On the campaign trail: Newspaper publisher and former City Councilman Jimmy Tayoun stops Gov. Tom Corbett to speak with him about the future of the GOP on July 23 at the Southampton Room. DONNA DIPAOLO / FOR THE TIMES
Gov. Tom Corbett was in the Far Northeast last week to rally supporters in anticipation of his re-election bid.
Corbett’s poll numbers are not good, and some politicos are speculating that he will not seek a second four-year term.
Not true, according to the Republican governor.
“We’re running,” he said. “We’ve got a record to run on.”
More than 300 ward leaders, committee people and others gathered in the Southampton Room, at 2980 Southampton Road, on the evening of July 23 to cheer the governor.
Outside, about 20 people protested the event. They were members of Fight for Philly and the Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America. They chanted, “One-term Tom,” and held signs, including “Cut Prisons Not Schools.”
State Rep. John Taylor, the new chairman of the Republican City Committee, credited Corbett, who inherited a $4 billion structural deficit, with balancing the budget with no new taxes.
“He deserves re-election,” he said.
Joe DeFelice, a Mayfair resident and the new executive director of the party, noted that the city committee recently moved its office from Center City to 3525–27 Cottman Ave.
Others in attendance included Danny Alvarez and Terry Tracy, the GOP candidates for district attorney and city controller, respectively.
Republicans recognized their former chairman, Vito Canuso, and Mike Meehan, the longtime general counsel.
Corbett said Pennsylvania has created about 136,000 private sector jobs in the two and a half years since he took office.
“We’re starting to turn the corner,” he said
The governor thanked the legislature for cutting business taxes to lure companies to the state and eliminating the inheritance tax for small businesses and farms.
“We have not raised any taxes,” he said.
Corbett, who posed for pictures with supporters, believes a united Republican City Committee will help his re-election bid.
Before speaking to supporters, Corbett met privately with influential union leaders Joe Ashdale, Pat Gillespie and John Dougherty.
John Hanger, a Democratic candidate for governor, has another take on Corbett’s economic record.
Hanger, a former state Public Utility Commission member and secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, noted that Pennsylvania is ranked 45th in job growth, according to June’s nationwide employment figures.
The candidate blamed the governor for the loss of 19,000 education jobs. He believes jobs will be created if Corbett decides to expand Medicaid coverage and sign a transportation bill, which is being considered in the legislature, that would fund improvements to roads and bridges.
“His pledge to Washington, D.C., political operative Grover Norquist to never, ever raise taxes or fees has prevented the state from making investments in education and transportation,” Hanger said.
Last month, Hanger outlined an eight-point job plan.
In general, the plan makes investments in public education, transportation, health care, alternative energy resources and innovation.
The funding comes from accepting Medicaid expansion; taxing natural gas drilling, smokeless tobacco and cigars; and closing the “Delaware loophole,” which allows Pennsylvania companies to transfer money from subsidiaries to Delaware, which has no corporate taxes.
In addition, Hanger would defund poorly performing charter schools, saving more than $931 million. And he would merge Turnpike Commission operations within PennDOT.
Hanger is a former DEP secretary, but it was his predecessor in that agency who last week picked up the support of some prominent members of the environmental community.
Katie McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native now living in Wayne, Chester County, received the backing of 11 people who signed a “Dear Friends” letter seeking campaign contributions.
The letter was signed by, among others, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Carol Browner, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton administration.
The letter read, in part, “Climate change, clean energy, preserving open space, clean air and water. These issues are always as contentious as they are urgent. But throughout her career, Katie has been steadfast — driving an agenda that cuts pollution, supports new technologies and makes clear that the economy thrives when the environment is protected and falters when the environment is compromised.”
McGinty’s government experience includes serving as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Al Gore Jr. and as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality in the Clinton administration She was an adviser on Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
Utility Workers Union of America Local 686, which represents Philadelphia Gas Works employees, has endorsed state Rep. Brendan Boyle in the 13th Congressional District race.
Local 686 business manager Keith Holmes said Boyle is “a strong advocate for the needs of everyday families and is by far the best candidate when it comes to fighting for working people in Pennsylvania’s 13th district.”
Boyle has the backing of 17 unions.
Other Democrats seeking the nomination are state Sen. Daylin Leach, former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies and Dr. Val Arkoosh, a health-care reform advocate.
The incumbent, Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz, is running for governor.
Leach has the support of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, a political advocacy organization for animal welfare.
The group cited Leach’s work as minority party chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he had worked to strengthen laws on animal cruelty and abuse.
Among the issues the group pointed to were Leach’s opposition to live pigeon shoots, simulcasting of greyhound racing and the use of carbon monoxide chambers at animal shelters.
“Daylin Leach is one of Pennsylvania’s strongest champions of animal protection and an effective leader in cracking down on cruelty and abuse,” said Michael Markarian, president of the fund. “He has consistently stood up for the values of kindness and compassion, and we urge voters who care about the humane treatment of animals to support Daylin Leach.”
The HSLF noted that Margolies supported animal protection issues when she served in Congress, but decided to back Leach because of his active leadership and careerlong commitment to those issues. ••