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News and Op/Ed

In the Clearing Stands A Boxer
Senator Barbara Boxer autographs a copy of her novel after speaking at a JACPAC event in Gladwyne. (Photo by Bonnie


The Senator from California comes to Gladwynne.

California Senator Barbara Boxer came to our area in December as part of  her book tour, appearing at the Free Library of  Philadelphia. Prior to her reading and book-signing, she was guest  speaker at the Joint Action Committee on Political Affairs (JACPAC)  event in Gladwyne, hosted by Renee and Hal Rosenbluth. 

If you happened to watch any of the Senate hearings on Justice Roberts as a Supreme Court candidate, you will recall that Senator Boxer asked the most probing, the most informed questions of any member of the Judiciary Committee. 

So it was a joy to catch up with her in person at the JACPAC event. About 80 members of JACPAC showed up, including the co-chairs of the event, Betsy Sheerr and Francine Lipstein, and incoming Philadelphia JACPAC chair, Nancy Gordon. 

In addition, State Senator Connie Williams, State Representative Josh Shapiro, County Commissioner Ruth Damsker, and Congressional candidate Lois Murphy attended.

JACPAC is a Jewish women's political action committee, which supports candidates for national office based on three criteria: pro-Israel, pro-choice, and pro-separation of church and state.

Senator Boxer gave a rousing endorsement to Bob Casey, saying, "So your candidate is not a 10 - but he's a 9! And Senator Santorum is a minus 10!" She added that Casey is "great" on Israel and 
separation of church and state. Three of Casey's staffers were in attendance, and they were delighted with the words of praise. She also urged everyone present to become a member of JACPAC if they were not already, saying, "It's one of the few organizations that allows you, for a minimum contribution, to make a tremendous difference."

Betsy Sheer mentioned the recent National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) trip to Israel with Bob Casey in which she and her husband had participated. About 20 area members of the Jewish community accompanied Casey on his fact-finding mission.

Senator Boxer told of her very first race for Congress, two decades ago, when she got a call from JACPAC and received her first campaign check. 

When asked her opinion of Congressman John Murtha's call for a redeployment of American troops in Iraq, she praised Murtha for being "a true patriot." She reiterated his assessment that American presence there is fueling the insurgency. She agreed with Murtha's plan for moving our forces to the perimeter.

Senator Boxer pointed out that 79 Senators have agreed that 2006 is the year in which the Iraqis have to stand up for themselves. "If they want to be a country, they have to step up to the plate and defend their country."

She also urged her audience to focus on 2006 elections, emphasizing the need to take back the House and the Senate, before thinking about the presidential election of 2008. She asked JACPAC to create a Media Truth Squad for the Casey campaign, to make certain that the press carry accurate information about the issues.

And then she turned to her novel and read a few pages. She explained that even though the protagonist is a short California liberal Democratic U.S. Senator, "Ellen Fischer" has flaming red hair and is a fictitious character. But she confessed that she did use her experience in Washington to form the plot of her political spellbinder, which took her seven years to write. Then she gladly autographed copies of "Time to Run" before heading out to the Free Library.

Bonnie Squires is a communications consultant who lives in Wynnewood and writes
weekly for the Main Line Times.