2013-05-16 / Local & State

County Democrats Rally, Urge Voters To Turn Out For Primary

Governor, lt. gov.candidates speak at spring dinner
By Jean Snyder

John Hanger John Hanger STAFF WRITER

Nearly 70 of the party faithful and guests attended the Fulton County spring Democratic dinner at the McConnellsburg Firehall last Saturday evening and heard from candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in the 2014 race.

John Hanger, gubernatorial candidate on the Democratic ticket, a Hershey, Pa., resident, criticized Gov. Tom Corbett, saying, “He has been a jobs disaster.” He cited the fact that Pennsylvania ranks 50th in jobs creation and also ranks above the national average in unemployment. Hanger explained how a total of 160,000 jobs have been lost in the state due to Corbett’s attack on public education, his lack of action on transportation and his opposition to Medicaid expansion.

Hanger outlined his plan for education, saying the state has taken $250 million from public schools and given it to 13 Internet schools across the state. “Twelve of the 13 are failing,” he said, and added, “I would get rid of the ones that are failing.” He blamed the lack of action on a transportation agenda on the fact that Corbett had “signed Grover Norquist’s tax pledge” and could not raise taxes in order to address the state’s failing infrastructure and to create jobs. “He won’t even consider a tax on the gas drilling in the state,” he added.

Brad Koplinski Brad Koplinski He said that Corbett’s refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion means that the $4 billion that could have been returned to Pennsylvania will not be, and that the money could have been used to insure an additional 700,000, to help hospitals and to create 41,000 new jobs. “Corbett does not understand economy,” he said, “and he makes life for working people worse.”

Predicting that Gov. Corbett will not be re-elected given his low approval ratings, Hanger mentioned that there will likely be at least seven candidates on the ticket and said, “I need Fulton County’s vote. I need the central Pa. vote because 600,000 votes could win this race. I’m counting on Fulton County.”

Hanger has 29 years of service to the commonwealth, including serving on the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) during the Rendell administration.

Other declared Democratic candidates include: Rep. Allyson Schwartz from southeastern Pa.; Tom Wolf, a York County businessman; and Max Myers, a Harrisburg area businessman and former pastor. There are also several others mentioned as possible, but undeclared, candidates. Brad Koplinski, candidate for lieutenant governor, followed Hanger at the podium and outlined his experiences that he says makes him uniquely qualified to serve in the state’s second highest position. Currently a Harrisburg City councilman, he ran Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign in central Pa. and also ran the John Kerry campaign. Koplinski, a former “Jeopardy” contestant, also served as an attorney for the Harrisburg City Council and has worked for the Department of Justice and for the Internal Revenue Service as an attorney. Both he and Hanger emphasized that while Corbett would not raise taxes, he forced local municipalities such as counties and school boards to have to raise taxes. He said that as a result of what has happened in Harrisburg, he has learned that “Wall Street needs to take a haircut first.” Koplinski said that he opposes the privatization of the Pennsylvania liquor business and the lottery.

Jerrold Sulcove, a Chambersburg attorney running for judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the 39th Judicial District, asked those in attendance for their vote, saying, “I was born and raised in Chambersburg and practice law with my father, Jan Sulcove, and my brother, Elliott Sulcove.” He described his areas of expertise in civil and auto and insurance law. “If I am elected, I promise to be fair and impartial. But regardless of the outcome, I have found it a pleasure to run for office.”

Hanger, who arrived at the dinner early and took questions and concerns from those in attendance, said the questions and comments largely focused on how to save Meadow Grounds Lake. Other speakers included Commissioner Irvin Dasher and Dayton Tweedy. Tweedy spoke on behalf of Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake and urged everyone to support saving the lake. He also recognized Commissioner Dasher and the board of commissioners for being out front on the issue.

State Rep. Scott Conklin (D- 77), a regular at the county’s Democratic banquets, spoke on behalf of Judge Joe Waters, candidate for Pennsylvania Superior Court. Waters, a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge since 2009, also had a 21-year career with the Philadelphia Police Department and attained the rank of captain.

Conklin said, “He knows what it is like to struggle and we need to send him to the Superior Court.”

Pennsylvania’s primary election will be held on May 21, 2013.

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