A guide to the 2014 Pennsylvania governor election

By Dylan Sheaffer
Student Writer

On Nov. 4, the race to become governor of Pennsylvania will be at its end. Republican Tom Corbett is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger Tom Wolf.

Governor Corbett’s low approval ratings signal that there could be a possible change. In a poll taken by Franklin & Marshall College, only 20% of the participants felt Corbett deserved re-election. In spite of this, Corbett ran unopposed in the Republican primary and has gained some ground in recent Franklin & Marshall polls.

Corbett’s opponent is the Democratic Party nominee Tom Wolf. He is a former businessman and former Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. He gained the nomination by beating other prestigious opponents such as U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and former Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Kathleen McGinty. The average predicted spread is Wolf winning by 11% over Corbett.

The two candidates both come from unique upbringings. Corbett was born and raised in Philadelphia. He served in Pennsylvania’s Army National Guard from 1971-1984. Corbett’s career has been split between civil service and private practice. His legal career began as an assistant district attorney of Pittsburgh’s Allegany County and eventually rose to the position of state attorney general in 1995. He then was elected as governor of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Wolf was born and currently resides in York, Pennsylvania. He obtained his Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as a student, joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in India. After graduation, Wolf began working for his family owned business, Wolf Organization Inc. He began as a forklift driver and worked his way up to purchasing the company. His political career began when he was nominated to be Secretary of Revenue for Pennsylvania by then-Governor Ed Rendell. He held this position until resigning in 2008.

Wolf and Corbett have different perspectives on how Pennsylvania should progress as a state. However, they have some common grounds in areas such as healthcare. Both of the candidates would accept federal funds so Medicaid would cover people earning up to 138% of the federal poverty line.

Another issue these two candidates feel similar on is the issue of education. Both Corbett and Wolf disagree with the effort to regulate and increase school standards under the Common Core initiative. Corbett has just recently disagreed with this movement, after being a strong supporter of the Common Core initiative for the majority of his term.

Nevertheless, they still disagree on one major factor of the issue. Wolf supports the Affordable Care Act, while Corbett opposes it.

They also disagree on the issue of labor unions. Corbett seeks legislation in an attempt to scale back the ability of public-sector unions. This is directly the opposite of Wolf, who opposes such a proposal and supports unions and what they stand for.

Another point of contention has been the minimum wage debate. Corbett has stated that he prefers for Pennsylvania to have its minimum wage be that of the federal minimum wage. Wolf supports the movement to have the minimum wage in Pennsylvania raised from $7.25 to $10.00 an hour.

Climate change is yet another key issue in the debate. Corbett has said that he believes climate change is happening, yet he argues the immediate threat of it to humans. Thus, he disagrees with the Environmental Protection Agency standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Wolf, on the other hand, strongly believes that climate change is already affecting human health and supports the Environmental Protection Agencies standards saying they must be taken seriously. He goes onto say that regulating these new guidelines could create jobs and economic opportunities.

There are several major issues that these two candidates have extremely different viewpoints on, but ultimately the direction of Pennsylvania’s leadership will be decided Tuesday. Messiah students and residents of Pennsylvania can be a part of the process: go to the polls on Nov. 4th and cast your vote.

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