Business owner declares candidacy for State Senate
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Jack London, the president and chief executive officer of the London Financial Group in West Chester, has begun what will be a year-long effort to defeat State Sen. Andrew Dinniman (D), in order to represent the 19th District in the State Senate in Harrisburg, in an election that will be decided next November.
London, a Republican, officially announced his candidacy on Nov. 12 at the Avondale Fire Company, before 50 friends, family and business associates. In his opening remarks, London excoriated the current political system – and in particular, state government in Harrisburg – accusing it of being a "business as usual" environment, run by professional politicians.
Advertising his candidacy from the standpoint of being an outsider, London extolled the virtues of his 20 years in the private sector as a financial services leader, which have focused on wealth management, equipment finance and private equity. It’s a skill set that London said would make him be able to better circumvent through the often murky waters of getting things done in state government,.
"Are you tired of government looking to you every time there is a problem, to your wallet?" London said. "Do you feel that government service should be a service and not a career? Would you like to see someone go to Harrisburg and work on reforming the systems that are broken?"
Sen. Dinniman has served in Pennsylvania legislature since 2006. Prior to serving the 19th District in Harrisburg, he served for 15 years as Chester County Commissioner, making him the longest serving commissioner in county history.
During his speech, London directed most of his attention toward his opponent.
"I understand the pain that small businesses go through every day – health care costs, red tape, taxes – these things are killing American small business every day," he said. "In stark contrast, Politician Andy Dinniman has no experience in the private sector. Andy Dinniman has lived off the taxpayer his entire career. Let me repeat that, his entire career. Andy Dinniman’s lack of understanding of private business resonates in his lack of understanding in the economy, and how government affects private business.
"How can we expect someone who collects three taxpayer-funded pensions to work on reforming a woefully-underfunded pension plan, to the tune of $50 million," he added. "How can we expect someone who takes money from unions and special interests to privatize and modernize (the sale of liquor in the Commonwealth), when the fact is the doing that would threaten the very unions who give him money?"
London continued his tirade against Dinniman, accusing his opponent of siding with Gov. Wolf in the continued wrangling that continue to delay approval of the State budget, as well as voting against emergency funding to keep health services such as health centers, rape crisis centers and senior centers afloat in nearby Montgomery County.
"Folks, Chester County is right behind them," London said. "What really irks me is that the state legislature put forth a stop-gap measure that provided emergency funding for these centers, and your state senator voted against it. Andy Dinniman voted against the most vulnerable people in this state, and sided with the political bosses."
James Ciarrocchi of Sher-Rockee Mushrooms in Lincoln University, was joined by other mushroom industry leaders, in introducing London. Making a veiled reference to Dinniman, Ciarrocchi said that the growth in the business world has been stifled by the actions of government, particularly by professional politicians who have no ‘Real World’ experience. The only way to solve this problem, he said, will be to elect those with private sector experience.
"We need to elect people who are running for office to serve the public, not those looking for a job serving themselves," Sherockee said. "Jack London is a businessman. Jack London knows what it takes to create jobs, and to grow a business. Today is the day we say, ‘Enough is enough. We need to stop electing politicians to office, and start electing business leaders."
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .