Latest updates from the campaign:
Election Results and Thank You
Final score, Vera Cole 13,346 (42%), Craig Staats 18,673 (58%).
Thanks to 2008-candidate Tom Peterson, for sharing this perspective, “You earned more votes than any democrat in the 145th ever (819 more votes that I had). More important you had the largest percentage of the vote ever as well, 41.68%.” (In the 145th, about 35% of registered voters are Democrats.) Yay team, congratulations to all of us!
To all of you, near and far, who contributed your time, money, creativity, attention, affection and good humor...heartfelt thanks! These are precious gifts and are what made this campaign so special. We did what we set out to do, as Gandhi says, “to be the change we want.” We worked inclusively and in harmony, reaching out to others and approaching our differences with kind and respectful candor. With all the pressure and uncertainty, as far as I know, never was a single harsh word spoken or written between us. I felt it was a campaign of character, substance and grace and hope that the campaign itself may have made the world a little better place. I know it made me a better person.
I really wish we had won! But we didn’t. So, life has other purpose now. As each of us figures our way forward from this election day, I’ll remind you as I remind myself, ah, to be joyful in the time that we have been given.
Thanks again. Stay in touch! With love, Vera
The Intelligencer: "In the 145th, we pick Cole"
Published by The Intelligencer · Oct 26, 2016
Following in the footsteps of longtime Republican state Reps. Marvin Weidner and Paul Clymer in the 145th Legislative District, GOP Rep. Craig Staats is seeking his second term representing the Upper Bucks district. Included in the district are East and West Rockhill, Milford, Perkasie, Quakertown, Richland, Richlandtown, Sellersville, Springfield and Trumbauersville.
The district's long tradition of Republican representation presents a stiff test for Democratic challenger Vera Cole. Nevertheless, voters would be making a mistake dismissing the candidacy of Cole, who heads up the Energy and Sustainability Policy program at Penn State University.
Staats has settled in comfortably in the Republican-controlled state House. We might say a little too comfortably. He cites his biggest achievement of his freshman term as the on-time passage of a $31.6 billion state budget for 2016-17 that included no sales or income tax increases. Critics have panned that budget as unbalanced, however, even though Republicans claim otherwise.
Staats really surprised our editorial board when he said there exists great camaraderie among Harrisburg lawmakers. Such good feeling was hardly evident when a stalemate over the 2015-16 budget dragged on for nine months and caused genuine hardship for school districts and social service agencies all over the state. Staats agreed with our characterization of that deadlock as a "debacle" but said the budget that was finally passed was worth it, i.e., it contained no general tax hikes.
In fact, while speaking of spending more money — one area was on job training in lieu of a significant minimum wage increase — Staats didn't have much to say about where additional revenue would come from. He spoke approvingly of the Republicans' hybrid pension plan for new state employees and teachers but had no answer when asked about the pension funds' $60 billion deficit.
Cole clearly has different and, we believe, more realistic ideas when it comes to fixing Pennsylvania's money problems. She would address the tax system itself and isn't afraid of raising revenue, if necessary, with variable taxation on different kinds of income, plus an expansion of the sales tax. She supports a higher minimum wage of $15 an hour and believes robust public education is preferable to charter schools. Both she and Staats seem to favor a longer term of office than two years. Staats said term limits should be dictated at the polls; Cole supports a set term limit.
Staats said his biggest disappointment as a first-term lawmaker was the level of frustration he experienced in Harrisburg. Voters, too, are frustrated by the political polarization that exists despite Staats' claims to the contrary. Cole, we think, would bring a fresh outlook to the office, and the leadership skills she's honed in the private sector could prove invaluable.
We like what Cole brings to the table: an enthusiasm to serve the 145th that's not grounded in party ideology. She has our endorsement.
FLYER-Vera Cole, A postive new voice for Upper Bucks
ELECTION 2016: Cole, Staats vie for 145th District seat
Perkasie News Herald
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
By Bob Keeler
@bybobkeeler on Twitter
Democrat Vera Cole, a political newcomer who labels herself an “engineer, educator, friend to all,” and incumbent Republican Craig Staats, a former Richland Township Board of Supervisors member who two years ago was elected to his first term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, are this year’s candidates for the 145th District seat.
