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PA Sen. Connie Williams, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Democratic Candidate Lois Murphy, and Gov. Ed Rendell. (Bonnie Squires)

Hillary Clinton in Narberth
"Women for Rendell" Kickoff Event.

-- Bonnie Squires

Six hundred people jammed into Narberth Boro Hall to see Governor Edward G. Rendell along with New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Congressional candidate Lois Murphy, state Senator Connie Williams and women from across the greater Philadelphia region to kick-off the "Women for Rendell" Campaign at Narberth Borough Hall. Concurrent kick-off events were also held in Erie, Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre.

Democratic officials on hand included Representatives Daylin Leach and Mike Gerber, Montgomery County Commissioner Ruth Damsker, and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. Kate Michelman, presdent of NARAL, also spoke. More than 200 people waited outside for a glimpse of the dignitaries. Rendell was praised for his funding of education, particularly his leadership in funding early childhood education, as well as his leadership in funding the PACE prescription drug program for senior citizens.

"Four years ago, I said I wanted government to focus on the things that mattered to Pennsylvania's families the most --- creating jobs, protecting seniors, improving education and investing in our families and communities --- and stay out of issues in which it has no legitimate role," said Governor Rendell. ?Today, I am proud to say I have kept those promises and I am excited about continuing the progress we have made over the next four years."

As Governor, Rendell has built a record of accomplishment for Pennsylvania's women and their families. Today, Pennsylvania has more people working than at any point in our history, we have full day kindergarten for every child, more seniors are eligible for low cost prescription drugs and there is expanded access to critical women's health care services for the uninsured and under-insured.

"Government is - as it should be - about having the right priorities. It is about experience. It is about leadership," said Senator Clinton. "Ed Rendell has the right priorities and the right experience for Pennsylvania's women and their families and that's why I am so proud to be here today to help him kick-off ?Women for Rendell."?

The "Women for Rendell" program is part of the Governor's "Citizen Co-Chair" campaign. "Citizen Co-Chairs" aren't politicians or high-paid consultants. They are ordinary Pennsylvanians with an extraordinary responsibility: spread the good news about the progress Pennsylvania is making to their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers through direct voter contact. As part of the "Women for Rendell" effort, women are being asked to "Take 5" for the Governor --- get five additional women registered to vote, bring the five to the polls on election day, and get five women to volunteer for the Governor's campaign.

"As Governor, Ed Rendell has made critical investments in women's and children's health programs and is expanding access to critical care," said Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz who also spoke at the kick-off. ?Under his leadership, from pre-natal to end of the life care, Pennsylvania is now expanding access to affordable, qualify health care for everyone - all because of Ed Rendell."

Congresswoman Schwartz, running for her second term, represents parts of Montgomery County and Philadelphia. Prior to her election to the Congress, she served as a state Senator for seven terms, building a reputation for her efforts to improve education and healthcare.

"As governor, Ed Rendell has been concerned not just about creating jobs for people, but also in creating ownership opportunities for women and multi-cultural entrepreneurs," said Blondell Reynolds Brown, a Philadelphia City Councilwoman. ?Governor Rendell is making sure that state investments are used to encourage the growth of woman-owned businesses and the number of woman-owned businesses certified to compete for state contracts has increased from 912 to 1,331 under Rendell's leadership."

Councilwomen Reynolds Brown was first elected to an at-large Council seat in 1999 after a career as an educator and community activist. On Council, she has focused on promoting greater access to and the availability of meaningful opportunities in education, arts and culture, and small business development.

"When Ed Rendell ran in 2002, he ran on a platform of improving education across Pennsylvania by investing more in our schools, reducing class sizes and expanding full day kindergarten to every child," said Senator Connie Williams. ?These investments are working: since Governor Rendell took office, student achievement is on the rise at every grade level and in every subject. Thousands of children are in pre-K, more than half of our kindergartners in full-day kindergarten for the first time ever, and nearly 20,000 children in smaller classes. That's the kind of leadership we need in Harrisburg."

Senator Williams represents parts of Montgomery and Delaware Counties in Harrisburg. She was elected to the state Senate after being elected three times to the state House. Senator Williams serves on the Communications and Technology, Policy, Aging and Youth, Education and Finance committees.

"One of the things that really sets Ed Rendell apart is the visionary way in which he has begun to address our nation's energy problems. He is not waiting for someone else to step up to the plate or saying it's someone else's problem," said Congressional candidate Lois Murphy, who introduced Senator Clinton. ?Under his leadership, Pennsylvania has enacted the most comprehensive renewable energy strategy in the nation and is making investments in clean, efficient energy sources. That's the kind of visionary leadership we need in Harrisburg and Washington, DC."

Lois Murphy is making her second bid for Congress after narrowly losing in 2004. Her opponent, Jim Gerlach, is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

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