GUEST BLOG: Kavanaugh Confirmation Reveals That PA Women Can’t Afford Wagner

The brave testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and subsequent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have revealed yet again the stark contrast in Pennsylvania’s race for governor– Governor Tom Wolf has consistently stood on the side of Pennsylvania’s women while Scott Wagner has made clear that he does not support women and would take Pennsylvania backwards.

By Marissa Leslie

The brave testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and subsequent confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have revealed yet again the stark contrast in Pennsylvania’s race for governor– Governor Tom Wolf has consistently stood on the side of Pennsylvania’s women while Scott Wagner has made clear that he does not support women and would take Pennsylvania backwards.

Governor Wolf issued a statement of support for Dr. Ford, calling her allegations credible and demanding an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Scott Wagner, on the other hand, posted a despicable video in which he accused Dr. Ford of being part of a political conspiracy to bring down President Trump and called for the confirmation of Kavanaugh.

The difference between Governor Wolf and Wagner’s responses to this situation is representative of their actions throughout the Me Too era. Governor Wolf has been an unwavering ally of the Me Too movement– he called for the resignations of elected officials accused of sexual misconduct on both sides of the aisle. Additionally, he announced a package of reforms aimed at strengthening protections against sexual harassment and discrimination. He also launched “It’s On Us PA,” the first statewide campaign to address the crisis of sexual assault in schools.

Wagner, on the other hand, refused to call on Representative Pat Meehan to resign even after it was revealed that he used $40,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim. Now, he is continuing to support Brett Kavanaugh despite multiple credible allegations of sexual assault against him. This is a pattern.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation also poses an extreme risk for the future of reproductive health rights across the country. Luckily, Governor Wolf has continuously proven his commitment to protecting a woman’s right to choose. He vetoed Senate Bill 3, which would have been the most restrictive abortion law in the country by proposing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, with no exceptions for rape, incest, health or tragic fetal anomalies. He promised to veto any attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and strongly opposed the Trump administration’s gag rule. He and his wife Frances even used to volunteer as escorts for Planned Parenthood.

I have seen the pressure women go through while attempting to access care at Planned Parenthood. They are hounded and screamed at by people waiving signs at them and calling them names. It’s saddening. Women need someone who will walk beside them in their right to access health care. And that’s Governor Wolf.

Wagner, on the other hand, said he would sign a six week abortion ban as governor, which is before many women even know they’re pregnant. Wagner proudly co-sponsored Senate Bill 3 and Senate Bill 300, which would have defunded Planned Parenthood. Thousands of women in Pennsylvania rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and other critical health care services.

The difference in this race could not be more clear. Scott Wagner does not stand for the women of Pennsylvania and would take us backwards. Governor Wolf has been a stalwart champion for women’s rights and would continue standing as our last line of defense against harmful policies coming from Harrisburg and Washington. That is why I am supporting Governor Wolf for re-election.

Governor Wolf Signs Historic Anti-Hazing Legislation in Memory of Timothy Piazza

Earlier today, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 1090 into law as part of his ongoing efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s students.

Earlier today, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 1090 into law as part of his ongoing efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s students. According to the Associated Press:

“Gov. Tom Wolf called it ‘long overdue’ as he put his signature on legislation to enact stricter criminal penalties and permit courts to order confiscation of frat houses where hazing has occurred.”

Also known as the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law, the legislation was sparked by the tragic death of Piazza, then a sophomore at Penn State, in early 2017 due to hazing. After unanimously passing both houses of the state legislature, “Tim’s Law” was sent to the desk of Governor Wolf, who had long voiced support for the legislation.

“Tim’s tragic experience has led to real change,” said Governor Wolf. “There is no place for hazing on our college campuses. And together, we will protect students and hold accountable those who engage in it. We mourn for Tim’s loss with his family, and while we can never fix what they’ve gone through, this new law will help to prevent other tragedies.”

Timothy’s parents, Jim and Evelyn Piazza, joined Governor Wolf at the signing ceremony alongside Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Penn State President Eric J. Barron, and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein.

Ensuring the safety of Pennsylvania’s students has been a top priority for Governor Wolf. Earlier this year, he formed the School Safety Task Force with Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to ensure that Pennsylvania is doing everything possible to make sure that our schools are safe places for our children to learn. He also launched the It’s on Us PA initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

Governor Wolf Talks Education Funding, School Safety with Pennsylvania’s Students

This week, Governor Wolf answered hard hitting questions from fourth, fifth and sixth graders about education funding and school safety, among other issues, at the The Rendell Center’s Gubernatorial Forum – Capturing the Voice of the Student.

