From Payday Report: Homecoming: Retracing My PapPap’s Steps In the Fight to Win the PA 18th Special Election & Stopping the Northern Outbreak of “Right-to-Work”


The Stakes: “Right-to-Work” in Pennsylvania

Washington, Pennsylvania — When I arrived at the high school gymnasium where the Democrats were holding a convention to pick their nominee for the crucial PA 18 Western Pennsylvania Congressional special election, I couldn’t help but think of my PapPap, Regis “Rege” Holden, a long-time leader of the Democratic Party in the land of my birth, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

I was nervous as all hell and found myself searching for my grandfather’s old political ally—former State Senator Allen Kukovich of Manor—the borough where my grandfather had been a leader in the bricklayers’ union and a pioneer in the post-war field of vocational education. I had been gone from Western Pennsylvania for a long time and hoped Kukovich could give me the skinny on what was happening here.

I had spent the last 13 years away reporting on the drug war in Brasil, working as labor reporter at Politico in DC, and crisscrossing the country filing stories from more than 30 states over the course of a decade.

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