Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tom Ridge: On immigration, Obama oversteps and Republicans miss an opportunity

// // in Company, Politics


(The Patriot-News, Nov. 23) – Watching President Barack Obama’s immigration speech – invoking executive powers fitting of a leader from a bygone era – I thought for a moment he was channeling Cecil B. DeMille.


You remember that famous scene from The Ten Commandments? The one where Yul Brynner’s Egyptian pharaoh proclaims, “So let it be written. So let it be done?”


I thought we Americans decided to drop the ‘king thing’ a few centuries ago (and pharaohs just a few years before that).


Yet there was our President, quoting scripture reminiscent of a Hollywood blockbuster while once again ignoring the separation of powers – despite a résumé showing him to have been a constitutional lawyer.


As troubling as is our President’s disregard for the constitution, his actions on immigration underscore an even larger problem for my Republican Party. I am often asked whom I will be backing for president in 2016. My answer remains, we need to focus less on the messenger and more on the message.


And with immigration, Republicans have yet again missed a critical messaging opportunity by not leading on a comprehensive immigration-reform package. Most polls I’ve seen say Americans don’t like the use of broad executive orders. But it doesn’t mean they won’t accept a well-crafted immigration-reform package.


It was not at all surprising that President Obama traveled to a Las Vegas community with a large Hispanic population to sign his executive order.


Not long ago, the Republican Party was welcoming to Hispanics. That has largely changed in recent years because of missed opportunities such as this one.


Many pundits have credited our nation’s growing Hispanic population with helping the President to win re-election in 2012.


If Republicans cannot do better with the Hispanic vote in two years, winning back the White House will be that much more difficult.


By digging in their heels and refusing to negotiate a bi-partisan immigration package, Republicans in Congress have essentially told Hispanic voters this is not a priority and have now allowed the President to lead, albeit in a misguided direction.


The fact is the blanket condemnation of illegal immigrants and the failure to find a way to at least legitimize the status of those who have been law abiding since their arrival is wrong and a grave political mistake.


And it leaves me concerned about the Republican Party’s brand, our message and our future.


In order to govern, Republicans must win national elections. To do so the narcissists and ideologues within our party need to understand that Americans are looking for real not rhetorical solutions to problems such as immigration.


They are not attracted to a party that projects an unacceptable rigidity and self-righteousness on social issues, and spends more time and energy objecting to bad law rather than proposing alternatives.


If we are to win in 2016, we will win because we worked together. Right now, we seem more focused on the messenger – rather than the message. But if we look back at the icons of the Republican Party, each one had a vision.


Lincoln’s was emancipation. Teddy Roosevelt’s was an environment and economy preserved for future generations. Reagan’s was cut taxes and ‘tear down that wall’.


What will be our message of the 2016 election? And will that message appeal to a broad array of voters? Or will it be a message that seeks to prey on our differences and fears, rather than our shared goals?


Those are the questions that require my Party’s full attention and the lessons from this immigration debacle.


Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania, is the CEO of Ridge Global in Washington, DC. 


Full article may be found HERE.

Today on the Hill

// // in Government

House Judiciary
Bellefonte Courthouse Annex, 3rd Floor Conference Room, 108
Public hearing on Pennsylvania Department of Corrections staffing levels


Independent Regulatory Review Commission
14th Floor Conference Room, 333 Market St., Harrisburg
To consider the following regulations:

  •         Reg. No. 3076 State Board of Education #6-332: Student Attendance (Final-Omit)
  •         Reg. No. 3077 Municipal Police Officers’ Education & Training Commission #17-76: Retired Law Enforcement Officers Identification & Qualification Cards (Final-Omit)
  •         Reg. No. 3056 Department of Banking & Securities #3-52: Debt Management Services Continuing Education







Tom Ridge: Philadelphia is “national leader” in innovation, entrepreneurship

// // in Client News, Company


(Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 19) – The sheer size and dynamism of Philadelphia, with its bustling urban center, thriving universities, and active suburban communities, can make it difficult to identify any one particular trend. So let us do it for you.


Hey, Philly, you are officially a national leader when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. With all due respect to Ben Franklin and his bifocals, we’re talking about 21st-century innovation that will drive job creation in the region for the next 20 years and beyond.


Sure, Philadelphia’s reputation as a hub for innovation was secure once Mr. Franklin and his scientific pursuits in electricity, mathematics, and mapmaking became the stuff of legend. But what’s happening today in the City of Brotherly Love is truly remarkable – and deserves recognition as the world celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week.


This week is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators, the people who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. In just the last few weeks, we have seen more evidence of how Philadelphia is contributing to that ideal.