The district includes East Rockhill, Milford, Richland, Springfield and West Rockhill townships and Perkasie, Quakertown, Richlandtown, Sellersville and Trumbauersville boroughs.
Growing up on a family farm in South Carolina helped form her work ethic and connection to nature, Cole said.
After previous jobs with manufacturing companies and high-tech startups, she has been lead faculty for Penn State’s energy and sustainability policy program for the past eight years, she said.
“I always tell my students to be the change you want, and I feel frustrated with Harrisburg,” said the West Rockhill resident who serves on the township’s conservation committee.
“The kind of change that I would hope to be a part of is helping us do a better job of talking to one another,” Cole said, “and working together to put the people’s interests first.”
One of her priorities is make the state’s tax system more fair, she said.
“We have one of the most unfair tax systems in the country in terms of how hard hit low- and middle-income families are. They pay more than their fair share of their income in taxes,” Cole said.
There are different short- and long-term ways of addressing the problem, she said.
“Something I look forward to the opportunity of working with others on is to make it so that we can raise the revenue that we need in a manner that’s more fair to all of our families,” Cole said.
“I also think we need to restore state funding to our school systems to continue to make sure that all children have access to a quality education regardless of where they happen to be born,” Cole said.
Educational funding must be designed so it is “taking care of our school children, but also providing property tax relief, which has become a very real problem for too many families in our community,” Cole said.
Environmental issues are also important, she said.
“We need to make very sure that we put our safe air, water and climate at the top of the list of priorities,” Cole said.
That includes transitioning to a clean energy economy, modernizing the electrical grid and helping align utility company business models with environmental interests, she said.
Information about Cole is available at veracoleforpa.com and the Vera Cole for PA State Rep Facebook page.
As a first time candidate, “I’ve had a lot to learn, but it’s just been terrific interacting with the community,” Cole said.
“I love talking with people,” she said, “and hearing their issues.”
If elected, she’ll keep doing that, she said.
“Staying close to the community is top priority with me,” Cole said.
Biographic information on Staats includes that he is a U.S. Navy veteran and has 32 years of business-related experience, including 25 years in the restaurant industry.
As he is finishing his first term in the House of Representatives, Staats said, “I really enjoy what I do. I take it very seriously. I enjoy representing the 145th District in Harrisburg and serving them back here at home.”
Accomplishments by the state government during his first term include passage of the state’s $31.6 billion 2016-17 budget, he said.
“We increased school funding while not increasing sales or income taxes,” Staats said. “I think we need to continue to be fiscally responsible as we move forward.
“Another accomplishment we made is the wine privatization act,” Staats said.
“Supermarkets with a restaurant license will now be able to sell wine, and consumers can enjoy expanded hours at the liquor stores,” he said.
Business organizations have endorsed him for re-election, he said.
“Two years ago when I was running for this seat, I said that I would be a strong representative for the business community and champion their cause, and I’m just real pleased to be able to have delivered on that promise,” Staats said. “In addition, I’m a big supporter of the Second Amendment and I picked up the endorsement of the NRA as well as Firearms Owners Against Crime.”
He said he has also been an advocate for law enforcement and firefighters.
“Open space has always been important to me as well,” Staats said.
That began with Richland Township land preservation programs and has continued in Harrisburg, where he introduced a bill to exempt conservation easements from having to pay the realty transfer tax, he said. When a conservation easement is purchased, the property cannot be further developed.
In the past, the tax had not been charged on conservation easements, he said.
“All of a sudden, there was some changes in the Department of Revenue and somebody said, ‘Hey, we can charge this realty transfer tax,’ and they started to do it and our concern was that it would become a disincentive to preserving open space,” Staats said.
The bill was not passed, but the language from it was incorporated in the 2016-17 state budget, which puts that language into law and means the tax will not be charged, he said.
His support of renewable energy sources continues, he said. Richland Township did a solar energy project while he was a supervisor and he supported the addition of solar energy at Quakertown Community High School, he said.
His committee assignments in the House of Representatives are the education, liquor control, aging & older adult services and human services committees.
