By Gema Duarte
Bucks County's Jim Cawley got the nod Tuesday from Republican voters to be on the Nov. 2 ballot for lieutenant governor.
The Bucks County commissioner, the only local candidate in the race, was one of nine GOP candidates shooting to grab the nomination for the state's second-in-command. The position pays $146,926 this year with full state benefits, including state police protection, and requires few job duties, unless the governor cannot lead.
"Pat Toomey, Tom Corbett and I campaigned together and we pledge to change the culture in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.," he said during a brief phone call from Doylestown after delivering his victory speech. "The reckless spending must stop. And we need Americans back to work. We can't wait to get back on the campaign trail."
Cawley cast his vote about noon Tuesday at Maple Point Middle School near his home in Middletown with his wife, Susan, by his side. His morning was spent in Montgomery County, his afternoon in Bucks and then he headed to Northeast Philadelphia. Cawley later waited for results in Doylestown with fellow Republicans.
"The hardest thing for me during the campaign was spending time away from my family, my wife and our foster son, Nicholas," he said after voting.
With his primary win, he's one step closer to helping Pennsylvania get back on track, he said.
"I'm a lifelong Pennsylvanian. I'm proud of Pennsylvania, but lately I haven't been too proud what has been coming out of Harrisburg," Cawley said. "And specifically what's coming out of the governor's mansion. I think we're headed in the wrong direction. This reckless spending + the awful business climate of the commonwealth. Things have to change. I looked around at the candidates for governor and realized that Tom Corbett got that, that he understands what's at stake today and Nov. 2. he's got a plan to lead us into prosperity. I want to help him and I want to help Pennsylvania get there."
Cawley said he's ready to work closely with Corbett, who won the Republican primary for governor and will battle Democrat Dan Onorato in the fall.
"I'm going to be a full partner with Tom in changing Pennsylvania for the better," Cawley said before polls closed. "A very similar partnership that Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker had, I think is what you'll see in a Corbett and Cawley administration. Tom and I have already talked about enhancing the role of lieutenant governor. + The good people of the Republican Party today chose me to be their nominee and then, ultimately (if) the people of Pennsylvania choose me to be their lieutenant governor, I'm going to work very closely with Tom and the Legislature to get things rolling again."
The duties of the lieutenant governor are to preside over the state Senate - and vote only if there is a tie, which hasn't happened in recent years - and chair the prison pardons board, which decides who gets released from prison or orders a problematic arrest erased from their permanent record. They also might pick up an assignment or two from the governor. Some in the past have overseen the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
If elected in November, Cawley said he would implement similar administrational duties as done in Bucks County during his time as commissioner.
"Things like zero base budgeting," he said. "Going to departments and figuring out ways in which we can more efficiently utilize taxpayer's money. And reliance on technology, technological improvements that we've made in Bucks County have not only improved efficiencies, but allowed us to go four years in a row without raising taxes. + Tom Corbett talks about lowering the vehicle fleet for the state by 10 percent. We've already done that in Buck County. So it's common sense solutions to our problems that I want to take to Harrisburg."