Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MCRC Press Release: MCRC Censures Matthews

The Montgomery County Republican Committee adopted a unanimous resolution censuring County Commissioner Jim Matthews on Monday.

(Click on image to enlarge)

“Since I was elected chairman and even while I was campaigning, everywhere I went, I was asked ‘What are we going to do about Jim Matthews’?,” Chairman Bob Kerns said.

“The voters I talk to feel betrayed and the Republican committee members are just devastated by Jim’s actions. The voters placed their trust in Jim Matthews and Bruce Castor and the committee members put their hearts into the campaign to elect the Matthews-Castor team last year. This has been a difficult year for everyone,” Kerns said.

Kerns was referring to Matthews’ announcement on December 18, 2007 that he would form a government with Democrat Joseph Hoeffel as Vice Chairman of the County Commissioners in exchange for Hoeffel supporting Matthews for Chairman and appointing Matthews’ political allies as County Solicitor and Human Resources Director.

“Republicans have done a great job running Montgomery County and that is why the voters have consistently elected Republican majorities to the County Commission. It’s been based on our record and the things we stand for, not our political affiliation. Our committee members delivered that good government message to the voters last year and the voters responded by electing our team. But the Matthews-Castor team is not what they got,” Kerns said.

“Montgomery County’s voters pick the person, not the party. It’s been that way for two decades and Jim Matthews and Bruce Castor campaigned on a set of priorities that are not being implemented. Instead, we’re implementing the major priorities outlined by Joe Hoeffel and Ruth Damsker, but that agenda was rejected by voters in favor of a Matthews-Castor agenda. The voters have to know we don’t condone what’s happening in Norristown,” Kerns said.

As an example Kerns cited the Hoeffel promises of hiring a Chief Financial Officer, enacting a $50 million econom ic development plan, and Hoeffel’s record in the 1990’s of running up debt and paying for budget items with bond issues.

“When Hoeffel left the Board of Commissioners in 1998 he left us with hundreds of millions in debt and just $12 million in the bank. Our AAA bond rating was threatened. It was a disaster. Hoeffel and Matthews are pursuing policies that will put us right back in the same hole. This year alone they are looking to raid the county’s dwindling savings to pay for their programs. It’s not the way Republicans would run this government. Jim Matthews got elected in 1999 and again in 2007 by pointing out what a disaster Hoeffel was as a commissioner in the 1990’s. Now he’s forming a government with him and implementing Hoeffel’s agenda? It makes no sense and our committee and the voters are confused and hurt,” Kerns said.

Kerns hoped that his unanimous election as Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee in May would bring Matthews back to the table.

“I did meet with him in early summer in the hope s of bridging the divide between he and his Republican colleagues in county government. He made it clear that he was not interested in any kind of reconciliation. I continued to pursue the matter through intermediaries throughout the fall,” Kerns said.

“At some point, we have to decide to move on and accept that, based on his actions, he is not a Republican anymore. No matter how often Jim insists he is a Republican, you are ultimately judged by how you govern and your record, not your words,” Kerns said.

Kerns said on Election Day many committee members reported incidents where voters stopped to express their disgust with Matthews on their way into the polls.

“It is becoming a distraction and our voters are confused. It is time to take action and then put this matter behind us and move on without Jim Matthews. We’ve got important elections to win in 2009. We cannot have this kind of sideshow playing out where the same party that is advocating for School Board, Township and Borough offices and Judicial positions is the one that can’t seem to get on the same page at the county. It weakens our message,” Kerns said.

“In the end, Jim’s actions are the actions of an individual, not the Party. That is the message I hope people take away from this resolution. The party is standing up and making its position clear. We don’t agree with Jim, we don’t condone what he’s doing as a Commissioner and he’s not representative of our Party as long as he’s engaging in this behavior. Don’t blame the Party for the actions of one man,” Kerns concluded.

56 Municipal Leaders, Area Leaders and Executive Committee members attended the Leadership Conference called by Chairman Kerns on Monday evening.

No comments:

Obama Countdown