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Should State Rep. Joe Brennan Step Down?

Joe Brennan's wife receives court protection-from-abuse order the day after legislator allegedly assaulted her and then drove away drunk.

 

The wife of state Rep. Joseph Brennan, who had already filed for divorce in June, on Thursday was granted a temporary protection-from-abuse order barring the legislator from contact with her or their two sons, according to The Morning Call.

on Wednesday and charged with simple assault and drunken driving after he allegedly choked and punched Norma Jane Brennan on the porch of their Fountain Hill home and then drove away drunk.

Brennan, 48, of 1201 Delaware Ave., is free on $7,500 bail.

In her request for a PFA order, Mrs. Brennan's description of events echoed one of two arrest affidavits filed against the three-term legislator the previous day, according to the newspaper's report.

"He assaulted me on the front porch of the house. He choked me with both hands around my neck. He punched me in the lips on the left side," she wrote. "He pushed and wrestled me to the floor of the porch."

The couple’s two boys are 7 and 5.

Despite Brennan's mounting legal and family woes, officials were saying next to nothing about his political future.

What do you think? Should Brennan step aside as a state representative or be removed from office? Vote in our poll and tell us in the comments.

The Democrat is seeking a fourth term as the state representative from the 133rd House District in the Nov. 6 general election. His opponent is Catasauqua Republican David Molony, who could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The district includes nearly half of the city of Bethlehem, Fountain Hill, Catasauqua, Coplay, Hanover Township in Lehigh County and parts of Allentown and Salisbury and Whitehall townships.

A Department of State spokeswoman told The Express-Times that the deadline to remove someone from the general election ballot had passed on Monday.

Party officials, meanwhile, were not talking openly about any political consequences for the legislator.

Bill Patton, a spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, said party officials were still gathering information on the case. At this point, even the criminal investigation is still not complete, Patton said. Dermody has also not had the opportunity to talk to Brennan, he added.

Northampton County Democratic Chairman Walt Garvin declined comment.

This is the second time since last June that Brennan has been in trouble with police.

He was arrested by Bethlehem police in front of his . after an eyewitness reported that in the parking lot of the Wawa convenience store at Broad Street and Stefko Boulevard.

Brennan into the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program for first-time offenders in October. One of the conditions of that disposition was that he continue to receive treatment for alcohol abuse, which he started almost immediately after the arrest.

According to the arrest affidavit for Wednesday's incident, Brennan’s blood-alcohol level was .20 percent, more than twice the state’s legal limit (0.08 percent) to drive.

"My concern is for the family, that they get all the help they need right now, and that they can have the privacy they need to be able to work through this," Lehigh County Democratic Chairman Richard Daugherty told The Express-Times.

"This is news for us, but for them this is a personal tragedy."

Martha Cox Popichak August 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM
It would be in the best interests of all if Brennan would step down. He obviously has a drinking problem that he has not been able to control. His previous two arrests for DUI underscore this. Now to have abused his wife physically crosses the line. Alcoholism is a difficult addiction and it obviously is affecting his life in tragic ways. He may be a competent legislator but character counts. He owes his constituents an apology and should hand the mantle over so he can deal with his problems and regain his life, especially for his two young children.
Summer August 17, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I'm sure Republicans would love it if he continued in office. With an election coming up, his hopes are zilch.
Bruce Davis August 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Clearly he is not making rationally good choices. How can we know if he is not able to function in the legislature. Would he vote yes when he should vote no or vice versa. If his alcohol problem is this bad I do not doubt that he is making more mistakes we may not be aware of or he does not know he is even doing.
Bruce Davis August 17, 2012 at 05:38 PM
By the way I am a registered Democrat.
Scott Korin August 18, 2012 at 02:46 AM
OK, who voted "No"?

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