Finance - August 10, 2012

Election Updates

State Representative Randy Vulakovich won Tuesday’s special election for fill former state Senator Jane Orie’s seat.  Senator-elect Vulakovich defeated Democrat Sharon Brown by just over 10,000 votes in the low turnout election.  After winning he remarked that he was “looking forward to getting started and putting the 40th together again.”  Making bigger news than Senator-elect Vulakovich’s win are the remarks made by Allegheny County Republican Chairman, Jim Roddey, at Vulakovich’s victory party.  Roddey joked that Obama supporters were intellectually disabled, though Roddey used a more offensive term.  He has since apologized and called his remarks “regrettable.”  Democrats pounced on Roddey and a Pittsburgh area Democrat even called for his resignation.  Roddey said in response that he had no plans to resign and that calling for his resignation is “also regrettable.”

In other election news, former State Representative Bill DeWeese is fighting to stay on the November ballot even though he is currently serving time in prison on corruption charges.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is fighting to keep DeWeese off of the ballot.  The party would like to have DeWeese removed in order to select a candidate who is eligible to serve.  DeWeese’s attorney has argued that it’s too soon to do so since he is still pursuing appeals.  The attorney for the PA Democratic Party has argued that DeWeese’s conviction makes him ineligible to serve and since he resigned his seat is vacant.  DeWeese won the primary the same day he was sentenced.

PA brings back foreclosure program

Pennsylvania is reviving its Pennsylvania Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) run by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.  The program helped over 46,000 homeowners and is once again taking applications.  The program is receiving some funding from a national settlement that Pennsylvania received over foreclosure-processing issues with five major lenders, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.  After the program ended, foreclosures rose in Pennsylvania; while the overall foreclosure problem was still lower than in many other states, the increase was likely in relation to the end of that assistance.