Sunday, August 30, 2015

A different PA Society approach

One candidate for PA governor is taking a different approach to the annual PA Society weekend in NYC.

A different PA Society approach

Tom Wolf, of York County, is seeking the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania governor. (Photo from
Tom Wolf, of York County, is seeking the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania governor. (Photo from

Tom Wolf, one of eight announced Democrats for governor, is taking a different approach to the annual PA Society weekend set for Dec.13-14 in NYC.

You know the gig, right?

Big-shot Pennsylvanians (and wannabe big shots) migrate to The Apple for a few days of parties, receptions, shopping and general excess to celebrate themselves and spend money in another state during the holidays.

The weekend includes a black-tie dinner in the ballroom of Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This year is the 115th dinner. It always comes with an honoree who at least has some ties to Pennsylvania. This year it's Vice President Biden (boyhood home was Scranton). Past honorees include Andrew Carnegie, Dwight Eisenhower, Joe Paterno, Bill Cosby and George H. W. Bush.

Anyway, pols always use the weekend to be seen. Many host their own receptions. Some hold fundraisers for themselves.

This year, Tom Wolf, the wealthy York County biz-guy who's pledged to spend $10 million of his own to win the Democratic nomination to oppose Gov. Corbett, is doing something different.

Wolf, who bills himself "a different kind of leader," a businessman who's never run for office, sent a letter this week to friends and supporters saying that while he plans to attend the weekend he won't be hosting a reception.

Instead, he and his wife Frances are contributing the cost of such a reception (around $15,000) evenly to three Pennsylvania food banks: one in Philly, one in Pittsburgh and one in Harrisburg.

I know what you're thinking. Publicity stunt to get little-known Wolf some notice? Charity-giving to make all other Society indulgers look bad? Anything to separate Wolf from the pack?

Don't care. When good works get done motivation doesn't matter. This is a good thing. More should follow Wolf's path. In fact, more should consider moving the weekend to Pennsylvania and spending their money in their own state.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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