Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hanger announces candidacy, comes out swinging

Ex-DEP chief John Hanger made it official today, becoming the first Democrat to announce he will challenge Gov. Corbett in 2014.

Hanger announces candidacy, comes out swinging


Ex-DEP chief John Hanger made it official today, becoming the first Democrat to announce he will challenge Gov. Corbett in 2014.

"I want to make Tom Corbett a one-term governor," said Hanger, at a press conference in the Capitol.

Hanger, who served as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Rendell, would make history if he - or anyone else - unseated Corbett. No sitting governor of either party who has sought re-election in the last 40 years has been denied a second term.

Still, Hanger came out swinging, accusing the Republican governor of selling out public education, mismanaging natural gas drilling and abandoning alternative energy programs. 

"One billion in cuts was a choice not a necessity," said Hanger.

He said cuts have led to 19,000 fewer teachers and staff in Pennsylvania schools, the growing number of charter schools have little accountability or transparency, while companies have gotten millions in tax credits for supporting private schools.

Hanger said he supports a tax on natural gas drilling and would be open to raising revenue in other ways - though he offered no examples of additional tax hikes he would support.

"I didn't take the Grover Norquist [no tax] pledge," he said.

Hanger lobbied for record investments in alternative energy - particularly solar and wind energy - as president of PennFuture, the statewide environmental advocacy group.

Hanger, who noted Pennsylvania has 25 wind farms and 6,000 solar projects,  blamed Corbett policies for choking the expansion of the alternative energy industry and for layoffs in the wind sector.

He also said he backs attorney general-elect Kathleen Kane's plan to investigate then-attorney general Corbett's handing of the Jerry Sandusky case. Kane and others have criticized Corbett for not acting fasting enough to put a child predator behind bars.

"Why did it take two years for his home to be searched? Why was he allowed on the street with no survelliance? Do we need more staff in the attorney general's office? said Hanger. "There are big questions that haven't been answered."

Here's where Hanger stands on other hot button issues:

Marriage equality: for it

Medical marijuana: for it

Abortion rights: for it

The Pennsylvania Republican Party issued a statement shortly after Hanger's announcement praising Corbett's record on job creation and education investment.

"The Corbett record of responsibility and success is a stark contrast from the broken, bloated and unsustainable state government that tax-and-spend politicians like Ed Rendell and John Hanger helped to create," the party said.





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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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