The three school districts with portions in the 145th District — Pennridge, Palisades and Quakertown — are “great school districts,” Staats said.
“I’ve been working very closely with the superintendents, trying to be a strong voice for them out in Harrisburg, especially sitting on the Education Committee,” he said.
Information on Staats is available at staatsforstaterep.com and on the Craig Staats for State Representative Facebook page.
Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania endorses Vera Cole
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016
Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania endorses Vera Cole
[Sellersville, PA] – Today, Conservation Voters of PA endorsed Vera Cole for State Representative. CVPA represents thousands of individuals in the Commonwealth committed to a cleaner environment and prepared to vote for pro-environment candidates.
“Our environment is at a tipping point, and it’s more important than ever that we combat the damage being done to our air and water,” said Josh McNeil, Executive Director of CVPA. “Unfortunately, rather than protecting our environment, the current legislature of Pennsylvania has been doing the bidding of polluting industries and trying to dismantle key protections for our air and water.
Representative Craig Staats has repeatedly voted against protecting our air, water, and land—earning him a dismal 9% on our 2015-2016 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard. His anti-environmental votes included holding the state budget hostage for months fighting against environmental protections and voting to delay and weaken the crucial Clean Power Plan. Rep. Staats has consistently put the interests of polluters above the interests of her constituents.
“It is time for a change, for a candidate who puts the interests of their constituents ahead of the interests of oil and gas companies.” Said McNeil. “Vera Cole offers the change we need to stand up for our environment.”
Dr. Cole said of the endorsement, “We must make it absolutely clear that the safety of Pennsylvania’s water, air and climate is not for sale. These are non-negotiable life-sustaining necessities. Keeping them safe, clean and reliable is of utmost priority to the families and economy of Pennsylvania.”
Article 1, Section 27 of Pennsylvania’s constitution states that: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
“If Pennsylvania elects more environmental champions like Vera, we can begin to finally live up to the ideals of our constitution.”
Information about Vera can be found at www.veracoleforpa.com.
Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania is an organization dedicated to protecting the environment by passing better environmental laws and electing candidates committed to a cleaner, safer Keystone State. CVPA was founded in 2009 and built on the successful model of the national League of Conservation Voters and its affiliates in 33 states.
Peter Kostmayer, seven-term US Congressman from Bucks, attending local event in support of Vera Cole. Join us!
All are invited! Details below.
Vera Cole clip, transcript:
I am an engineer and an educator and a woman. I could not
let the Pence-Trump ticket bring their message to my area without speaking up
about the dangers of the message they present.
We do not want the kind of divisive, negative, us-vs-them language that we hear from the Pence-Trump ticket.
Vera Cole speaks at Pence Counter-Rally
On Tuesday, August 23 the Trump-Pence ticket held a rally in Upper Bucks County, with Mike Pence speaking. Vera Cole was an invited speaker at counter-rally focusing on consequences for women of the Trump-Pence ticket.
Good afternoon. I am Vera Cole. I’ve lived in Bucks County for 26 years. I am an engineer, educator, and proud grandma. I’m also running for Pennsylvania State House in the 145th district.
I’m 56 years old. When I was in high school, the girl teams weren’t allowed to use the school fields or gym after school.
When I was in college studying mechanical engineering, my professor made a joke to the class, “Teaching math to a woman is like trying to eat soup with a fork.” This kind of thing was common.
I come from humble roots in South Carolina. I had to pay my own way through college. It took me 8 years, but I did it. Most of that time I worked for minimum wage, barely making ends meet and in constant fear of one unexpected medical bill or car repair.
I stand here now with a PhD and as Lead Faculty for the Energy and Sustainability Policy program at Penn State. I tell these stories to remind us that, yes, we’ve come far, even in our lifetimes, but much still remains. And today I am called to speak about a grave new threat: the Pence-Trump ticket and its culture of disdain and disregard for women. A reminder of times that many of us remember and had hoped were long gone.
Like many of you, all my life I have fought this—men in powerful places, well-dressed and well-spoken with all the trappings of decency, but whose words and actions would make my life—and the lives of many other women— harder at every turn. That is what Pence and Trump are and what they will do.
