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NEW CASTLE Mayor supports Rendell in race

By Laure Cioffi

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Ed Rendell said he has a plan to revitalize small and midsize communities.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Democrat Ed Rendell pocketed another endorsement from a Republican mayor.
The Pennsylvania Democratic candidate for governor stopped in Lawrence County Tuesday to accept New Castle Mayor Timothy Fulkerson's endorsement and tour parts of the county. Rendell said several other Republican mayors in the eastern part of Pennsylvania have also endorsed him, including the mayors of Easton and Carlisle.
Fulkerson, a two-term Republican mayor, said he endorsed the Democratic candidate instead of Republican Mike Fisher because he believes Rendell understands the woes of cities. Rendell is the former mayor of Philadelphia.
"He knows the dilemmas all of us go through. I believe we will have a much needed voice in Harrisburg with Ed Rendell," Fulkerson said.
Rendell visited Ellwood City, downtown New Castle and was expected later Tuesday evening to attend the Lawrence County Fair.
Catherine Baker Knoll, Rendell's running mate for lieutenant governor, accompanied him.
Rendell touted the need for more economic development and his accomplishments in Philadelphia during his stop in Kennedy Square in downtown New Castle. He later toured downtown, which is undergoing a revitalization, with new streets, sidewalks, utilities and fixtures being installed. He commended Fulkerson for his work on revitalization and said he would continue to help small cities if elected. Rendell noted that Pennsylvania's new governor will be faced with a $2 billion deficit and a high unemployment rate when taking office in January.
"It will be very much like Philadelphia's situation when I took over. But in 18 months, I wiped out Philadelphia's deficit without raising taxes or laying off any employees," he said.
Rendell has a plan to revitalize Pennsylvania's midsize and smaller cities, boroughs and townships through programs funded by bonds and federal funding.
Rendell said he's also looking to boost the state's share of education funding, which in turn will lower local property taxes, by giving a share of cigarette taxes to education and legalizing slot machine gambling in the state's five racetracks. He also promised to call a special session of the Legislature for real estate tax reform if one in September doesn't accomplish anything.