THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 27, 2016
One candidate for state treasurer is extraordinarily qualified. Editorial boards for The Citizens’ Voice, The Times-Tribune and The Hazleton Standard-Speaker endorse Democrat Joe Torsella over Republican Otto Voit.
Torsella has a remarkable record of not just education, but its application in the realm of public service. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a Rhodes Scholar, Torsella was deputy mayor for planning and policy for Philadelphia. He was a principal architect of then Mayor Ed Rendell’s turnaround plan that resolved a $1.2 billion deficit and began one of the great urban renaissance stories in recent history. That plan took on deeply entrenched interests, some of which were important Democratic political constituencies.
Later, Torsella exhibited similar tough-mindedness as chairman of the state Board of Education, overseeing the development of meaningful graduation requirements over the objections of education unions and others.
Torsella also was director and CEO of the National Constitution Center. In 2010, he became the U.S. representative to the United Nations for management and reform, an ambassador-level position.
As treasurer, Torsella could play a crucial role in reforming state pension systems by reducing outside investment fees. He would encourage parents to save for college by creating an account for each child born in the state and depositing $50 into it. Likewise, he would establish programs to foster pension plans for employees of small businesses, and develop programs to foster financial literacy.
Voit is a former Army officer, president of a large dental supply company and longtime member of the Muhlenberg School Board in Berks County. He says he has a record of bringing disparate parties to the table to resolve differences. But on the campaign trail, Voit has been called on at GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s rallies to lead chants of “lock her up” relative to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, declaring at one recent event that her next rally will be from prison.
That sort of fire-breathing hyper-partisanship is the last thing that the divided state government needs right now.
Torsella is the superior choice.