Saturday, October 16, 2010

Big endorsement!

"Woo hoo!" "Yee ha!" "Way to go, Trey!"

These are a few of the comments I have heard from supporters in response to the Sunbury Daily Item's endorsement of my campaign in todays' paper ( -- click the "editorials" button). What can I say -- I agree with my supporters!

There are two long weeks to go, 1000 doorhangers to hang, 200 yard signs to place, radio ads to make and run, a radio interview to give and the League of Women Voters' debate to attend (this Wednesday, 10/20), but right now I am feeling very excited and hopeful. Governing is a slog, and trying to get into a position to govern is a surreal and particularly stressful slog -- you never know for sure what's going to come of your efforts, but you have to keep trying. However, this is a clear, if temporary, triumph, and I am savoring it.

Thank you for your support, and if you don't support me, thanks for reading my blog. I hope I can convince you to someday become a supporter!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today's Daily Item interview

The Daily Item's Joe Deinlein wrote a really nice summation of my 1 1/2 hour meeting with the DI's editorial board yesterday. HOWEVER, at the very beginning he got a fact wrong -- the resulting image will sear itself into people's imaginations, I'm afraid, making it hard for them to take in the rest of Joe's excellent reporting.

For anyone who is reading this, I WAS NOT WEARING A "DANCE COSTUME" WHEN I WAS ASSAULTED IN PORTLAND, OREGON (not Seattle) IN THE EARLY 80's. I had been to a dance concert, and was nicely dressed (corduroys and a sweater, maybe?), but I wasn't wearin' no tutu. Still, I'm thinking of wearing a tutu to my next public appearance, just to show I can take a joke.

The point of my story was that I knocked the thug down and got away, but wish I had stopped to teach him a lesson so he wouldn't attack others who maybe couldn't defend themselves. Now I'm feeling kind of like the DI's coverage implies, "If he was wearing a dance costume out in public, he was asking for it..."


Oh, well...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

League of Women Voters' Debate 10/20

Good news! Fred Keller has, after all, decided to join us for the League of Women Voters' debate on Wednesday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Lewisburg Area High School auditorium. I hope a lot of people come to hear how Fred, Erik Viker and I stack up against each other. I am looking forward to it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

So, what does Libertarian mean, anyway?

The presence of a third party candidate in a political campaign always creates an exciting dynamic, and the big question is always: “Who will he take votes from?”

In the case of the current race for the 85th District, I had assumed that the Libertarian would siphon votes from the Republican. Both are “no new taxes” hawks, both sleep with the Second Amendment under their pillows and both have repeatedly expressed their admiration for Ronald Reagan. However, last weekend made me question my assumptions, and made me ask: “What is a Libertarian, anyway?” My assumptions were questioned because of the things I observed at two events on Saturday, 9/25/10 – the Selinsgrove Street Fair and the Merrill Linn Conservancy fundraiser at Reptiland.

To my dismay, I saw a lot of young college-student-looking people and a few people of color walking around wearing the button or sticker of the Libertarian at the street fair. Yes, he teaches at the college in Selinsgrove and serves on the Selinsgrove Borough Council, but still I was surprised to see so many young people wearing his badge. Even more surprising was the reception he seemed to receive at the Conservancy fundraiser that night – I have known many of the attendees for many years, and I have done nothing but support conservation efforts my whole life, both as a private citizen and as an elected official. On one hand it hurt my feelings, but on the other, bigger hand, it alarmed me about the sentiment of the voters.

Now, having run for state office twice I will freely confess that I have no idea what the voters want from their candidates. My strong suspicion is that they want someone from their own party who they can stomach, despite the constant refrain you hear that “I vote the candidate, not the party.” However, there aren’t that many registered Libertarians around here, so that theory doesn’t hold water in this case.

We have heard a lot about how voters are disgusted by both parties and are looking for a change, but honestly? A single third party legislator bringing change in a 203 member assembly? Electing a Democrat from a Republican district would be as big (or bigger) a change, and said Democrat would have a chance to caucus with other Democrats and perhaps actually bring about some of this desired change.

