Republican State Rep. Candidate Vows Better Voice for Bala Cynwyd
Linda Wolfe-Bateman faces off against incumbent Rep. DeLissio this fall.
Republican state representative candidate Linda Wolfe-Bateman claims to hold moderate political stances. Talking to her for a few minutes, you'll get that impression.
The Roxborough resident vying to sway voters from incumbent Rep. Pamela DeLissio (D) in the 194th District this fall is quick to criticize Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, credit Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter, and holds liberal social positions—she doesn't feel the government should interfere with issues like abortion and gay marriage.
However, as a life-long Republican and long-time government employee, Wolfe-Bateman says she can give constituents from Bala Cynwyd, Belmont Hills, Roxborough and Manayunk a better stake in what happens in Harrisburg by being a member of the current majority party.
For her, the economic climate dictates only a few issues take precedent and that's the standard she holds herself and others to.
"There are a lot of convoluted, polarizing issues. But what's important are schools, jobs, and businesses. We need to collect revenue for the state in a responsible way—we can't just cut, to cut," she said.
Wolfe-Bateman, 60, grew up in Germantown, where she married and raised her five children. For a stint she worked in retail, living in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia. She returned to Philadelphia in 1979 and began working on Republican campaigns. In the 1980s, she became the Republican 12th Ward leader—a position she still holds.
Twice before, she ran for state representative in the 198th district, in 1984 and 1990. Last year, she unsuccessfully vied to be the register of wills in Philadelphia. Read our profile here.
In 2000, Wolfe-Bateman moved to Roxborough in a house near the former Levering School on Monastery Avenue. She worked as a supervisor with Commonwealth's Inheritance Tax Division for 10 years. From that experience, she said, she saw Republican and Democratic administrations cut directly from the source of revenue.
"The Revenue Department has huge case backlogs. Nearly every cut from our department was unnecessary. Every time you take away from us, you're taking money away from the state."
Wolfe-Bateman lays out several ideas, including:
- Cutting education checks directly to parents;
- Privatizing (slowly) state stores;
- Increasing revenue by empowering agencies to collect delinquent taxes; and
- Encourage businesses development.
Regarding education, she proposes taking 5 percent of money allocated to schools and instead put it in parents' pockets. Four percent goes to parents and 1 percent to schools directly—not districts. She said this encourages parents to put the money directly to classrooms. Additionally, parents can use the money for extracurricular programs.
"Parents would have a role in where the money goes," she said, adding this could get funneled through Home and School Associations, as well.
Though she agrees with the Republican administration's plan, in theory, to privatize state-owned liquor stores, she disagreed with the recently defeated bill, calling it poorly written and doubting its political potential (the interview was conducted before the bill died).
"They just want to do it to do it. A real law must be at least a four-year process. You can't just dump all of those union workers on the street," she said.
In addition to her plan to raise revenue by hitting delinquent property tax payments hard, Wolfe-Bateman said the state rep must be a recruiter for the 194th District.
"Among other things, I think Lower Merion residents are interested in jobs. Clearly there are different issues there than in the city," she said, adding Lower Merion residents are "environmentally astute" and she was looking forward to studying their issues.
She calls the ideas moderate and thinks having a Republican represent the 194th District gives citizens a better say in Harrisburg. Wolfe-Bateman says DeLissio has yet to get a bill passed, and she sees that as a legislator's primary mission. DeLissio, in the minority party, admits to this hamstring, and instead says she focuses on amendments as a way for a freshman Democrat to impact legislation.
One of Wolfe-Bateman's main campaign objectives is to give voters a choice. During the 2010 campaign, candidate Timothy Downey, she said, helped the party out, but didn't really promote why a Republican was a good alternative to DeLissio. Green Party candidate Hugh Giordano even defeated Downey in several precincts.
She knows Democrats hold an advantage in voters and doesn't anticipate campaign money to come in from outside the district. She also doesn't foresee ballot help from the presidential election.
"I have the attitude that I'm going to win. Otherwise, why am I doing it?" she said. "I want to be a candidate that rallies and gives people a choice. We need to give the Democrats in Philadelphia a challenge."
Visit her campaign website for more information.