This week, Governor Wolf answered hard hitting questions from fourth, fifth and sixth graders about education funding and school safety, among other issues, at the The Rendell Center’s Gubernatorial Forum – Capturing the Voice of the Student.

Students from Philadelphia’s E.M. Stanton Elementary, Anne Frank Elementary, and Pollock Elementary, Lower Merion’s Cynwyd Elementary, and Pittsburgh’s Fox Chapel School District asked the governor questions that they had written about important issues affecting their lives. Governor Wolf emphasized that he has fully restored Harrisburg Republicans’ $1 billion cut to education, created a School Safety Task Force and secured $60 million for funding school safety initiatives, launched his PASmart initiative to ensure that students are trained for the 21st century workforce, and reduced testing time.

The issue of school safety came up repeatedly during the forum. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Wolf said he would continue to listen to teachers, to implement the suggestions he heard from them in forums around the state held on school safety, and to offer grants for schools to improve safety.

“The state needs to invest enough money into education, and it needs to do so fairly, so that every student, no matter what ZIP code that student is in, gets a good education,” said Governor Wolf, when asked about how he will ensure that school funding is distributed fairly. Governor Wolf has also implemented a fair funding formula to take the politics out of education funding once and for all.

While Governor Wolf enjoyed engaging with the students and finding out what matters most to them, the students got a kick out of meeting the governor. According to WHYY, one Anne Frank Elementary School student remarked after the forum, “When Tom Wolf was answering the questions it was really cool. And when he shook our hand, it was really cool, too.”

Governor Wolf Stands Up for Victims of Crime and Abuse

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf took a stand for victims of crime, abuse, and harassment in Pennsylvania. He called on the General Assembly to prioritize and deliver to his desk several bills that have been stalled in the legislature that would empower, protect, and support victims.

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf took a stand for victims of crime, abuse, and harassment in Pennsylvania. He called on the General Assembly to prioritize and deliver to his desk several bills that have been stalled in the legislature that would empower, protect, and support victims.

As the Morning Call reports:

“Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has joined a growing chorus of reformers calling on lawmakers to give victims of child sex assault greater legal protections as fallout continues over a month-old grand jury report that exposed decades of clergy sex abuse in Catholic dioceses.”

“We have seen too many pro-victim bills fall to the wayside in the past 18 months and I call on the General Assembly to put victims first and take action on these proposals this fall,” said Governor Wolf. “The grand jury report is a gut-wrenching reminder that our laws are failing too many victims of crime. There are too many issues, including domestic violence, child sexual abuse, gun violence and sexual assault, where bills that would help victims and protect families are stalled in the legislature and this is unacceptable.”

The proposals that the governor is urging the legislature to move quickly on include:

  • Child Sexual Abuse: Governor Wolf has urged action on the four recommendations of the statewide grand jury into clergy sexual abuse that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse and allow for survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil claims against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them.
  • Domestic Violence: Since 2017, Governor Wolf has pushed for a package of bipartisan Senate bills to combat domestic violence and protect survivors.
  • Sexual Assault: Governor Wolf unveiled a bipartisan “It’s On Us” legislative package in September 2017. These bills would focus on empowering and protecting victims of sexual assault, especially on college and high school campuses.
  • Gun Violence: Governor Wolf has supported many bills to reduce violence and protect individuals from becoming victims of gun crimes, including taking guns more swiftly from domestic abusers and creating a new red-flag emergency order to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.
  • Sexual Harassment: Governor Wolf and legislative Democrats introduced nearly two dozen bills to combat sexual harassment and improve treatment of victims.
  • Hate Crimes and Discrimination: Governor Wolf has long called for legislation providing protections for members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination and hate crimes.
  • Human Trafficking: Governor Wolf supports Senator Greenleaf’s SB 554, Safe Harbor legislation to protect the child victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for crimes they were forced to commit.
  • Hazing: Governor Wolf has long-supported the Pennsylvania Timothy J. Piazza Law to give law enforcement the tools they need to hold people accountable and ensure schools have proper safeguards to protect students and curb these practices.