obamacare and ensuring Americans receive education and training for today’s jobs.  His plan will also get spending under control to prevent a debt crisis.

Question: How can the federal government in collaboration with other levels of government, provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

Answer: Mitt Romney believes that this important goal begins with providing parents with increased choice and information.  He has put forth a plan that would allow federal funding to follow low-income and special needs students to the school of their choice.  This plan also would support high quality charter schools in scaling up and reward states that recruit and train the best teachers.

Question:  Please explain why you do or do not support cutting Medicare and Social Security to address the federal deficit.

Answer: Entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are large parts of the federal budget.  Mitt Romney’s plan to reform these programs will not only protect the benefits and services of current seniors and those nearing retirement, but will strengthen the programs so they are available for future generations.

Question: Please explain why you do or do not support requiring timely and full disclosure of all political expenditures in federal campaigns.

Answer: Mitt Romney understands that money can be a corrupting influence in politics.  But layers of regulations have not taken money out of politics; they have instead created a system of PACS that are not accountable to the candidate they support. He believes the best solution is swift and full disclosure of all donations to candidates.  This allows the American people to hold politicians accountable.

Question: Please explain why you do or do not support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to enforce strong clean air and clean water standards in America.

Answer:  Mitt Romney is proud of the environmental progress that we have made to improve our nation’s air and water quality and supports continued progress.  However, while our air and water laws have served us well over the years, he recognizes that they are significantly out of date and in need of reform.


Barack Obama Address: Obama for America P.O. Box 803638 Chicago, IL 60680 website: www.barackobama.com

Campaign Phone: (312)698-3670

Question:Please identify your top three goals if elected.

Answer:  As a nation, our challenges can be met by rebuilding the middle class and our economy on a stronger foundation.  I have laid out a set of concrete goals on manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit that will create jobs, expand opportunity, and create an economy built to last.

Question:  In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important things that should be done to improve our nation’s economy?

Answer: When I took office we were losing private sector jobs at a rate of nearly 800,000 a month.  Now we have experienced 30 straight months of private-sector job growth, creating 4.6 million private sector jobs.  I have proposed steps to create a million more jobs by preventing teacher layoffs, putting construction workers back to work, bringing jobs back from overseas, and helping small businesses grow.

Question: How can the federal

government, in collaboration with other levels of government, provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

Answer:  My administration spurred 46 states to raise standards for teaching and learning and strengthened Head Start. Millions of students are paying less for college because we cut student loan subsidies for banks and doubled scholarships.  We will recruit 100,000 math and science teachers, train 2 million workers for real jobs through community colleges, and cut the growth of tuition in half.

Question: Please explain why you do or do not support cutting Medicare and Social Security to address the federal deficit.

Answer: Social Security and Medicare are sacred compacts with seniors who earned benefits after a lifetime of hard work. I added eight years to the solvency of Medicare without cutting benefits by cracking down on waste, fraud and subsidies to insurance companies.  I have proposed steps to strengthen Medicare and Social Security without slashing benefits or subjecting it to the whims of the stock market.

Question: Please explain why you do or do not support timely and full disclosure of all political expenditures in federal campaigns.

Answer: Powerful special interests should not drown out the voices of the American people.  We need to pass the bipartisan Disclose Act that would establish the toughest-ever disclosure requirements for election-related spending.  I also support campaign finance reform, by constitutional amendment if necessary.

Question:  Please explain why you do or do not support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to enforce strong clean air and clean water standards in America.

Answer: Nothing is more important than ensuring the air we breathe and the water we drink is safe.  We have broken decades of gridlock to double fuel mileage standards, effectively cutting your cost at the pump in half and reducing air pollution.  And we’ve set standards for new mercury and other toxic air emissions from power plants and other sources that combined will save up to 21,600 lives a year.

United States Senator

Question 1: What are your top three political priorities?

Question: What steps would you take to break the gridlock in Congress, cooperate with colleagues across the aisle, and construct bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems?


