According to the latest PPP polling Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has a problem. Only 27% of the state's voters think he's doing a good job. Over half think he isn't. But when it comes to one-on-one match-ups, the Democrats will have to pick a strong candidate and work really had to beat Corbett in 2014. These are the Democrats PPP asked about with the percentages who would pick Corbett first and each of them second.
• Former Gov. Ed Rendell- 40-42%
• Attorney General Kathleen Kane- 42-42%
• Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter- 41-38%
• Former Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger- 42-37%
• Former Congressman Joe Sestak- 42-36%
• State Treasurer Rob McCord- 41-35%
• New Dem vice chair, Rep. Allyson Schwartz- 41-34%
• Former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf- 41-29%
Just this week a Republican-friendly polling firm finds Sestak way out ahead in a Democratic primary match-up. It's too early to endorse anyone yet. Sestak is a longtime friend of this blog and Blue America has worked for his elections in the past. Tom Wolf and John Hanger are sterling progressives who would catapult Pennsylvania into the ranks of state government superstardom. Any of those three would be far preferable to Establishment hack and corporate shill Allyson Schwartz, who the Republicans are hoping for, since she is basically unelectable statewide.
I spoke with Environmental Protection Secretary Hanger this week and was knocked over by what a smart, solution-oriented candidate he is. He's on the right side of every issue and for all the right reasons. We'll invite the other progressives to do the same but I asked John to introduce himself with a guest post:
John Hanger, A Guest Post
Born In Kenya, and getting off a plane from Ireland as a 12-year old boy at JFK Airport in New York in 1970, I went into the public schools as an immigrant to America. The public schools welcomed me and all children and prepared me for higher education.
In 1977, I became a citizen of the United States and graduated from Duke University in 1979, having majored in Public Policy and history. My first job was as Executive Director of a small non-profit in Nebraska called Nebraskans United For Food that worked to address hunger right here in the USA by supporting food and nutrition programs like school meals and food stamps.
By 1981 I moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where federal student loans became essential following the death of my dad that changed radically my family's financial situation. Thanks to those student loans, I graduated from law school in 1984 and got my dream job at Community Legal Services, representing low-income families in Philadelphia.
At CLS I was in the Energy Project, advocating for families and businesses for whom utility bills were unaffordable. I saw the horrendous impact that shutting off electricity and gas service can have, as families turned to dangerous substitutes like candles and portable heaters that did cause fires that injured and killed poor people and especially children.
In 1986, I was appointed the Public Advocate to represent all the customers of Philadelphia's municipal gas, water, and sewer utilities and my first opportunity for public service had arrived. By 1993, Governor Casey appointed me to be a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission where I took on the problem posed by electricity rates among the 10 highest in the nation. Leading a major utility reform effort, I won a 14-year electricity rate cap for all electricity utilities in Pennsylvania. I initiated new programs to provide assistance to low-income families by offering them electricity and gas bills based on their incomes. And I boosted energy conservation programs that cut usage and made bills more affordable.
From 1998 to 2008, I was the President of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future that led successful campaigns for more renewable energy, more energy efficiency, and more investment for cleaning up streams, preserving farms, and improving parks. Pennsylvania became a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency during this time. I personally played a leading role in enacting Pennsylvania's 2004 Renewable Portfolio Standard, its 2005 Growing Greener $645 million environmental bond program, its 2008 $600 million Act 1 clean energy fund, and its 2008 Act 129 Energy Efficiency requirement that required electricity utilities to invest $2 billion in conserving electricity.
Nobody in Pennsylvania has done more to build wind, solar, and energy efficiency than me.
From 2008 to 2011, I served as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, where I enacted 5 new regulations strengthening rules governing gas drilling, more than doubled the number of staff overseeing gas drilling, and issued 1200 violations to the gas industry just in 2010. I also worked to pass a real gas drilling tax and crafted an executive order imposing a moratorium on further leasing of state forest land for gas drilling, a moratorium that continues.
While secretary, I also chaired the committee that wrote Pennsylvania's 2010 Climate Action Plan that would cut Pennsylvania's carbon emissions by one-third and create 62,000 jobs.
I have an unmatched record of working on state policy and state government. I have a record of accomplishment that benefits workers, poor families, clean energy, the environment. I am a proved tough, professional, independent regulator.
My campaign builds on this experience and is taking the fight to Corbett, who seeks to privatize public schools by slashing funding, sending blank checks to poor-performing charter schools, and supporting vouchers. By contrast, I will restore the $1 billion cut from public education by Corbett, end charters for poor=performing charter schools, and oppose vouchers.
Governor Corbett's jobs record is a disaster, with Pennsylvania one of just four states where the unemployment rate did not decline in 2012 compared to 2011. In part, Pennsylvania's poor jobs performance is because Corbett has destroyed 19,000 education jobs and because Corbett sees gas drilling as adequate to bring broad prosperity to Pennsylvania. It is not, as gas drilling has created less than 2% of the 6.5 million jobs Pennsylvania needs.
My campaign recognizes that Pennsylvania must have strong public-private partnerships that boost jobs in education, health care, manufacturing, clean energy, transportation, agriculture, water and sewer, and tourism. To fund these initiatives, I support a gas drilling tax and other means of raising revenues.
My campaign further will double the amount of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It will support more investment in environmental protection and improvement like the 2005 Growing Greener bond program.
I further will reverse Corbett's refusal to expand Medicaid and by so doing create 41,200 jobs.
Finally, I have been leading efforts to hold Corbett accountable for taking valuable gifts from lobbyists and businessmen that shreds the existing gift ban that has been in place since 1980.