A pair of Massachusetts state representatives is touring Pennsylvania with a Democratic bus tour, criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his record as Governor of their home state.
Massachusetts Representatives James Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy) joined up with local Democrats outside the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers building on Monday to bash Romney's policies on education and job creation.
"Our state's unemployment rate was once lower than the national average. By the time Governor Romney left office, it was higher," said Murphy. "He sank Massachusetts from 36th in job creation all the way down to 47th."
Murphy blamed Governor Romney for The Bay State's loss of about 40,000 manufacturing jobs from 2003 to 2007; he said that sector declined at a rate twice the national average.
Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis said her union faces "uncertainty" this school year due to the candidacy of Romney and his vice presidential pick, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
"Romney and Ryan would expand private school vouchers, which have been tried and studied for decades, but fail to help students achieve," said Esposito-Visgitis. "Romney supports his running mate's budget, which would cut education funding by 20%. Romney and Ryan want to cut funding for Head Start and Pell Grants while giving tax cuts to folks who don't need them."
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn, and several other local Democrats and labor leaders were also on hand to criticize Romney.
Burn said the Democrats' strategy to win the battleground state of Pennsylvania relies on a strong "ground game," including efforts like opening regional offices and undertaking the bus tour. The Democrats continue their trip with stops in Altoona, State College, and Harrisburg tomorrow.
Mitt Romney and the Republican Party officially opened the party's national convention in Miami Monday but then gaveled it into a recess to ride out heavy rains and high winds associated with Tropical Storm Isaac before opening in earnest Tuesday.