Tom Smith.  Oakmont, website: www.tomsmithforsenate.com,

email: info@tomsmithforsenate.com


OCCUPATION: Business Owner

QUALIFICATIONS: Farmer, Former coal mine owner

Top Three Political Priorities: 1) Grow the economy to create jobs, 2)Reduce Debt/Deficits, 3)Repeal and replace Obamacare!

Answer: This November voters will be offered a clear choice between two very different paths for our country’s future.  One path leads to federal government growth and private sector decline; the path of “You Didn’t Build That”, one of increasing government dependence.  The other choice leads to private sector growth and federal government decline; the path of “You Did Build That”, one of personal liberty.

Simplify the Tax Code-Institute a Flat Tax & Close Special Interest Loopholes

End Out-of-Control Spending & Reduce annual spending to 20% of GDP

Regulation-End Regulation that  suffocates growth and kills jobs

Energize our future & American Energy for American jobs, Healthcare and Social Security

(See full answer at www.smartvoter.org/pa)


Bob Casey Jr., No Reply

Attorney General

Question: If elected, what do you believe to be your most important priority in this office and how will you pursue it?


David J. Freed, 41, Camp Hill Boro, Cumberland Co.

Web site: www.DavidFreedforAG.com

EDUCATION:  B.A. Washington and Lee University, 1992; J.D., Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, 1995

OCCUPATION:  Cumberland County District Attorney

QUALIFICATIONS: Cumberland County District Attorney, 2005-Present, Cumberland County First District Attorney 2001-2005; Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney 1998-2001, York County Deputy Prosecutor, 1997-1998; Executive Committee Member of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.

Answer: The safety of our citizens.  I am the only candidate running for Attorney General with the proven ability and extensive experience necessary to protect Pennsylvania families, seniors, children and small business owners from crime and corruption.  I have handled thousands of cases during my time as a prosecutor, private practice attorney and District Attorney.  I am confident that I’ll bring the principled leadership and integrity expected of Pennsylvania’s chief law enforcement officer to the



Kathleen G. Kane,          Clark Summit       Web site: www.kathleenkane.com

email: info@kathleenkane.com

EDUCATION:  University of Scranton, Temple Law School



Top priorities if elected: 1. Putting violent sexual predators behind bars, 2. Reducing crime, 3.Protecting senior citizens

Auditor General

Question: Given limited resources, what three priority areas of the proposed budget would you like to modify and what is your rationale for doing so?


John Maher, 53, Upper St. Clair, Allegheny Co., email; john@cpaforpa.com

Web site: www.CPAforPA.com;

EDUCATION:  Duke University, A.B. magna cum laude; Oxford University, and Australian Graduate School of Management, scholarship studies


QUALIFICATIONS: The ONLY Auditor running for Auditor General.  Auditing CPA and real-world job creator who built businesses with good, permanent jobs for women and men in many counties.  Legislator who leads by example-fighting waste and improving government accountability and transparency.  Authored pioneering laws that advanced the public’s right to see government records and regulating lobbyists.

Answer:  Basic education funding reforms; Maintain core functions of state and local governments; ongoing overhaul of department of public welfare.


Eugene A. DePasquale , 40, West Chester, York Co.

EDUCATION: 1993, College of Wooster, B.A. 1997, Masters in Public Administration, University of Pittsburgh; 2002, J.D. from Widener University School of Law

OCCUPATION:  Pennsylvania State Representative, 95th District (York)

QUALIFICATIONS:  State Representative, 2007-present; Deputy Secretary PA Department of Environmental Protection (2003-2006); Director of Economic Development, City of York (2002-2003)

Answer:  I will order a performance audit of water protection programs to ensure our drinking water is safe.  I will also work for middle-class Pennsylvanians, protecting education, job-creation programs and public safety.  I will order audits that identify any wasteful and inefficient spending to save taxpayer money and enable reinvestment in critical programs.  

State Treasurer

Question: If elected, what do you believe to be your most important priority in this office and how will you pursue it?


