July 2017

​Obamacare, Socialism, and the Republicans

          Many conservative pundits are commenting with disdain on the inability of congressional Republicans to come together to repeal Obamacare.  They speak of Republicans as if they were one big homogenous unit of people with the same views and values, or the same real or perceived constituencies.

          They are not.

          The motives and philosophies of elected Republicans are not all the same.  Some believe government is too big, such as Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and a maybe few others in the Senate.  Some believe government just needs to be “managed” better.  Some believe it is just fine if government continues to grow, and think the answer is expanding the private sector to support it.  Some are just socialists in Republican clothing.

          To blame all Republicans for the failures of a few is a mistake.  Yes, compromise is involved in putting together legislation.  But even in compromise, the legislation must be moving in the correct direction towards your end goal, not in the opposite direction.

          There are Republicans in the Senate who are afraid to vote against the entitlement state.   Liberals in their states are screaming at them that they are pushing Granny off the cliff.  These Republicans seem unable or incapable of identifying the huge problems with socialized medicine and Obamacare, and worse, seem unable to defend the principles of free market reforms.

          So is the answer to disavow the entire Republican Party for the few who are the problem?  I say no, it is not.

          The answer is to get better at electing free-market conservatives.  Challenge Republicans in Primaries who don’t support the conservative agenda.  If your senator is one of the “good guys,” support a conservative challenger in another state.  Support principled PACs that will only support reform-minded Republicans where and when needed.

          Get active yourself in your local Party.  Become a committee member.  Learn effective “get out the vote” techniques to help your candidates.

          But leave the Republican Party?  Who are you going to leave it to?   I say stay and fight and get better at winning future elections.

​June 2017

I want to applaud and thank President Trump and the Republican Congress for their efforts in fixing the damage that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done to our citizens.

          The ACA was a disaster from the beginning.  Remember, “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in the bill”?  President Obama promised Americans that their premiums would go down, and that they would be able to keep their current doctors and insurance plans if they chose to.

          Not only were both of these promises not true, the Obama administration knew they were not true when they made them.  Obama’s healthcare architect Jonathan Gruber admitted later that if they had told the American people the truth about the bill, it would have never passed.

          The objective was never to give everyone "affordable" universal healthcare.  The objective was to force unsustainable mandates on insurance companies which would in turn force weaker players out of the market to create a defacto “single payer” system, which was always the Democrats’ goal.

          And of course, premiums have gone no place but up since the ACA was put in force. 

          Millions of Americans lost their private insurance as a result of the ACA, and were forced into lesser plans at higher costs.

          Of course, as in any socialist scheme, there are winners and losers.  Some individuals received insurance who didn’t have it before.  But the total cost to taxpayers has not been contained, access to care has not improved, and insurers are leaving the market in droves.

          Now Republicans have the unfortunate task of trying to put the genie back in the bottle and to try to restore some semblance of functioning markets to create competition and drive down costs.   Competition and reduction in regulations are the only methods of reducing costs known to mankind.  Price controls and mandates only reduce access to care and hinder innovation in healthcare delivery.

          Republicans cannot wave a magic want and reduce costs.  Only functioning markets can do that.  Let’s hope we get a good bill that can begin to do that.

I want to applaud and thank President Trump and the Republican Congress for their efforts in fixing the damage that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done to our citizens.


February 5th, 2017

On Saturday, February 4th, 2017, over 300 members of the Pennsylvania Republican Committee met in Hershey to elect a new Chairman and to endorse statewide judicial candidates. Attending from Blair County were myself, Representative Judy Ward, Judy Berryman, County Commissioner Bruce Erb, and Cristi Waltz as a proxy for Mitch Cooper.

Chester County Chairman Val DiGiorgio was elected Chair in a close and hotly-contested race against Republican Committee General Counsel Lawrence Tabas, who was responsible for winning the recount lawsuit in Pennsylvania this past year. Chairman DiGiorgio had been endorsed by Senator Toomey, National Committeeman Bob Asher, former Chairman Alan Novak, and many of our Republican legislators.

We wish our new Chairman much success, and we look forward to working with him to win stateside races and build the Republican Party in Pennsylvania!

The state committee also unanimously endorsed a slate of candidates for 7 statewide judicial seats, approximately 20% of the entire state judiciary (Visit our “candidates” page for the full list). They also endorsed Justice Thomas Saylor and Judge Jackie Shogun for retention in the General Election.