Thinking about caucuses brought me to the question asked of the Libertarian candidate by my Lewisburg Borough Council colleague, Mike Molesevich, at last week’s Borough Council meeting: “If you want to run as an Independent, why be part of any party at all?” To which the Libertarian replied, “Good question.” Then he went on to describe the benefits of being part of a larger group, and to explain that people are joiners. But this weekend’s events have made me wonder if people understand who he has chosen to join. I would think that the conservationists would be interested to know that Libertarians believe that “Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems.” Can anyone say Exxon Valdez followed thirty years later by Deepwater Horizon?

I also would expect that college students would be interested to know that Libertarians “…call for the… abolishment of… all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution.” Bye-bye, PELL grant and federally subsidized student loan.

I would think that EVERYONE would be interested to know that “Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system.”

But wait: the Libertarian candidate has expressed many areas where he says he does not agree with the Libertarian Party. For instance, he’s said that he is a big fan of Ronald Reagan, although a 62% majority of Libertarians answered the question “How should Libertarians deal with the myth that Ronald Reagan reduced government?” with the answer “Libertarians should point out that Reagan grew government.”

He’s also said things like, “Obviously, there are some places where government has a positive role to play,” but he’s been pretty vague about where those places are. All of which brings me back to my initial question: So, what does Libertarian mean, anyway?

Don’t get me wrong – the Libertarian candidate is pleasant and likable, and I bet he’d be a lot of fun with a few beers in him, but given his performance in this campaign I’m thinking Libertarian might mean “the liberty to say anything you want that will make a voter respond positively to your candidacy.”

As the person they're being asked to vote against, I hope that people will look past the pleasant demeanor to see what it is they’re being asked to vote for. To get a better idea for yourself, check out the Libertarian Party website at

Another online interview

See SQVNews' brief interviews with the candidates who are still taking questions at:

I think it's time for a haircut...

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Arc, Susquehanna Valley Legislative Breakfast 9/24/10

I attended an inspiring and informative breakfast forum today hosted by The Arc, Susquehanna Valley. The Arc advocates for intellectually and developmentally disabled people and their families, and they gave me and the other candidates quite an education. They pointed out to us inequities in education funding, insufficient resources (or political will) resulting in long waiting lists for community-based services, difficulty with handicap-accessible transportation, special needs for dentistry that weren’t being met and other governmental slights, omissions and indignities. They showed us how the state is adding to their daily difficulties instead of helping to relieve them. Executive director Gail Leightley was the morning’s MC, or perhaps I should say headmistress. With a light touch but a firm tone, she corrected us when we went astray and kept the forum on schedule. At the end of the morning, Deb Brubaker, president of the Board of Directors, REALLY took us to school, pointing out that none of the candidates had any mention of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on our websites. She then named each of us in turn, reading back to us words we had written on our websites that might positively impact her daughter and the other beneficiaries of the Arc’s advocacy, and sternly letting us know that she hoped we would keep those promises once we were in office. When I told my wife, Amy, about this portion of the event she said, “Good for her! Oooh – I just got chills up my spine!” And I can tell you that I had chills up my spine, too, being the focus of her gaze after hearing the stories that were told and meeting some of the attendees. I would like to recommend to anyone reading this the Arc’s Respite program, which is in need of volunteers. The Respite program is aimed at giving a little relief to families caring for intellectually or developmentally disabled people, or even to disabled people who provide their own care. Being able to turn to a trusted volunteer to make dinner for a night, provide some free time to run errands alone or just provide a change of scenery can make a big difference to the differently abled and their families. I am going to talk to my family about volunteering, and I encourage you to do the same. The Arc can be reached at, or the national branch can be reached at (800) 433-5255.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Online interview

Hey --

It's been awhile. Three kids, 800 patients, Borough Council and the Recreation Authority keep me pretty busy. Oh, yeah, and this campaign...

Things are going pretty well. Meetings with the AFSCME, Chamber of Commerce, Early Childhood Education Initiative and PP&L have all gone very well, and there's more to come in the next month and a half.

The purpose of this post is to alert you to an online interview I did with last month. The link is here:

Let me know what you think, read the papers, and keep talking to your friends, families and neighbors!