Diana Irey Vaughn, 49, Washington Co

Website: www.friendswithdiana.com

EDUCATION: 1981, West Virginia Business College; business, accounting and legal studies coursework at Fairmont State College and California University of Pennsylvania.

OCCUPATION:  Washington County Commissioner, fifth term, managing 52 departments and nearly 1,000 employees and overseeing county-owned nursing home, airport, parks and bridges

QUALIFICATIONS:  County Commissioner, 16 years, led long-range planning resulting in job growth; Member of Washington County Pension Board, managing pension funds of employees and retirees; Member of Washington County Prison Board, overseeing operations of correctional facility which maintains lowest cost per day per inmate in state

Answer:   As Commissioner, I fought for fiscal responsibility and good government, balancing seven consecutive budgets with no tax increase, keeping taxes low, and putting inmates to work in our community.  I provided stewardship for pension funds and formed a strict investment policy statement with a conservative approach that met or exceeded industry benchmarks over the past 16 years.  I will bring the same discipline and fiscal restraint to serve Pennsylvania.


Robert M. McCord, 53, Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, Web site: www.robmccord.com

EDUCATION:  Harvard, 1982, History & Economics; Wharton School of Business, 1989, M.B.A.

OCCUPATION:  Pennsylvania State Treasurer

QUALIFICATIONS:  Current Pennsylvania State Treasurer, 2008-Present; CEO/Chairman and Co-Founder of the Eastern Technology Council; Co-Founder and Managing Director of PA Early Stage Partners; Senior Executive at Safeguard Scientifics, Inc.

Answer:  I will continue to use my business experience to protect taxpayers and invest wisely on their behalf.  I won’t allow the office to be distracted by political games or special interest agendas.  I will build on our record of success over the last three years and stay focused on creating good jobs and strong public income from investments while making government more accountable and transparent and working collaboratively to find innovative solutions to economic challenges.

Representative in Congress

Question : What steps would you take to break the gridlock in Congress, cooperate with colleagues across the aisle, and construct bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems?

12th Congressional District

(Vote for one)


Keith J. Rothfus. 50,     Sewickley email: info@keithrothfus.com

EDUCATION:  University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D.


QUALIFICATIONS:   I work in the private sector negotiating for large and small businesses.  There is no better place to learn how to work with opposing sides to get the job done.  I served on my local zoning board and with organizations like the Veterans Leadership Program to better my community.  As a husband and father of six, I will lead with my conviction to leave a better world to our children than the one we found.

Top three political priorities: 1) A robust community that creates jobs, 2) Saving and strengthening Medicare, 3) Getting our nation’s fiscal house in order.

Answer:  I work in the private sector as an attorney for large and small businesses at the negotiating table.  When you enter a negotiation you know the principles you must stand by but you also know where you can meet in the middle to get the job done.  Washington is gridlocked because of people not willing to work together and people not willing to make the tough decisions our nation needs right now.  I am willing and committed to making the tough decisions that will save Medicare, get our fiscal house in order, and create a robust and growing economy.


Mark S. Critz, 50, Johnstown, email: msc@critzforcongress.com

EDUCATION:  1987, B.S. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

OCCUPATION:  Member of Congress, District 12

QUALIFICATIONS:   For the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of representing Western Pennsylvania in Congress.  I’ve made creating jobs my top priority.  That’s why I led the fight on the floor to end illegal Chinese currency manipulation that kills American jobs, and one of my first acts was to eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship overseas so we can create jobs here.

Top three political priorities: 1) Creating jobs, 2) Protecting Social Security and Medicare, 3) Making millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share

Answer:   No Reply

14th Congressional District

(Vote for one)


Hans Lessmann, 52,     Forest Hills email: lessmannforcongress@gmail.com

EDUCATION: Purdue University, B.S 1983; Pennsylvania College of Optometry 1986

OCCUPATION: Optometrist

QUALIFICATIONS:   I offer a unique blend of skills and perspectives desperately needed in Washington.  As a doctor, businessman, and father, I understand the needs of patients, doctors, small businesses, and families.  With a daughter presently working in Afghanistan, I know the heart aches of military families.  I understand the challenge and joy of caring for a daughter with an intellectual disability of Down syndrome.

