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Governor Wolf, Attorney General Eric Holder Discuss Importance of Fair Districts, Criminal Justice Reform

Today, Governor Wolf and former Attorney General and Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee Eric Holder discussed the importance of fair districts and criminal justice reform.

Pennsylvania – Today, Governor Wolf and former Attorney General and Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee Eric Holder discussed the importance of fair districts and criminal justice reform. Earlier this year, Governor Wolf rejected a partisan gerrymandered congressional map and, as a result, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new, fair map that better represents the people of Pennsylvania. He also announced a 21st century voting reform plan, which calls for the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to create future electoral maps.

Governor Wolf has made criminal justice reform a top priority by signing Clean Slate legislation, banning the box, and calling for a sweeping package of additional reforms such as bail and pre-trial reforms. He has also worked to ensure that the commonwealth is a place where African American Pennsylvanians know that their concerns and voices are heard and valued. Governor Wolf has appointed African Americans to serve at the highest levels of government within his administration and created the position of Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities at the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.

“I was honored to be joined by Attorney General Holder today to discuss the importance of unrigging the redistricting system and reforming our criminal justice system,” said Governor Wolf. “Attorney General Holder has been on the front lines working to develop and execute a comprehensive redistricting strategy and leading the way on criminal justice reform. I look forward to continuing to work with him to ensure that all citizens have an equal voice in government representation, and that Pennsylvania leads the nation in rehabilitation, not incarceration.”

“Governor Wolf has been a stalwart advocate for eliminating partisan politics from the legislative redistricting process and reforming Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system,” said Attorney General Holder. “I was proud of the leadership he displayed in rejecting a partisan gerrymandered map earlier this year and, because of him, Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to vote this fall on a fair congressional map. It is critical that Governor Wolf is re-elected this November so that he can continue standing up against gerrymandering and advocating for criminal justice reforms that aim to reduce recidivism and end mass incarceration.”

If Governor Wolf is re-elected this year, he will serve as the governor in 2021 when the maps are redrawn, and he will once again reject any map that does not fairly represent the people of Pennsylvania.

 

CONTACT: Beth Melena, beth@wolfforpa.com

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Governor Wolf Thanks CeaseFire Pennsylvania for Their Endorsement

Today, CeaseFire Pennsylvania announced their endorsement of Governor Tom Wolf for re-election.

Pennsylvania – Today, CeaseFire Pennsylvania announced their endorsement of Governor Tom Wolf for re-election.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of CeaseFire Pennsylvania,” said Governor Wolf. “I look forward to continuing to work with CeaseFire Pennsylvania to pass common sense gun safety legislation, such as strengthening our background check system and closing loopholes, banning bump stocks, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. I will continue traveling the commonwealth, engaging with Pennsylvanians to learn how the gun violence epidemic affects their lives and what steps we can take to better protect our schools and our communities.”

“During his tenure, Governor Wolf has recognized the gun violence problem plaguing Pennsylvania and the nation and has pledged support for key gun violence prevention policies,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire Pennsylvania. “Governor Wolf has also been a strong voice against policies that would make Pennsylvania less safe.”  

 

CONTACT: Beth Melena, beth@wolfforpa.com

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Scott Wagner Contradicts His Own Education Plan, Says Schools Have Enough Funding

This weekend, the Erie Times News reported that, when speaking about education funding, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner responded, “My personal opinion is we have enough money going into the education system.”

Pennsylvania – This weekend, the Erie Times News reported that, when speaking about education funding, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner responded, “My personal opinion is we have enough money going into the education system.” This directly contradicts his own school funding plan, which uses abracadabra math to claim that he will invest $1 billion into education without raising taxes.

“Scott Wagner’s comments that our schools already have enough funding reveal his true position on education– he is an anti-education candidate who would put our children’s futures at risk,” said Beth Melena, communications director for Tom Wolf for Governor. “Wagner showed his true colors this weekend, which is in line with his record of supporting Harrisburg Republicans’ $1 billion cut to education, calling for 10% of teachers to be laid off, and saying he wouldn’t invest more money in public education. No bogus campaign plan can hide the fact that Scott Wagner would take Pennsylvania backwards.”

 

BACKGROUND:

Wagner Said Schools Have Enough Funding. “‘My personal opinion is we have enough money going into the education system,’ Wagner said.” [Erie Times News, 10/07/18]

Wagner Supported Harrisburg Republicans $1 Billion Cut to Education.

INTERVIEWER: Well, they say the Governor runs the largest corporation in the state.  He is the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He’s come out with some pretty dramatic changes for the budget in this coming season, but we still have ⅔ of Pennsylvanians are opposed to the cuts in education.  If you were to give him advice, would you tell him to stick to his guns on these dramatic cuts that he’s making across the board. Education’s hit the worst, but everybody’s getting hit.

