Heard in City Hall reported last week that electrician's union chief John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty was shedding no tears at the downfall of State Rep. Dwight Evans, the Philadelphia Democrat who lost his position as his party's ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. And we reported that Dougherty might also have had some influence on what happened to Evans, even if it meant sacrificing power to Western Pennsylvania.
Well, Johnny Doc wasted no time playing his advantage. For the last five years the electricians have held one of the big bashes at the annual Pennsylvania Society gala in New York, and with this year's event scheduled for this weekend, who might be the featured guests of honor? How about Gov.-elect Tom Corbett and Sam Smith, who will become speaker of the house in January? Both are Western Pennsylvania Republicans.
Word has it that the party wasn't even going to be held this year because of the poor economic climate and the delicate issue of partying at the Waldorf Astoria while many tradespeople are out of work. But then Corbett reached out to Dougherty, just to say he was looking forward to his event this year. And the party was on!
The event is hosted by Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Penn-Del-Jersey chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association. Dougherty, in an interview, was quick to point out that the cost is covered by marketing dollars paid for by contractors in the labor agreement that covers Local 98 workers. So, according to Doc, it's all about business.
"With all the alternative energy options out there, we just want people to understand what the men and women of Local 98 do for a living," he said.
Not that Republicans are strangers to this bash. As has become a tradition, gift bags will feature Asher's Chocolate, straight from GOP national committeeman Bob Asher.
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