Top three political priorities: 1) “People First” with Jobs, 2) “Growth Today”: with Energy to provide jobs and lower gas and food prices, 3) “Solutions Now” with Tax Reform to grow the economy and tax revenues

Answer:  We have big problems with the economy, debt, and despair.  We need leaders who have a vision, like an eye doctor that believes in the people to empower them to solve their problems.  Our government should be efficient and respectful of the taxpayer.  Lawmakers must respect the constitution and support people not with a handout but with laws and taxes that encourage their dignity and productivity.  A strong military deters foreign aggression both here and abroad, yet we should preserve our liberty.  Balance is the key between the people and limited government to secure freedom and prosperity.


Mike Doyle, 59, Forest Hills, email: congmik@aol.com

EDUCATION:  Penn State University, B.S. 1975; Graduate, Leadership Pittsburgh III

OCCUPATION: U.S. Congressman representing Pennsylvania’s 14th District

QUALIFICATIONS:   Lifelong Pittsburgh area resident; completing 9th term as Congressman.  Serves on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee since 2001; co-owner of small insurance agency; married 36 years; 4 children.

Top three political priorities: 1) Creating Jobs and Opportunity for all Pittsburgh residents, 2) Making the Pittsburgh region an energy center for the Nation, 3) Working with business and academia to develop a highly trained work force.

Answer: I believe there is nothing more important than avoiding the “Fiscal Cliff” facing our Nation.  We can do this by passing a 10-year budget plan that provides businesses and individual’s certainty, allows our economy to grow and gets our deficit under control.  This can only be accomplished with a balanced approach to spending and taxes and will require both parties to cooperate and compromise.  I believe a workable solution is possible and I am prepared to enter those discussions with an open mind and to work in good faith with Republicans to move our Country forward.

18th Congressional District

 (Vote for one)


Tim Murphy, 60, Allegheny County,

EDUCATION:  BS, Wheeling Jesuit 1974; MA, Cleveland State 1976; PhD, University of Pittsburgh 1979

OCCUPATION:  Congressman, PA-18 and Lt Commander, US Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps

QUALIFICATIONS:  A clinical psychologist, Murphy served at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and then ran his own private practice.  He holds adjunct faculty position with the University of Pittsburgh and authored two books.  As a State Senator, Murphy penned Pennsylvania’s Patient Bill of Rights.  Now in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps, Murphy serves at Walter Reed working with TBI and PTSD patients.

Top three political priorities: 1) Enact my infrastructure Jobs & Energy Independence Act (see below), 2) Enact reforms for the healthcare you need from the doctor you choose at affordable cost, 3) Saving domestic manufacturing, steel, coal and energy jobs.

Answer: It will take $2.2 trillion to repair our crumbling roads, sewer systems and bridges but we simply do not have the funding to meet all these needs.  I launched the bipartisan congressional Energy Working Group to end our country’s reliance on oil from OPEC.  Working together we developed legislation, called the Infrastructure Jobs & Energy Independence Act, to dedicate the new federal revenues from expanded energy production towards critical infrastructure repairs.  Our legislation, like no other, has a method to pay for these infrastructure projects without raising taxes or borrowing from China, and it will create 1.2 million jobs annually.


Larry Maggi, Washington County

EDUCATION:  California University of Pennsylvania-Bachelors

OCCUPATION:  Washington County Commissioner

QUALIFICATIONS:   US Marine Corps, Retired State Trooper, Washington County Sheriff, Washington County Commissioner, Trustee at University of California Pennsylvania.

Top three political priorities: 1) Cut spending the right way-not on the back of seniors and the middle class, 2) Bring jobs back to Southwest Pennsylvania, 3) Defend Medicare from cuts and privatization.

Answer:  No Reply