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Tax cuts top Swann agenda

Rendell’s challenger sees a battle of efficiency vs. inefficiency.

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann says tax cuts and economic growth top his agenda should he defeat current Gov. Ed Rendell.

TIMES LEADER STAFF PHOTO/CLARK VAN ORDEN

WILKES-BARRE – On almost everything except his football analysis, Republican state governor candidate Lynn Swann positioned himself Monday as the alternative to what he sees as Gov. Ed Rendell’s fiscal irresponsibility and ineffectiveness.

“He touts himself as a reformer. Come on! He’s a typical machine-politician,” Swann said while fielding questions from the Times Leader’s editorial board on Monday. “I don’t think governing is the thing he does best.”

Swann claimed Rendell’s leadership forces residents to pay $2,700 more each year “just to live in Pennsylvania” because taxes and administrative costs have increased.

Tax cuts, specifically property-tax relief, economic growth and adding “efficiency experts” to governmental offices to cut fat topped his goals for office.

He stressed the importance of governmental transparency, noting the commonwealth has no lobbyist-disclosure law. He also called for legislation that would require a 72-hour waiting period for public comment before a governor signs any bill.

“We just want to make sure there is public access” to state government information, he said.

Swann said he joined the governor’s race after he “looked around Pennsylvania and thought the (state government) process was no good.” Political experience or favors to the Republican Party weren’t factors in his decision to run, he said.

“It’s not part of my DNA. … I play to win,” he said.

Addressing his political inexperience, Swann invoked the names of past celebrities-turned-politicians such as former actor and President Ronald Reagan, former pro wrestler/Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and former pro basketball player/U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley.

“I think there’s a history of citizen-politicians in this country,” said Swann, a pro football Hall of Fame member who thrilled Pittsburgh Steelers fans for nine years in the mid-’70s and early ’80s.

Acknowledging Rendell’s commitment to alternative energy, he said Rendell has “done an all right job positioning us” for the industry’s future but asked, “Where is the economic development?”

Small businesses aren’t growing, he said, and Rendell is shifting jobs around the state rather than bringing in new ones.

Like Rendell, however, Swann cautiously predicted that both the Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles have a shot at the championship but admitted he “sure would be a poor leader” if he didn’t proclaim his support for the Steelers.

He echoed Rendell’s observation that Pittsburgh plays in a tough division and said the question is whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger improves his ability to lead the offense.

ON THE WEB

To hear an audio clip of Lynn Swann’s interview with the Times Leader editorial board, go to www.timesleader.com.

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