OPED: McGinty's record fails 'leadership test'

Bernadette Comfort
Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women

As someone who has spent nearly fifteen years training women to become leaders in government and the political process, I teach women that the most important qualities of leadership are work ethic, teamwork, and trust.

Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, seen here with Gov. Tom Wolf, left, is battling for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania against Republican incumbent Pat Toomey.

Sadly, Democrat Katie McGinty, who is running against Republican Sen. Pat Toomey this fall, doesn't fit that standard.

Most notably, McGinty’s record fails the most important leadership test - trust. During her many years in public service, McGinty violated the people’s trust by using her government position to enrich herself and her friends instead.

In her capacity as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under Gov. Ed Rendell,  McGinty steered millions in taxpayer funds to an organization that employed her husband. The State Ethics Commission rebuked McGinty’s actions, and declared that future acts of this nature could result in a fine or even jail time. This decision was later affirmed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Equally as troubling is McGinty’s widespread abuse of the revolving door between official government jobs and lucrative spots on corporate boards. Following a stint at the White House as part of the Clinton administration, McGinty was able to lock up a cushy lobbying job at a Washington D.C. law firm. Then, as DEP Secretary, McGinty supported millions in taxpayer incentives to corporations that later hired her after she left DEP.

While McGinty made more than a million dollars from companies she had once regulated and steered taxpayer dollars to, some Pennsylvanians lost out. Some of the projects that McGinty advocated for ended up folding, costing hundreds their jobs and taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. After a McGinty-funded manufacturing plant in Cambria County closed, local officials expressed little surprise, describing the project as “not sustainable.”

Unfortunately, McGinty’s record of partisanship does not inspire confidence either for Pennsylvania families who are tired of political gridlock.

In Congress, finding common ground between members of both parties is the only way to make progress. Pat Toomey has a substantial bipartisan record which has benefitted all Pennsylvanians. Just in the past year alone,  Toomey has successfully spearheaded bipartisan legislation through the Senate to help make our kids’ classrooms safer, stem the tide of opioid abuse, and much more.

Conversely, Katie McGinty has a record defined by partisan gridlock. As Gov.Tom Wolf’s chief of staff, McGinty was widely seen as a divisive and antagonistic force during last year’s protracted state budget stalemate.

The environment grew so contentious that  McGinty was excluded from budget negotiation sessions. In fact, progress on the budget only began once McGinty left Harrisburg. Of McGinty’s tenure as chief of staff, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman noted “she (McGinty) had to be probably the least effective chief of staff during my time in the Legislature.”

While her partisanship in Harrisburg was certainly concerning,  McGinty’s liberal policy views are also problematic for pragmatic Pennsylvania families. Consider, for example, the tax plan she helped Governor Wolf craft, which sought to raise taxes across all income levels. This plan was so destructive to hardworking Pennsylvania families that every member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives – every single Republican and Democrat – voted “no.”

On federal issues, McGinty’s policies are also far too liberal for common-sense Pennsylvanians. On every single major issue, McGinty has proved to be a rubber stamp for the failed far-left policies embraced by Hillary Clinton. Whether it’s the EPA overreach that has killed jobs here in Pennsylvania, the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran, or ObamaCare – Katie McGinty backs them all and sometimes wants to go even further to the left.

It is no secret that many Pennsylvanians and Americans are frustrated with Washington, D.C. Most of us believe that Congress has more than enough partisanship, extremism, and ethically-tainted insider deals.  McGinty would unfortunately only make the problem worse in the U.S. Senate.

In contrast, Toomey has been recognized as one of the hardest working and most bipartisan senators in Washington. He is a thoughtful and independent voice, working across the aisle to save Pennsylvania jobs, protect our families with strong public safety measures, and eliminate exactly the kind of corporate welfare and special-interest goody bags that McGinty is so fond of.

This November, this choice for U.S. Senate is a simple one. Pennsylvania deserves a dedicated public servant like Pat Toomey.

— Bernadette Comfort is a member of the Executive Committee for the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women and formally served on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women and Governors under Governors Schweiker, Rendell, and Corbett.