The University City Science Center, the first and still largest urban research park in the United States, continues to innovate and inspire young entrepreneurs.


The Science Center last month received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for Phase 1 Ventures, a new multi-institutional commercialization program. Operating as an accelerator for the launch and growth of new companies, Phase 1 Ventures offers a comprehensive turnkey approach to effectively and efficiently test business feasibility.


Stephen Tang, the Science Center president and CEO, and his team continue to help Philadelphia’s innovators move from proof-of-concept stage to getting enterprises up and running. The center already has helped to create more than 15,000 jobs, contributing more than $9 billion annually to the region’s economy.


Just like its namesake, Ben Franklin Technology Partners is constantly looking for a new problem to solve. This tech-based economic development group has invested more than $170 million in capital to grow 1,750 regional enterprises across Philadelphia and the commonwealth. Just recently, BFTP was awarded $600,000 by the EDA for a job-creation initiative centered on the growing medical-devices industry. The shared goal is to make Philadelphia a worldwide leader in medical-device manufacturing, generating new jobs for the region and spurring millions in private investment.


Philadelphia’s higher-education community is also driving innovation and entrepreneurship. Philadelphia University recently opened its Design, Engineering, and Commerce center. Temple University’s Fox Business School launched its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute. Together, Temple and Philadelphia University also have started the Blackstone Launchpad Program. Drexel has its Close School of Entrepreneurship, and the University of Pennsylvania boasts its “Pennovation Center” along the Schuylkill. It is an impressive commitment by these, and other, outstanding schools that is helping to cement Philadelphia’s lead position as a hub for innovation.


Leadership from City Hall also has been critical. Mayor Nutter’s StartUp PHL effort is strengthening the entrepreneurial environment by backing smart proposals to energize the startup scene all across the city. Both the Commerce Department and Industrial Development Corp. have demonstrated a real commitment to this effort. Experience tells us that it takes true public-private partnerships to drive meaningful results, and Philadelphia is proving that yet again.


It’s worth noting that just as Philadelphia and other major urban centers have transitioned from a manufacturing-based economy to technology-based, the support mechanisms have changed, too. Decades ago, the U.S. Commerce Department’s EDA focused almost exclusively on traditional economic-development approaches, such as funding for basic infrastructure like utilities and transportation needed by manufacturing and large industry. While those core needs are still important in many communities, the EDA has evolved to making investments in community capacity-building, with the understanding that both culture and ecosystems position communities to be more agile and resilient, leading to greater and more sustainable economic prosperity.


What’s next? The Commerce Department is leading a $15 million national grant competition to spur regional innovation. If history is any indication, we expect to see Philadelphia competing for its share as it continues to stake its claim as one of America’s leading innovation centers.


Article written by Tom Ridge & Jay Williams.


Original article can be found HERE.


TBI Reauthorization Act Passed by House, Awaits President’s Signature

// // in Client News, Company

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed S. 2539, the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Reauthorization Act of 2014, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and co-sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Rebeccah Wolfkiel worked closely with key policy leaders and stakeholders on behalf of the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) to get this important legislation passed. The next step is for the bill to be signed by President Obama.


The TBI Reauthorization Act reauthorizes existing TBI programs within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well removes Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) from sections relating to both the State as well as Protection and Advocacy grant programs leaving the administering agency to be determined by the Secretary of HHS. It further calls for the Secretary of HHS to develop a TBI Coordination Plan, and also directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a scientific review of the management of children with TBI. The bill provides appropriations for those programs through 2019.



Today on the Hill

// // in Government

House Game & Fisheries
Informational meeting to receive an update on chronic wasting disease from the PA Game Commission & PA Department of Agriculture


House Urban Affairs
Informational meeting on current governmental resources for addressing homelessness






Former Gov. Tom Ridge looks “forward to being helpful” to Gov.-elect Tom Wolf

// // in Company, Politics

The Patriot-News (November 4, 2014) – Former Gov. Tom Ridge has issued the following statement about Tuesday’s election results that resulted in a victory for Democrat Tom Wolf and the defeat of GOP incumbent Tom Corbett:


“My friend, Tom Corbett, arrived to work at the Capitol four years ago when Harrisburg was in historically difficult fiscal times. He kept his word, made some very tough, yet necessary, decisions and did a good job as Governor. Michele and I thank Tom and Susan for their years of public service and wish them nothing but the best.


“Tonight we must respect the voters’ decision to go in a different direction for Pennsylvania. I wish Tom Wolf and his team well as they embark on a new and exciting journey into office. Governor-elect Wolf deserves every opportunity to be successful and I look forward to being helpful in any way that I can.


Original article may be found here.