WAGNER: “Yes, I believe that Governor Corbett needs to stick to his plan.” [Behind the Headlines, 5/23/11]

Wagner Advocated For Laying Off 10% of Teachers in Pennsylvania. “‘We have 180,000 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania,’ Wagner said. ‘If we laid off 10 percent of the teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, we’d never miss them.’” [ABC27, 6/29/15]

Wagner Co-Sponsored Bill Which Could Gut $1.7 Billion from Public Education. “But every time a student opts to take the money, the same number of dollars would be subtracted from his or her home district. In theory, that could reach about 1.7 billion dollars, a fifth of the amount spent by the state on K-12 public education.” [Senate Bill 2, introduced 10/17/17; WHYY, 5/22/18]

Wagner Would Not Devote More Money To Public Schools. “To a great extent, it appeared that two candidates — Paul Mango and Scott Wagner — would be unwilling to devote more money to public schools … Scott Wagner … said he believes the state spends ‘enough money’ on public schools, while stressing the need for frugality, fewer regulations and more accountability.” [Associated Press, 3/07/18]

Wagner Said The State Should Not Spend More On Public Education. “The candidates — State Sen. Scott Wagner of York County; Paul Mango, a retired health-care consultant, and lawyer Laura Ellsworth, both from the Pittsburgh area — agreed that the state shouldn’t spend more money on public education…” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/06/18]

Wagner Twice Voted Against Restoring Funding For The Safe School Initiative. In April 2017, House Bill 218 eliminated money for the Safe School Initiative. The Senate restored that funding in their version of the budget, and Wagner voted against it in committee and on the floor. [HB 218, General Fund State Appropriations, 4/03/17, Senate Appropriations Committee Vote, Roll Call #391, 6/29/17, RCS# 206, 6/30/17]

HEADLINE: “State Senator Who Can Afford To Charter Helicopters On Whim Says Public Schools Overfunded.” [Huffington Post, 6/05/15]

 

CONTACT: Beth Melena, beth@wolfforpa.com

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ICYMI: PennLive: With Kavanaugh vote looming, here’s why the fight over abortion matters in the #PaGovRace

In a conversation with the PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board this week, Wagner underlined his opposition to abortion, but twice declined to answer when he was asked whether he’d sign a ban-bill that did not provide exceptions for rape, incest, extreme fetal abnormality, or the health of the mother.

* Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, the incumbent, says he’d veto any bill restricting a woman’s right to choose. Wolf has previously vetoed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and that banned a common, second-trimester procedure.

* Republican Scott Wagner who has said that “whatever happens, happens,” with a newly conservative court, said he’d have to wait and see what action it took on Roe. Nonetheless, Wagner has described himself as “100 percent pro-life,” and has supported legislation that would ban abortions at as early as six weeks – which is before most women even know they’re pregnant.

* In a conversation with the PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board this week, Wagner underlined his opposition to abortion, but twice declined to answer when he was asked whether he’d sign a ban-bill that did not provide exceptions for rape, incest, extreme fetal abnormality, or the health of the mother.


Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

As we’ve noted a couple of times before, the 2018 race for Pennsylvania governor is kind of a big deal. And one of the ways it’s a big deal has a lot to do with the United States Supreme Court.

With federal appellate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s high court nomination seemingly steaming toward a confirmation vote this weekend, the nation’s highest court is set to become even more conservative than it already is.

And that has women’s health advocates worried that a newly conservative high court could someday overturn Roe v. Wade, returning the debate over abortion to the states.

Kavanaugh has described Roe as “settled law,” but as one observer points out, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t move to gut it if given the opportunity.

As a result, those same advocates are looking to friendly governors and legislatures to protect access to abortion. In Pennsylvania, the choices could not be more black and white.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, the incumbent, says he’d veto any bill restricting a woman’s right to choose. Wolf has previously vetoed a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and that banned a common, second-trimester procedure.

Women’s health advocates are backing candidates, like Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who they think will protect access to abortion.

Republican Scott Wagner who has said that “whatever happens, happens,” with a newly conservative court, said he’d have to wait and see what action it took on Roe.

Nonetheless, Wagner has described himself as “100 percent pro-life,” and has supported legislation that would ban abortions at as early as six weeks – which is before most women even know they’re pregnant.

In a conversation with the PennLive/Patriot-News Editorial Board this week, Wagner underlined his opposition to abortion, but twice declined to answer when he was asked whether he’d sign a ban-bill that did not provide exceptions for rape, incest, extreme fetal abnormality, or the health of the mother.

“I am 100 percent pro-life. And I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record,” Wagner told the board. “When that happens, and it comes to … I will use legal counsel and advisers to walk me through that process. We’re not there, so I’m not going to sit here and make speculation on what’s going to happen in the Supreme Court.”

Wagner, who supports defunding Planned Parenthood and rolling back the Medicaid expansion, put it back on private donors to step in to pay for services for thousands of low-income women who access healthcare through the women’s health organization.

A Planned Parenthood health clinic operates in Wagner’s York County backyard. Other family planning providers have said they would not be able to handle the overflow if that health center closed.

“In that position there are private donors … and there are entities that operate solely on private-sector funds, not on government funds,” he said. “A lot of people in Pennsylvania have made it clear, they do not want taxpayer funds used to fund Planned Parenthood. So, there are a lot of wealthy donors out there who donate to those causes.”

But according to one advocate, it’s not that easy. And it’s unlikely that private donors would be able to fill the gap.

In a statement, Sari Stevens, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates, the group’s political wing, called Wagner “a danger to Pennsylvania’s women and families,” who’d leave “90,000 Pennsylvanians without the healthcare they need.”

And that’s why, according to Sue Frietsche, an attorney with the Women’s Law Project, the choices could not be more clear.

“There’s a message that’s sent when the government tells you that you don’t have the power to make decisions about your own body,” she said in an interview earlier this year.

 

Read the full piece here.

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