Mike Pence is here today touting a candidate that has said it’s “rare that women are both attractive and have high IQs.” This sounds like a comment I would’ve heard and endured in 1979.
The Pence-Trump ticket thinks that guaranteeing paid family leave would make America less competitive. Trump has said that pregnancy is an “inconvenience” for employers.
Pence opposed minimum wage increases in Indiana. Trump has said that he would not act to raise the minimum wage and complained that wages are too high in America. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania are women. They deserve a living wage.
We know that women’s issues are economic issues. And while women's health is already not as secure as it should be, Trump and Pence would make it that much worse.
Mike Pence is infamous for trying to cut back on women's rights to make their own health care decisions.
Here to speak more to that is Karen Ritter from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Announcing "Spaghetti Western" Fundraiser! Live Band, Dinner (BYOB), Kids Welcome, Saturday August 13
Fundraiser party starring Quakertown's highly acclaimed Pine Valley Rhythm Jumpers and their unique blend of American Roots and Rhythm music. Check them out and hear clips here! All are invited to join us for dinner, music and all round celebration in support of Vera Cole for PA State House! Details below, any questions just let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (215) 219-7908. Western attire optional, but so cool!
Spaghetti Western Fundraiser Dinner Dance Costume Party with Wes Combs and the Pine Valley Rhythm Jumpers
Sat, Aug 13 @ 5:30 PM — 9:30 PM
by phone: 215-720-9677
mail: Friends of Vera Cole, PO Box 751, Sellersville, PA 18960-7191
donate online with credit card or PayPal. Add a note for number of tickets and name of attendees.
Available at the door
Adults, $45. Children 7 to 17, $10; 6 and under, free
State Representative Candidate Vera Cole Announces Series of Town Hall events
WEST ROCKHILL, PA, July 8, 2016. – Dr. Vera Cole, candidate for the 145th District for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, announces a series of Town Hall events for the month of July at locations around the district. The public is invited to join Vera in a conversation about ideas, experiences and concerns related to Pennsylvania state government.
“I look forward to sharing my plans and priorities, but delivering strong solutions and effective government must begin with listening to those we serve,” said Vera Cole. “If elected, I’ll hold events like this regularly. I’m eager to hear from voters across the 145th and I greatly appreciate those who take the time to get to know and work with me.”
Thursday, July 14, pavilion at Robert O. Keller Memorial Park, 1328 California Rd, Quakertown, PA 18951 (Richland Township) 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Monday, July 18, Sisters U Foundation, 528 West Market Street, Perkasie, PA 18944
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Tuesday, July 19, pavilion at Molasses Creek Park, 2175 Krammes Road, Quakertown, PA (Milford Township) 18951, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Thursday, July 21, Passer Community Center, 2580 Richlandtown Pike, Coopersburg, PA 18036 (Springfield Township), 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Events are open to the public and all are welcome. Vera looks forward to listening, leading and building together the priorities she would carry to Harrisburg on our behalf.
About Vera Cole
Vera is an engineer and educator, with a strong business and policy background. She currently serves as lead faculty for Energy and Sustainability Policy at Penn State and has a PhD from Drexel. Vera is running for State Representative to bring opportunity to all residents of the district and pledges to work tirelessly to make sure every person who puts in the work has the ability to succeed. Vera and her husband of 25 years, Marty Simon, are longtime residents of beautiful West Rockhill Township, where she serves on the Conservation Committee.
Announcing A Great Flipping Fundraiser! Washington House Restaurant, Sellersville, PA, Wednesday June 15
Please RSVP to David Eapen, david@VeraColeforPA.com or (215) 667-7191
Checks to: Friends of Vera Cole, 328 West Broad St, Suite 1, Quakertown, PA 18951
Credit card contributions accepted at http://www.veracoleforpa.com/contribute
Letter to Editor, Bucks County Herald
State Representative Candidate Vera Cole Announces Endorsement from Sierra Club
Pa. – Today, Dr. Vera Cole, faculty member at Penn State and president of the
Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Asssociation (MAREA), announced that she has been
endorsed by the Sierra Club for her bid for the 145th District for
the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
"It's rare for the Sierra Club to be able to find a candidate as well suited to its goals as Vera Cole. She's already leading the clean energy revolution we urge other people to join. At Penn State, she's training students in sustainable practices we hope soon will become standard for the industry," said BillBrainerd, the Political Co-Chair of Sierra Club Southeastern PA.
