Daley to face Cook in 49th District
The Valley’s longest standing state lawmaker, Peter J. Daley touts more than three decades of achievements in seeking re-election to the 49th Legislative District.
His Republican opponent, Bud Cook, hopes to use his e-business and Main Street Program experience to promote the district’s communities in Washington and Fayette counties as destination points for tourism and tourism dollars.
Daley touts experience, successes
A California Democrat, Daley was first elected in 1982 to the state House.
He served as California mayor from 1974 to 1982.
“I think we’ve been very successful bringing programs and projects back to the Mon Valley and the district,” said Daley, 64.
Daley said he has made his mark on the Valley and throughout Harrisburg during his stints on various influential committees.
As chairman of the consumer affairs committee, Daley lead an investigation into a spike in electric bills among consumers who chose variable over fixed rates. That action led to an attorney general’s investigation and new legislation which sets caps, and limits electric suppliers’ ability to sign up consumers for variable rate contracts.
Daley said he created the Governor’s Response Team 20 years ago, since renamed the Governor’s Action Team.
As chairman of the agriculture committee, Daley said he created The Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment Act, a process for farmers to seek review of local ordinances believed to be more restrictive of agricultural operations than permitted under State Law.
Daley said he sponsored the bill that created the PACE prescription program in 1984.
“Three weeks ago, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of my program, PACE,” Daley said. “That was my program. Over 300 million prescriptions for seniors have been filled over the years.”
Daley said as chairman of House commerce committee, he wrote the legislation that created tax-free enterprise zones, for Aliquippa and Allenport.
“My fingerprints are on a number of major pieces of legislation,” said Daley.
Daley said he has brought more than $150 million in infrastructure funding for communities in his district during his career.
“If re-elected, I’m going to focus on consumer affairs and transportation issues,” Daley said.
Consumer affairs issues will include utility rates and campaign finance reform, Daley said.
He would seek a better formula for funding transportation improvements, saying he voted against the hike in the oil franchise tax.
Daley said the state needs to review how to address education funding, adding that he believes the plan by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolfe “makes sense.” Wolfe has advocated enacting a severance tax on natural gas extraction to fund education in the state.
“In a large regard, we left $3 billion on the table in last three years that would have funded the education budget,” Daley said.
“We’re not going to lose those businesses because we’re going be epicenter for that business for next 50 years.”
Cook seeks destination points
GOP hopeful Cook, 58, of West Pike Run, is a self-employed e-marketing coach, operating 1BCEP. He teaches high profile companies how to use technology to enhance their business.
He wants to use that experience to promote the 49th district as a destination point for tourism.
A 1974 graduate of California Area High School, he received a bachelor of science degree in psychology and government from West Virginia Wesleyan in 1978
He served as alumni director at West Virginia Wesleyan and vice president of Mountaineer Mart in West Virginia.
Beginning in the early 1980s, he served two terms on city council in Buchanan, W.Va., where he worked on the city’s Main Street program and spoke on behalf of the program throughout the state of West Virginia.
At the same time, he worked on Jay Rockefeller’s second gubernatorial campaign in the early 1980s.
He moved back to Pennsylvania in 1990, when he worked as an account executive for CBM and Associates.
Asked why he chose to seek state office after nearly a quarter century out of the political ring, Cook said, “It’s a need to do as opposed to a want to do.
“Professional politicians look at the problems, I look at the potential in the Valley,” Cook said.
If elected, Cook said he plans to unveil his Destination Points plan to promote the Valley and surrounding communities. Cook sees an abundance of tourism opportunities in the region. He noted such destination points as the Donora Smog Museum, the Monongahela aquatorium and the city’s historic neighborhoods, the Marianna Canoe Race and the West Brownsville Railroad Museum.
If promoted on a larger scale, it could bring tourism and jobs to the area, Cook said.
“We need to make the Valley a destination point,” Cook said. “Singly, as communities, we don’t have as much power as we do collectively.”
Cook hopes to combine his experience in e-marketing and the main Street Program to allow the Valley to compete on a worldwide stage as a destination point.
“We need to work together to jointly. Marianna doesn’t know about the Smog Museum or Cement city and Donora doesn’t know about the Marianna Canoe Race. If we in valley don’t know about what going on in the alley how can anyone else know?
Cook said he envisions a single website so that someone coming into the valley can find what’s going on in the valley
“The Valley is a great place to raise a family and a terrible place to get a job,” Cook said. “Our greatest export is our smartest young people.”
“When you go to the polls, go down main street and ask if this is the best we can do after 32 years.”
“People in power are trying to hit a home run with (attracting) major industrial employers,” Cook said. “This program is more designed to hit singles and doubles.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or [email protected].