Democrat Hanger throws hat in PA gubernatorial ring

John Hanger, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, speaks about a pipeline that will be built to supply water to Dimock, Pa., residents whose wells have been tainted near gas drilling rigs at a Sept. 30, 2010 meeting. (AP Photo/Scranton Times & Tribune , Michael J. Mullen)

The 2014 Pennsylvania governor's race officially gets underway today with the first Democrat  - former Department of Environmental Protection secretary John Hanger - announcing his candidacy.

John Hanger is scheduled to roll into the Reading Terminal Market (at 10 am) in Philadelphia for his first announcement before heading on to Harrisburg for a 2 p.m. press conference.

Hanger will try to make history by unseating an incumbant governor. Republican Gov. Corbett, who took office in 2011, has signalled his intention to seek a second term.

Hanger, 55, has spent his career working on energy and environmental issues in Pennsylvania, including serving nearly three years as Gov. Rendell's DEP Secretary, just as the Marcellus Shale boom got underway. He also served as a commisioner ofthe Public Utility Commissioner, where he was known as the architect of utility deregulation and as the public advocate for Philadelphia’s utility customers.

Hanger, an attorney who lives in Hershey, said he chose to ride a school bus between Philadelphia and Harrisburg to emphasize his commitment to public education.

“A good public education system is the foundation of a growing economy that generates good-paying jobs. Businesses today, and more importantly, the businesses of tomorrow need well-educated, high-skilled workers and will locate where those workers are,” said Hanger. “That’s why Tom Corbett’s attack on public schools and universities is so disastrous for every educational level and also for our future economic well-being.”

Hanger said that his campaign will emphasize four issues: education, the economy, energy and the environment. He supports taxing natural gas extraction and using the money for education, local communities and environmental conservation and restoration.

Our Daily News colleague John Baer gives his view on the Hanger candidacy - including the fact Hanger admits to having been born in Kenya (!) - in his column today.




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