2010-05-06 / Local & State

Tom Conners Mounts Write-In Campaign For 9th District Seat

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Tom Conners Tom Conners Tom Conners, former general manager of WTAJ-TV in Altoona, announced his candidacy for Congress from the 9th District, Tuesday, April 27, before a crowd of supporters at the courthouse in Hollidaysburg, Blair County.

Conners will need Democratic voters to write in his name on the ballot at the primary election on May 18, 2010. He must garner 1,000 signatures from Democrats in the 15-county district in order to have his name placed on the ballot for the general election in November.

Conners believes he can easily surmount this obstacle because of the desire to end what he calls the “Shuster dynasty,” 38 years in which middle-class working families, seniors and young people in the 9th District have had virtually no representation. “No member of Congress should run unopposed, “ said Conners, “not ever, but certainly not during these volatile times when our country is facing such huge issues.”

Conners cites Bill Shuster’s vote against the stimulus, which saved and created millions of jobs, plus giving a tax cut to 95 percent of the American people. In addition, Conners said Shuster voted against the extension of unemployment insurance, business tax credits to jump-start hiring, against an increase in Pell grants for college, against health insurance reform that this year will end companies from denying insurance for pre-existing conditions, keep young people until they’re 26 on parents’ policies and provide $250 to seniors caught in the prescription drug doughnut hole.

Instead, Conners said Shuster has voted for policies that on the one hand created the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the richest Americans since the 1920s, and on the other hand, like the 1920s, led to an economic collapse second only to the Great Depression. Conners claims cuts for the wealthy, appropriations for two wars, Medicare Part D, none of which were paid for, left the Obama administration a trillion-dollar structural deficit, while doubling the national debt.

Conners believes in “pay as you go” budgeting, which the Democratic Congress has instituted (with no Republican votes), tough financial regulation of Wall Street and banks. Likewise, Conners supports strong regulation of the FDA to prevent “e-coli” outbreaks in the meat supply, plus stiffer enforcement of products from China and other trading partners to prevent toy imports that harm our children. In light of the recent mine disaster, much still must be done to stop the cozy relationship between government regulators and mine owners.

Conners says he will fight for the middle class by supporting policies that enhance job creation, prevent trade pacts that damage jobs in this country, provide a world-class education for our young people, develop infrastructure that brings both commerce and tourists to our region, and implement new healthcare reform in ways that lead to both cost containment and affordability.

One thing Conners says he will not do is vote to achieve financial solvency on the backs of working families, who have been hit hard by the fiscal recklessness of his opponent.

And, he will never vote to privatize Social Security or Medicare, something his opponent supports.

Conners managed WOWK-TV in Huntington, W.Va., before returning to Altoona, where he had been local sales manager at WTAJ-TV, to assume the general manager position in the 1980s.

After failing to buy another TV station in the area, Conners went to California in the early 1990s, where he worked for his brother, Dan Conners, former linebacker for the Oakland Raiders, who owned several restaurants there.

Conners was born in DuBois and raised in St. Marys. He is an Army veteran. Conners said he returned to Blair County six years ago to retire.

Divorced, Conners has a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren who live in Connecticut.

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