Corbett names ed head, Rendell honors Haiti groups, Onorato exits exec race

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has named a Washington D.C. -based education policy consultant to be the next state education secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, Ronald Tomalis, of Whiteboard Advisors, will run the agency that oversees billions of dollars for Pennsylvania’s public schools and colleges. Tomalis helped implement President Bush's No Child Left Behind Program and before that held a senior post at the state Department of Education under Gov. Tom Ridge.

Corbett also nominated a Harrisburg-lawyer, Michael Consedine, to head the Department of Insurance. Consedine was the agency’s top lawyer under Ridge.


A year ago Gov. Rendell was winging his way back to Pennsylvania from Haiti after a dramatic (and controversial) rescue with 54 orphans in tow.

Today Rendell honored the work of two Pennsylvania groups active in the recovery effort in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that left 220,000 people dead.

The two groups, Philadelphia-based PHEELHaiti and the Haitian Connection Network, located in Lancaster County, have been working to rebuild Haiti's education infrastructure. PHEELHaiti is raising money to help rebuild a high school left in ruins and the Haitian Connection plans to build a computer center that they hope will one day become a countrywide network to help students access the Internet. 

"The American public responded to this disaster with generosity that was nothing less than exceptional," Rendell, who spent seven hours in Haiti plucking children from the rubble of their orphanage, while causing an international incident for holding up relief traffic at the Port Au Prince airport. "But if we are going to help Haiti and its people fully recover, we must continue to provide help - this year, and in years to come."

And with that, Rendell pulled out a personal check for $1,000 and handed it to Haitian Connection Network executive director Kristen Hertzog.


Out of one race into another? Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato says he won’t seek a third term as Allegheny County executive.

Onorato told reporters at a news conference today that he won’t be a candidate in the May primary. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Onorato plans to spend the rest of his term working toward boosting traffic at the Pittsburgh airport, studying the lease of county land for gas drilling and fighting court-ordered property reassessment.

The paper says Onorato won’t rule out running for elective office in the future but hasn’t made any decisions. There’s been speculation he may run for Pennsylvania auditor general next year. Onorato lost the governor’s race to Corbett in November.

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