Lentz: The Constitution is a living document

Democrat Bryan Lentz said last weekend that the U.S.
Constitution is a living document that must consider the modern world and
modern technology.

Lentz, the current state Rep for the 161st
Legislative District, is vying with Republican Pat Meehan for the 7th
Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Joe Sestak. Sestak is
facing former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey for the Senate seat currently held by Arlen

Lentz was asked during an interview whether members of
Congress should cite the constitutional authority for bills they propose.

“I think you could make a requirement to point to case law
that supports or go to the commerce clause of the Constitution that has been
interpreted by the courts to make a wide array of legislation constitutional,”
Lentz said.

When it was suggested that the commerce clause has been
stretched so broadly that it is used to justify almost anything, Lentz said:
“The Constitution is a great document, but I believe in the concept that it is
a living, breathing document that has to react to the modern world and modern
technology, modern developments.”

He also believes that representatives should be required to
read the bills before they vote on them and that those bills should be
available to the American public on-line 24 hours before the vote.

Lentz said reading the bills should be a matter of common

“I supported a bill in the state house that bills be posted
for 24 hours before they could be voted on for that very reason, so that bills
couldn’t be rushed to the floor, voluminous bills that people didn’t even know
what they were voting for. It’s one of the jobs of a legislator to know what
you’re voting for, and I would do that as a member of Congress,” he said.

Lentz also responded to the Pennsylvania Conference of
Teamsters revoking an endorsement it had previously given to him. He said that
didn’t bother him.

“The people who know me know I’m an independent person. I
appreciate the support—I have a lot of support from organized labor—but you
can’t please everyone all the time when it comes to leadership. The members of
the teamsters, I’m confident, will support me because they know I have their
interests at heart,” he said.

According to a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the union
leadership yanked the endorsement after Lentz changed his position on a
provision in a bill that penalizes construction firms that deliberately
misclassify workers in order to avoid paying higher taxes and worker
compensation claims.

Lentz said the election for the U.S. House is a choice: “Who
do you want sticking up for you in Washington?”

He said the issues include the shipment of jobs overseas.

“I’m going to work to keep jobs here, not ship them
overseas. I’m going to work to make sure that we invest in our infrastructure
because you can’t have a first-rate economy with a second-rate
infrastructure—and we have a second-place infrastructure at this point,” he

According to Lentz, one way to address those issues is to
make sure the tax code is changed to eliminate incentives to send jobs abroad,
while creating an incentive to keep jobs in the U.S.

“The other thing is to make sure we have the best companies
with the best innovation so we can make sure we can write off the research and
development and that companies have access to small business innovation grants
that help them create new products.

“With infrastructure, you have to lead, you have to be
willing to stand up and make the case for why we have to invest in a high speed
rail system, why we have to invest in our roads and bridges and water and sewer
systems. And I can make that case, as having served in the state legislature. I
know what it means to lead and persuade and I’ll do that in Washington,” he

The interview was held just before the Democratic Party
fund-raiser at the Outback in Glen Eagle Square Saturday, Oct. 16.

Also attending was Nick DiGregory, the Democrat challenging
Stephen Barrar for the state representative seat for the 160th

DiGregory, a former teacher from Aston Township, said his
goal would be to spur the economy and help job creation from Harrisburg.

He said he favors tax breaks for businesses and wants to
stimulate green technology, but has no specific ideas right now.

“[I’d] go to Harrisburg and see what people are proposing
and make decisions based on what’s going on there and what the needs are here
in the 160th.” he said.

DiGregory said the ultimate solution to the economy must
come from both the state and national levels, that you can’t have one without
the other. He added that the stimulus packages have worked to create jobs.

“Just look around at all the road construction that’s going
on. For the most part those jobs are being worked on by local people,” he said.
“So the federal government has stepped up. I don’t think Harrisburg has stepped
up enough. That’s something we hope to change somewhere along the line.”

He advocates cutting state spending. One way to do that he
said, is to reduce the number of legislators.

“Both the House and state Senate could be reduced almost by
half. I think legislators could take a pay freeze and, rather than take a
Cadillac plan for medical benefits, they could do what all the other state
workers do. So, cutting the size of state government would go long way to
reduce spending in the state,” DiGregory said.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



One Response to “Lentz: The Constitution is a living document”

  1. parep160 says:

    During a campaign, candidates have a tendency to make misleading statements that stretch the truth. Some people take it way too far as seen by Congressional candidate Brian Lentz.

    I have worked with Rep. Lentz for the past 4 years in Harrisburg and in my opinion he is not a friend of the middle class nor is he the person needed in Washington to help create jobs. He portrays in his commercials that he supports tax cuts for the middle class, well what’s his real record… he had no problem voting to raise taxes on the middle class when he was in the Pennsylvania legislature. Lentz didn’t think you deserved lower taxes until he decided to run for a higher office. He voted to double your taxes and create new ones at the state level and will vote to raise your taxes as your congressman regardless if you are rich or middle class. That’s what is record in the legislature is telling you.

    Brian Lentz claims he is a reformer – he voted for numerous rule changes to make the state house more accountable, well what’s the truth… he voted many time to violate these rules when he was told to do so by the Democratic leadership. One example was when the Marcellus Shale tax bill was introduced in the Appropriations Committee – the Republicans were given the 30 page amendment just 5 minutes before they were to vote the bill… 5 minutes to study a 30 page bill before voting for it!!!! Lentz had no problem breaking that rule.

    Lentz is running TV ads saying Pat Meehan will steal your Grandmas’ Social Security and wants criminals to get assault weapons to shoot up your neighborhood. Well the Florida gun permit loophole he mentions in his ad must be decided in the PA. State Legislature not in the US Congress, but he is blaming Meehan for being opposed to it. Did you see the Lentz TV ad on his plan to save Social Security? I didn’t see it either because he doesn’t have one. If you want Washington cleaned up he is the wrong guy to do it.

    Do your research before voting, don’t believe the TV ads, go on the Internet – look it up. There is so much information available on all the candidates. There is too much at stake this election. Your children need you to make an informed choice on November 2nd. Vote for Pat Meehan.

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