State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Caltagirone will run again, but without some of his usual supporters

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 19, 2018 3:05 AM
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Caltagirone is the longest-serving state representative, and his reelection bids are typically a foregone conclusion. (Photo by AP)

 

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's longest-serving state representative, Thomas Caltagirone, has confirmed he's running for a 22nd term.

The news comes as he faces backlash for agreeing to settle a sexual harassment case against him for almost a quarter-million taxpayer dollars.

The Berks County Democrat still has a good shot at winning. He has been consistently unopposed in both his primary and general elections for at least a decade, and it is still unclear if the allegations that he repeatedly sexually harassed a staffer will change that.

However, the revelation is causing a prominent union to rescind its support.

Steve Catanese, president of a local arm of the Pennsylvania Service Employees International Union, said the decision wasn't a difficult one.

"I think we all agreed [Caltagirone's alleged conduct] did not represent what our values were, so as a collective group deciding what our values were at SEIU, we decided this wasn't something we could endorse, either in the past or moving into the future," Catanese said.

The union also pulled its financial support.

"As recently as December, we had made a campaign contribution to Representative Caltagirone," Catanese said. "In fact, in the next day or so, we sent a letter out to ask for our money back."

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, which encompasses all the state's unions, is also mulling over its support.

President Rick Bloomingdale called the harassment allegations "disturbing." He said he's waiting for more unions to weigh in on the situation before the AFL-CIO makes its customary endorsements in the summer.  

Caltagirone is maintaining his innocence. In statements, he has said that party leaders decided to settle the complaint against him, even though he wanted to take the case to court.

Governor Tom Wolf has called for him to step down. 

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