Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
PHILADELPHIA - Five Democrats vying to become the next governor of Pennsylvania talked education and job creation at a forum in Philadelphia over the weekend, an event that was put together by several unions and activist groups.
According to Gabe Morgan, Pennsylvania state director of 32BJ SEIU, the tenure of incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett has dealt a huge blow to Pennsylvania's working class.
"If working families in this state are going to be able to move ahead, and if we're going to be able to save our education system, it's really important that whoever is running for governor, and whoever is going to be the next governor, really focus on those issues," the union leader declared.
The forum included candidates Kathleen McGinty, Rob McCord, Tom Wolf, Allyson Schwartz and John Hanger.
McCord, Pennsylvania's state treasurer, said the next governor needs to rebuild an education system that's been dismantled by the incumbent.
"It starts with reversing that billion-dollar theft of the K-12, in-classroom funding, and it continues with having a funding formula that takes into account little things like English as a second language and poverty rates and the lack of ability to charge property taxes," McCord declared.
McGinty, a former head of the state Department of Environmental Protection, told the crowd that Corbett's promise of job creation has fallen short because of misguided theories on economics.
"If we want the economy to grow, we've got to put money in people's pockets," she said. "If we want people to be able to afford to go to a job and pay for the transportation and the child care and the clothes and everything else that comes with going to your job, you have to have a living wage."
The first debate to include all of the candidates for governor is scheduled for February 28, in Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit, www.paprogressivesummit.org.