In response to the endorsement, Vera Cole stated, “I’m humbled by the support of the Sierra Club and deeply appreciative to all the residents in our District who share my concern for the environment and love of nature. Maintaining the environment helps the health and wellbeing of everyone and strengthens our local economies. Keeping our families safe and happy and our businesses thriving will be top priorities of mine as state representative.”
More information about Vera and the campaign, visit http://veracoleforpa.com.
About Vera Cole
Vera Cole is a longtime resident of West Rockhill Township. She has spent her life working in engineering and education, especially related to clean energy and the environment. She is running for state representative to bring opportunity to all residents of the district, pledging to work tirelessly to make sure every person who puts in the work has the ability to succeed. She has a PH.D. in Information Science & Technology from Drexel University, as well as a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University.
Vera and her husband of 25 years, Martin Simon, have lived in Upper Bucks County for over 20 years. Their family continues to reside in the area, including a granddaughter who attends school in the Quakertown Community School District.
Why I am Running (Vera Cole)
I am asked, why are you running? (My grandfather would’ve
surely said, “Someone chasing you?”!) I am running because I love Pennsylvania and
our Upper Bucks community and I am very, very concerned about what is happening,
and not happening, in Harrisburg.
Functioning and responsible state government is necessary—to educate our children, take care of seniors, provide necessary social services, keep our communities safe and our systems just, protect our environment, assure our right to vote and pay our bills. Yet Pennsylvania state government is in turmoil, ineffective even at the most basic of tasks: passing a budget. And, the failings are beyond simply being inept—perjury, ethics charges, misconduct, extortion, bribery, pornography. Are you kidding me?
A recent poll from Franklin & Marshall College confirms that I am not alone in my concern. Two thirds of Pennsylvanians said that the state is “on the wrong track.” And the number one problem facing the state? Government and politicians. Unbelievable. They should be helping to fix problems—not be the problem. This is the United States. Our government is elected by us to serve us.
I had to think very long and carefully about this decision to run. I have a job I love, teaching Energy and Sustainability Policy at Penn State. My life is already full with volunteer work, wonderful friends and a large, loving, growing family. Yet, everyone I talked with said, in so many words, you would be great. Do it! You can help. You know this stuff. You love this stuff. You’re just the kind of person we NEED in Harrisburg. I agreed.
For my love of Pennsylvania, the people in my life and community, the great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews I haven’t yet met, the mountains and forests and waterways and all that inhabit them, I am running. I think I can help. For me, it is truly and only a matter of service.
I am more, however, than willing-to-do-my job and not-corrupt. I am an engineer and an educator, with a PhD and a long history of experience of working with large corporations, small high-tech startups, nonprofits and academia. I am known for my preparedness, attention to detail, friendly candor, willingness to work with others and determination to get the job done. I work really hard, and love it. I’m just kind of wired that way. And, maybe it’s the engineer in me, but I LOVE good ideas. And it doesn’t matter where they come from.
If given the opportunity to serve, I will work with others not only to address today’s business, but to look beyond the end of our noses and think about how we can do better. There are some great ideas out there, and new ones to come, no doubt! What can we do together to assure that all Pennsylvanians have a full opportunity to enjoy a safe, comfortable and happy life? Let’s just say it will be a very different conversation than the one we are having in and about state government today. I can hardly wait.
Vera Cole is In!
Vera Cole announced at the 145th Assembly District Democratic Organization Meeting on Thursday evening, January 28 that she is Candidate for the Democratic Nomination for the 145th Assembly District in NW Bucks County. Adding to the excitement, Joe Sestak, Candidate for US Senate, joined the meeting, speaking to the crowd and welcoming Vera's candidacy.
The Decision (Vera Cole)
As promised, on Jan 18, Vera Cole made the decision about running for
the PA State House of Representatives (145th District), writing:
Hats off today to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. I love that it happens that I am making this decision today. His eloquence and courage have always resonated deeply with me. At this moment, these words of his are closest, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?” I’m in.