Who is Andy Ostrowski? We asked the same question, and the background information netted newspaper gold. Andy Ostrowski ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary for Pennsylvania’s Eleventh Congressional District, and is now the Democratic opponent to Republican incumbent Lou Barletta.
Not sure if you are in the Eleventh District? You are not alone. The Eleventh District was redrawn during the state’s 2011–2012 legislative session. Since January 3, 2013, the region includes the east-central part of the state. It spreads from Carlisle, through Berwick, to just west of Scranton. The map can show it best. The old district boundaries are also pictured. The change shifted the district from a Democratic stronghold to a Republican one. Cook PVI, which measures how strongly a district politically leans, places the new district at an R +6. The Cook PVI algorithm compares a district’s average to the average of the party’s share of the past two presidential elections. R +6 ranks the Republicans as a strong favorite, six percentage points ahead of the average national share of Republican voting in a presidential election. From the mid-80s to 2010, it was a Democratic area held by Paul Kanjorski. Lou Barletta unseated Paul four years ago and the redistricting has changed the tide even more in his favor. Lou is a shoo-in this year.
Not many Democrats would jump in and spend a war chest into a headwind. Not against a strong opponent like Lou Barletta. So, in steps Andy Ostrowski. With limited money, but a conviction for judicial reform, Andy hit the streets, announcing his views on judicial reform and giving witness to his civil rights background. And he is garnering support. The Democratic David is taking on Goliath. So who is this guy, the powerhouse of the Democratic Party?
Nope, actually the Party asked him not to run, to drop out. Jason Wagner supported Reverend Micah Sims (not an ardent Second Amendment supporter like Ostrowksi) with a disclosure statement.
Andy is a civil rights advocate like Jesse Epps, pictured here. Epps is a former advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Andy has represented minorities, whistle-blowers, police officers, and public servants. A firm constitutionalists, he fought to protect the rights of all Americans by taking his clients’ cases all the way to trial.
At the time of our interview, a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender group was his only official endorsement. He is seeking more, but is used to this kind of uphill battle. Look at his record. He is passionate about placing cameras in the courtroom to reduce judicial misconduct, maintaining that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Transparency combined with a common law grand jury will at the forefront of his objectives if elected to the Eleventh District.
Voter ID? Andy is against it, reminding voters that the state reported no evidence of existing voter fraud. Andy is a constitutionalist, so in reference to the rumors of an Obama third term, he laughed, believing that the constitution will need to be amended first. When discussing the minimum wage, Andy spoke at the length about problems inherent with such a blanket policy. With corporations gaming the system, he was skeptical whether such a change would net the desired results. Our conversation extended into the differences between free enterprise, capitalism, and corporatism. He identifies corporatism as the root cause of our political ills. He places the responsibility on the government to control the corporations. The power of the government needs to be expanded to control and regulate corporations, according to Andy. The state’s responsibility is to “protect and preserve,” providing clean air and water to the residents of Pennsylvania.
“We need to take back the power, and restore the true meaning of ‘the consent of the governed,’ ” Andy says. He possesses a strong background in history, and so I asked, “In the spirit of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, what is your government-life exit plan?” He chuckled and mentioned his career dream of US House, US Senate, and a term or two as president.
The Independent Gazette is introducing a feature called “Give ‘em a Grade,” where regular citizens can grade people they meet or hear about. In doing so, we hope to expand the voice of the citizens.
I asked Andy to give Obama a grade. He gives Obama a “C,” saying that he did not provide the change promised. And Obamacare? Andy went with a “C- or a D,” stating the idea was good, but he felt that corporations and lobbyists saw the writing on the wall. They saw the tide shifting toward its passing, so rather than fighting it anymore they helped write it to their advantage.
So, in walked Andy Ostrowski — you can read more at Andy’s website www.ostrowskiforcongress.com.