It was quite a week in the race for the governorship, with a wealth of polls changing the dynamic of the Democratic primary. This week, we take a look at how some Democrats sent a direct message to Governor Corbett, the minimum wage proposals in the U.S. Congress and lastly a note on the Lt. Governor’s race.
It was a banner week for the Wolf campaign with three separate polls showing him to be the new Democratic front-runner. In a not unrelated note, thanks to his personal wealth and fundraising, he remains the only candidate with a regular presence on TV. As a result, the campaign seems to have been infused with a new burst of confidence.
This became evident in the response Wolf made to an interview Governor Corbett gave to Politico in which he defended his tenure and predicted his re-election.
“I haven’t heard them distinguish themselves as to where they differ from each other,” Corbett said of his Democratic opponents. “I know they think they can do the job better than me, fine. But what are [they] going to do?”
Well, it appears the Wolf campaign took this as a challenge so they decided to mail a copy of Wolf’s “Fresh Start” plan to the Governor.
“Tom Wolf has been very clear about what he is going to do as governor and we wanted to make sure Tom Corbett was aware as well,” Wolf Campaign Press Secretary Jeffrey Sheridan said.
Whether the beginning of something momentous or the high-point of his candidacy, this week nonetheless certainly was a memorable one for Tom Wolf and his team.
Former DEP Secretary John Hanger fired off his own message to Governor Corbett, telling him to keep his hands off the state’s forests.
As Secretary in 2010, Hanger co-wrote an executive order that stopped gas drilling in state forests. In his recent budget proposal, however, the Governor is seeking to overturn that order. In response, environmental groups launched a protest in the Capitol last Tuesday and Hanger sent out a press release in support of their efforts.
“The moratorium on gas drilling in state forests is more needed today than it was even in 2010!” Hanger said. “Corbett must keep his hands and those of the gas drillers off Pennsylvania’s most precious natural wonders that are part of our state forests and wild areas.”
“I salute the coalition of almost three dozen organizations led by the League of Conservations Voters to bring the message to Corbett’s doorstep that “no means no,” he concluded. “They deserve our thanks and support.”
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Schwartz took action by signing the discharge petition to release a bill to increase the minimum wage to the House floor.
A discharge petition is a letter which if signed by the majority, 218, of House members allows a bill to reach the floor with or without the support of leadership. With Congressional GOP leadership against the bill, this is the only available method that will allow it to be voted on.
“Too many Pennsylvanians have been left out of our economic recovery, despite the fact that they are working hard every day to build a more stable and secure future for themselves and their families,” Rep. Schwartz said. “Raising the minimum wage will give a much-needed boost to our recovery, lift nearly 1 million Americans out of poverty and create more economic opportunity for Pennsylvania families.”
“It will also help small businesses in our communities grow by putting money in the pockets of Pennsylvania’s consumers,” the Congresswoman continued. “It’s time for Congress to do the right thing by giving millions of hard-working Americans a long-overdue raise.”
Schwartz was already a co-sponsor of the bill H.R. 1010, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over the course of two years.
Lt. Gov: Mark Critz
Finally, in a development from the Lieutenant Governor’s race, former Rep. Mark Critz picked up the support of State Sen. John Wozniak (D-Johnstown).
As first reported by Keystone Politics, Wozniak was considering a Lt. Gov bid of his own but decided instead to support Critz. The two got to know each other well due to the fact that when Critz served in Congress their districts overlapped.
“I have known Mark and worked with him on a number of important issues for western Pennsylvania,” Sen. Wozniak said. “He has always proved himself to be a dedicated public servant who always puts the welfare of his constituents first.”
“I worked with Sen. Wozniak from my days as District Director for Congressman Murtha to my own time as a Congressman, and I always found him to be a great leader for our region,” said Critz. “Whether the issues were transportation, housing or energy, Sen. Wozniak got the job done for western Pennsylvania.”