Letter: Howard misled on race horse development fund

To the Editor:

Letters1It is a sad reflection on the values of politicians in these times that Roger Howard has chosen to open his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 158th State House District with a negative and deceptive letter to this publication.  I am writing to set the record straight on Mr. Howard’s unfounded and deceitful personal attack on his opponent, Cuyler Walker.

In 1961, when Cuyler was a year old, his mother was injured in a riding accident that left her permanently paralyzed and in a wheelchair for the remaining 30 years of her life.  At that time there were virtually no accommodations in the workplace for persons with disabilities and few women operated their own businesses. 

Nevertheless, Cuyler’s mother aspired to participate in the economy and she built a meaningful life for herself running a small thoroughbred breeding operation at the Walkers’ family farm in Kennett Square.  In doing so, she provided employment opportunities for the men and women who cared for her horses, and also supported the livelihoods of farmers, veterinarians, farriers, and others involved in the local agricultural economy.  While Mr. Howard may choose to belittle the value of such a career, we should admire someone who shows such grit and determination in the face of adversity and makes a contribution to Chester County’s leading industry, agriculture.

After his mother’s death in 1992, it fell to Cuyler to wind down and liquidate her business.  Other than that, he has had no financial involvement in horse racing and breeding.  In 1997, Gov. Tom Ridge asked Cuyler to serve as Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Horse Racing Commission.  This is the state agency tasked with regulating the thoroughbred racing industry and maintaining the highest standards of integrity in the sport.  During the six years he served as Chairman, Cuyler served the people of Pennsylvania honorably.

Cuyler left the Horse Racing Commission in early 2003, more than a year before Gov. Ed Rendell engineered the passage of the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act that legalized slot machines at race tracks in Pennsylvania and created the Race Horse Development Fund (RHDF).  Contrary to Mr. Howard’s claims, Cuyler had no role in the formulation or implementation of the Act and has never received even a penny from the RHDF.

The citizens of the 158th District deserve better from their candidates than the misleading innuendo and cheap attacks launched by Mr. Howard.  It’s time to restore truth and decency to our political process.

 

Donald B. Lynn, Jr.

East Bradford

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Tags: 158th District, Cuyler Walker, Election 2014, Horse Racing Commission, Race Horse Development Fund, Roger Howard, Susan Rzucidlo
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8 Responses

  1. Real smart buddy; bringing someone’s mother into the equation.

    No offense to her; god bless her and everyone elses mother for that matter. Mrs. Walker was wealthy-landed-gentry. So is her son .Your narrative is disengenuous at best.

    From Philly Inquirer:

    “Mrs. Averell Penn Smith Walker was the operator of Rolling Plains Stable in Unionville and breeder of outstanding racehorses. Mrs. Walker, who was named Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Owner-Breeder in October 1991 by the national Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, had a reputation as a sharp judge of horses and a hard and creative bargainer. “She was very successful,” said Mark McDermott, executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (based in Kennett Square, PA). The best thoroughbred to come from Mrs. Walker’s 200-acre farm was a filly, Golden Horde, which won six or more races, one of which was the Monmouth Oaks in 1985, said her son, Cuyler Harriman Walker. The record set by Golden Horde in that race is still on the books, although it was tied in 1987.
    She was also part of the syndicate that owned Summer Squall, winner of the Preakness and the Pennsylvania Derby in 1990. “She was quite an independent woman,” said McDermott. “She was everywhere there was anything going on with horses.” She even followed local foxhunts in her van, her son said.
    In the summer, she was in Saratoga, N.Y., where she watched races and took part in the annual yearling auction. In the winter she attended races and oversaw the training of her horses in Florida.

    Mrs. Walker was a direct descendent of William Penn and the niece of Averell Harriman, who was: a former governor of New York, a U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and heir to railroad baron Edward H. Harriman. She was raised in Unionville. She attended the Foxcroft School and Sarah Lawrence College” (2 of the most exclusive and expensive private schools in the country).

  2. So Ray, your man is running in a Republican primary on class envy and income redistribution, good luck with that.

  3. No Sir,

    You have it exactly backwards.

    Against the redistribution of $1.7B of state revenue since 2004 to wealthy horse owners, with $301M budgeted for this year.

    Class envy? No Sir. Just making the point that wealthy horse owners should use their own money to increase purse sizes.

    I am truly sorry the Horse Racing industry can’t make it on its own without a govt subsidy. We have many, more important core functions of govt that need to be funded first.

    • don’t forget: it’s The Sport of Kings – always has been.
      I agree – let the wealthy horse owners use their own $$$ to increase the purse sizes

      I had to laugh recently when I read legislation was passed that will use taxpayers dollars to help stop ‘doping’ and use of drugs on horses in the racing industry – that will never stop – again, something the “kings of the sport” should stop doing instead of having taxpayer dollars allocated. If only taxpayers what goes on inside the industry. We have a LOT bigger issues to address instead of cascinos and horses – gambling is not something I believe in promoting in the first place. It is a free country (or it used to be) so the kings can do what they want – they always have, but it doesn’t mean it’s right.

  4. Ray, the Gaming industry generates the revenue used to promote the horse racing industry, a symbiotic relationship. You and your man want to redistribute that revenue outside of the Gaming industry. That’s wealth redistribution. Also your proposal is not a zero sum gain for the economy and environment. Jobs and open space are at risk with your scheme.

  5. I have no proverbial dog in this fight but this letter is a very well-written rebuttal of Mr. Howard who quite apparently did not get his facts straight before making some very serious allegations. In response to Mr. Farrell above: I find it hard to oppose a candidate simply because he comes from a wealthy or privileged family. We do not pick our parents.

  6. Ray, I can’t believe you are criticizing Mrs. Walker for building a successful business in the industry. It is contrary to the very spirit of free enterprise and Republican ideals.

    Not only that, but you take it a step further and say that becuase his mother was a successful businesswoman, that renders Walker unfit for public office? Sounds very socialist to me.

  7. Why does Roger Howard dislike wealthy Americans? If this isn’t true, he should fire his mouth piece and campaign manager, Ray Farrell, immediately because the poor guy is all tongue twisted in this.

    Also, looks like Mr. Howard is being taken to task on this issue. Do some research next time. You can’t fill your lack of experience void with misguided rhetoric.

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