We look forward to helping you get acquainted with our excellent slate of candidates before November! I look forward to seeing you at one of our many upcoming events!

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Today was the first of six regional caucus meetings of the Pennsylvania Republican

Committee before our Winter meeting on February 4th. The Central Caucus, the largest

caucus in the state Party, met in Harrisburg to hear from 15 candidates vying for 7

statewide judicial seats up for election in 2017.

Each candidate was permitted to speak for 5 minutes, and then 5 minutes were

allotted for the Caucus members to question the candidates.

In addition, the Caucus members had had the opportunity to hear from and/or speak

with various candidates in less formal settings before the meeting.

After hearing from each of the candidates, the Caucus members then had discussion

time without the candidates in the room. After discussion, secret ballots are passed out,

voted, and collected by the tellers.

Here are the Results of the Straw Poll:

Pennsylvania Supreme Court (one open seat)
 Justice Sallie Mundy: 59 votes
 Judge Judy Olson: 37 votes

Justice Mundy was elected to the Superior Court in 2009. In July of 2016, she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is expiring at the end of this year. Before 2009, she was a practicing attorney with a Philadelphia law firm. Justice Mundy is from rural Tioga County.

Judge Judy Olson was also elected to the Superior Court in 2009. Before that, she sat on the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County for 2 years. She was a practicing attorney in Pittsburgh since 1984.

Pennsylvania Superior Court (4 open seats)
  Blair County Judge Wade Kagarise: 79 votes
  Philadelphia Judge Paula Patrick: 74 votes
  Northampton Judge Emil Giordano: 72 votes
  Lancaster D.A. Craig Stedman: 68 votes
  Former D.A. from Montour County Rebecca Warren: 45 votes
  Former Judge Carmen Minora from Lackawanna County: 6 votes
  Pike County D.A. Ray Tonkin: 3 votes
  District Judge David Barton from Allegheny County: 1 vote
  District Judge Mary Murray from Allegheny County: 0 votes

Commonwealth Court (2 open seats)
  Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon from Delaware County: 84 votes
  Pittsburgh Attorney Paul Lalley: 76 votes
  Erie Attorney Matt Wolford: 12 votes
  Elections Attorney Ken Suter: 9 votes

Below is some add additional information on our candidates. I will update you again after our Winter meeting on February 4th!

In the meantime, I hope to see you at one of the campaign events going on in Blair County this month! (Click on our “events” page for details!)

Lois Kaneshiki


Blair County Republican Committee


Judge Wade Kagarise is a judge in Blair County. He was elected in 2013. Before that, he worked in the Blair County D.A.’s office for 15 years, in addition to having a private practice.

Judge Paula Patrick grew up in North Carolina. She moved to Philadelphia and established a law office in 1993. She was elected judge in Philadelphia in 2003, and retained in 2013.

Emil Giordano was elected judge in Northampton County in 2003 and retained in 2013. Before that he was an attorney in private practice. He served in the D.A.’s office 1985-87.

Craig Stedman was first elected District Attorney in Lancaster County in 2008, and has been re-elected twice since then. Before that he was Assistant D.A. since 1991. He served as a tactical intelligence officer for the U.S. Army Reserves 1986-96.

Rebecca Warren from Montour County has 26 years of experience in civil, criminal and family law. She was D.A. in Montour County in 2012-2016.

Carmen Minora was elected judge in Lackawanna County in 1996. He served 20 years on the bench. Before that he was a district judge for 14 years.

Ray Tonkin is the D.A. in Pike County. He was re-elected to a second term in 2015.

David Barton has been a district judge in Allegheny County since 1996.

Mary Murray has been a district judge in Allegheny County for 13 years. She was the only candidate to state that she would definitely run without the state Party endorsement.

Christine Fizzano Cannon was elected Judge in Delaware County in 2011. Before that, she was in private practice in Media, Pa, since 1996.

Paul Lalley is an attorney in a Pittsburgh law firm. He was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Schultz Newman from 1997-2002. He has been practicing law since 1996.

Matt Wolford is an attorney in Erie.

Ken Suter is currently an election attorney for the State of Pennsylvania. He has served in various legal capacities since 1996.Type your paragraph here.


Lois Kaneshiki

Blair County Republican Committee

1543 Valley View Blvd.  Altoona, PA 16602