Thanks a lot.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Am I serious about being elected? Ask the Grand Jury.

I’ve been asked by some people, including some of my biggest supporters, if I am serious about my run for the 85th District State House seat. They can’t believe that I would refuse to play the big-money, business-as-usual political game in order to win such a prize. To begin with, let me say again that I would love to have the job – I think I’d make an excellent legislator and make my constituents in the 85th District proud. Having said that, though, allow me to direct you to the just-released comments of the 28th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, Involving General Recommendations to the General Assembly. This investigation was commenced in August, 2007, as the result of allegations of corruption and criminal misconduct against House members of both parties, and was released on May 24th, 2010 by presiding judge Barry Feudale. The entire report may be viewed on the PA Attorney General’s website at:

The grand jury consisted of 23 citizens of Pennsylvania, whose occupations are: office clerk, used car salesman, information technology technician, group coordinator, research technician, retired supervisor, chemical engineer, teacher, 3 retirees (no occupation listed), tax collector, IT logistics analyst, sheet metal mechanic, machine operator, school district paraprofessional, highway department, business analyst and data management. Other than a lack of medical professionals, I think we can agree that this is a pretty diverse group.

Here is a summary of their findings and recommendations:

Taxpayer-funded political caucuses must end;

Reduce the number of legislative employees;

Return to the pre-1980 bi-partisan, single print shop;

Form a single, bi-partisan information technology department;

Legislators should stop acting as go-betweens for constituents with PennDoT;

Stop hiring legislative staff on a purely partisan political basis;

Consider making legislators part-time employees;

Make the budget process open and transparent;

Reform the system of per diem and allocation of caucus funds;

Each legislator should have equal staff and only one taxpayer-funded district office;

Ban the use of the same vendors for both legislative and campaign purposes;

Increase a state representative’s term from two to four years;

Institute term limits;

Reform “comp time” and “leave without pay” practices;

Ban legislative staffers from the House Democratic and Republican Campaign Committees’ premises during the normal legislative work day;

Provide standardized written ethics policies for the entire General Assembly;

Hold a limited constitutional convention to accomplish these reforms.

With the exception of instituting term limits, I strongly agree with every single one of these recommendations, and heartily applaud the Grand Jury for their thoughtful analysis of what is wrong in the PA General Assembly and how we might fix it. As for term limits, like with any complicated job I believe that one can become a better legislator with experience, and I am against instituting the need to “throw the bums out” as a constitutional requirement of modern politics. Rather, I think we need to make the process of running for office more accessible and reasonable. At the moment, as the Grand Jury notes, running for the House is a full time job all by itself. This means that only the wealthy, dishonest or overly-ambitious can even consider running for the General Assembly. None of us wants to be represented by only such people – everyone wants common sense and competence to be represented in the General Assembly as well as the advantaged, the connected and the driven.

This buck has to stop somewhere, and I don’t think we can afford to wait until a Constitutional Convention. That’s why I’m saying in my campaign, the buck stops with me. If elected, I will pledge to work to enact every one of the Grand Jury’s recommendations (except term limits – I will instead pledge to work to institute publicly funded campaigns so that everyone has a level playing field in trying to get elected). In the meantime, I will continue to hold myself forth, in word and deed, as a part-time citizen-legislator with nothing to hide, beholden to no one except my constituents, my conscience and my god.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trey Casimir Announces his Candidacy for 85th District Seat

In his office on Market St. in Lewisburg, Trey Casimir today announced his intention to run on the Democratic ticket for the 85th District seat being vacated by Russ Fairchild. Casimir said, “A bunch of my friends asked me to run for the seat back in December, but I had no beef with Russ, and I wasn’t eager to have my head handed to me again after my failed run for the 23rd District Senate seat in 2008. However, after Russ announced his resignation, I had to look at the situation in a whole new light.”

