I n just th ree weeks, it’ll be Election Day. On Nov. 4, people across the nation will head to the ballot box to elect congressmen, governors and state legislators. Here in Pennsylvania, we have an important race for governor, and one thing is clear: This state cannot afford four more years of Tom Corbett.
Corbett, the Republican governor elected in 2010, has used his one term in office to cut education funding, halt economic growth and attack women’s rights and LGBT equality. He hasn’t earned our vote, and he hasn’t earned yours.
The current administration’s priorities have been consistently out of touch with the needs of our state. In his first budget, Corbett slashed $1 billion from public education in Pennsylvania, devastating schools with mass teacher layoffs and severe cuts to services for students.
And the sad fact is that it didn’t have to be this way. Corbett argues that the billion dollars in education cuts came from the loss of federal stimulus money, but Pennsylvania also lost federal funding for the state Department of Corrections. Corbett replaced the prisons’ money with additional state funding, but refused to do the same for our schools. In addition, Pennsylvania had a budget surplus when Corbett entered office — a surplus which has since disappeared.
Making matters even worse, it is estimated that Pennsylvania is sitting on as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and Corbett has given this valuable natural resource away for absolutely nothing. Pennsylvania is the only state in the entire country that doesn’t charge a penny to companies that extract this natural gas. An extraction tax could generate billions of dollars in revenue that could be reinvested in our schools and infrastructure, but Corbett has steadfastly refused to consider such a tariff .
So Corbett always makes sure we have money to imprison our citizens and deplete our natural resources, but kids from poor neighborhoods who want a decent public education — sorry, you’re out of luck.
Governor Corbett has also done nothing to promote job growth. Under the current administration, Pennsylvania has fallen to 47th in job creation nationally . As the rest of the country continues to recover from the devastating financial crisis, Governor Corbett has caused our state to stagnate .
And his social policies have been, if possible, even worse. In 2012, Corbett supported a law that would have required women who wanted to have an abortion to be given an ultrasound, shown two pictures of the fetus, and told how many heartbeats per minute the fetus has . When questioned about his support for this invasive procedure and graphic lecture , Corbett’s only response was that a woman didn’t have to actually look at the ultrasound monitor — “You just have to close your eyes.”
Corbett also wants to cut all state funding from Planned Parenthood, an act that would reduce access to cancer screenings, STD testing and contraceptives from women statewide .
In addition to his stance on women’s issues, Corbett stands on the wrong side of history on LGBTQ rights. Last year, one of his lawyers compared gay marriage to child marriage . When Corbett was asked about the statement, he had this to say: “It was an inappropriate analogy, you know. I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don’t you?”
Fortunately, we have an alternative to Corbett and his harmful, outdated policies. Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate, is ready to usher Pennsylvania into the 21st century and help us succeed long into the future. In the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on Wolf and the much-needed change he will bring to this state.
To Tom Corbett, incarcerating citizens and giving tax breaks to corporations are more important than educating children. To Tom Corbett, invasive medical procedures can be ignored by just closing your eyes. To Tom Corbett, marriage equality is no different from incest. Tom Corbett is stuck in the past, and Pennsylvania needs to embrace the present and prepare for the future. So on Election Day, say no to Corbett, and say yes to progre ss.
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