Casimir announced that, although he will be seeking his party’s nomination, and hopes to be on the ballot in November, he won’t be campaigning in the traditional sense. “Did you know that $2.7 billion was spent on state and local races in America in 2008?” he asked. “Another $6.3 billion was spent on federal races. And the person who spent the most money won 9 out of 10 times. I don’t know about you, but that seems really messed up to me, both in terms of the total amount spent and the correlation between money spent and the chances of winning. I have been elected to the Lewisburg Borough Council twice now, and haven’t spent a dime in either race. I am going to try to accomplish the same thing at the state level, or at least not to spend more than $250, which is the level at which campaign finance reporting kicks in.”

When asked if he thought it was realistic to seek a state House seat without spending more than $250, Casimir responded, “I would love to have the job, and I think I’d be able to do an excellent job and make my constituents in the 85th District proud. However, the senate race in 2008 almost ruined me, and it was a big strain on my family. Also, although I’m proud that I was four times more efficient than my opponent in terms of dollars spent for votes received, I still spent almost $70,000 of my own, friends’ and family members’ money, and at the end of the day had nothing more to show for it than an extended, extremely interesting but exhausting tour of the 23rd District.”

When asked if his announcement means he is accepting political reality and giving up before he runs, Casimir said, “Hell, no. What I’m saying is that a lot of us are fed up with the beauty pageant that modern electoral politics has become. I believe that the Founding Fathers would be sick if they could see what we have done with our elections. If we don’t change our attitudes as voters, the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow unlimited corporate and other funds into the electoral process means that the best-funded candidate will win 10 out of 10 times. As an American, I don’t accept that you can only buy an election. I am pretty well known around here, from my service on Borough Council to chairing the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority, to running for the state senate. I will answer any question from a voter or reporter – I’m in the phone book, you can contact me at and I’ll be stating my positions on a blog at I’ll also attend debates and forums, but I won’t be making any TV ads, and if you want a yard sign you’ll have to make it yourself. The only people I’ll be hurting are the political consultants, advertising agents and campaign managers I won’t be hiring. If I win, I’ll do my best to look out for the interests of my constituents, and I’ll be thrilled to be a standard bearer for a return to government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Casimir was next asked what the main topics are that face the state and the region. “In the state, especially here in Central PA, the Marcellus Shale is both the number one opportunity and the number one risk. Although not many people in the 85th District will get rich from gas drilling activity, we will certainly suffer the consequences of any accidents that occur upstream. And the whole state stands to benefit from increased revenues associated with leasing state lands, royalties received on gas extracted from those lands and taxes that are paid by the gas companies on the gas that is extracted from the ground. We have to work with the gas industry, state agencies, counties and local municipalities to get it right. Locally, we have to keep moving on the Susquehanna Thruway. The stagnation created by this project being on hold for 30 plus years is weighing on our region, keeping property owners in limbo, interfering with the smooth flow of people and goods through our region and keeping the Golden Strip a Golden Swamp, as far as traffic is concerned. Speaking of the smooth flow of goods and people, we also have to do everything we can to stop the tolling of Interstate 80. Finally, we have to work harder to support, honor and protect the most stable and prosperous industry we have in Central PA – our farmers.”

Finally, Casimir was asked what can be expected from him during the campaign and if he’s elected. “If I am elected, you can expect me to do as I have done during my service on the Lewisburg Borough Council – to reach across boundaries to find common purpose and mutual interest, and then to work my butt off to get things done. I am proud of the hundreds of hours I have put in co-chairing the sub-committee that has finally delivered an updated and improved Zoning Ordinance to the Lewisburg Borough Council. And I am proud that I was able to re-write the Intergovernmental Agreement that governs LARA’s existence to the mutual satisfaction of its participating municipalities, making it shorter and simpler in the process. And I am very proud that the committee I chair has been able to keep the Buffalo Valley Rail-Trail project on track, and that it is well on its way to becoming a great amenity for Union County. As far as the campaign is concerned, you can count on me to keep doing my job as a Lewisburg Borough Council member, my job as an acupuncturist caring for my patients, and my job as a husband and father providing for my beautiful family. If the residents of the 85th District choose me as their representative, they can count on me to put on my suit and tie and show up in Harrisburg, ready to work. However, I won’t be riding any floats, wearing make-up for my close-up or otherwise participating in the beauty pageant that our political campaigns have become.”