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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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VIDEO: Wagner Doubles Down On Taxing Seniors’ Retirement Accounts

Today in a PennLive Editorial Board meeting, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said, “everything’s on the table” when considering which new taxes to levy. That includes seniors’ retirement accounts, which Wagner has vocally supported.

Pennsylvania – Today in a PennLive Editorial Board meeting, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said, “everything’s on the table” when considering which new taxes to levy. That includes seniors’ retirement accounts, which Wagner has vocally supported.

“Pennsylvania’s seniors cannot afford Scott Wagner as governor,” said Beth Melena, communications director for Tom Wolf for Governor. “Wagner would tax seniors’ retirement accounts, charge seniors an age tax, hike prescription drug costs, and gut Medicaid expansion. He has even gone so far as to call our hardworking seniors the ‘Greediest Generation Ever.’ Scott Wagner is the very worst of Harrisburg.”

WATCH: https://youtu.be/sE7vPteiHf8

 

BACKGROUND:

VIDEO: Wagner Wants to Tax Seniors Retirement Accounts “The other problem we have is – and this really angers me to a certain degree. We don’t tax retirement income in the state of Pennsylvania.” [Berk County Patriots Meeting, 1/21/16]

VIDEO: Wagner Would Roll Back Medicaid Expansion. “We should roll back Medicaid expansion.” [GrowPA Republican Candidates Forum, 3/06/18]

VIDEO: Wagner Called Seniors The “Greediest Generation Ever.” In a December 2016 interview with PennLive, Wagner said about seniors receiving pensions, “If you go onto Google and Google ‘greediest generation ever’ you’d be shocked at what pops up. They don’t care. It’s all about them. It’s all about me.” [PennLive, 12/07/16]

Wagner Was The Only Senator To Not Vote On A Bill To Lower Prescription Drug Costs For Seniors. In November 2017, Wagner did not vote on final passage of House Bill 425 to help seniors continue to receive prescription drug benefits through PACE and PACE NET by excluding Social Security cost of living increases from income limits for the programs. [HB 425, RCS# 345, 11/15/17; Governor Tom Wolf Press Release, 12/21/17]

 

CONTACT: Beth Melena, beth@wolfforpa.com

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Scott Wagner Praises Former Governor Corbett for Cutting $1 Billion from Education

In last night’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, Republican candidate Scott Wagner gave an impassioned defense of former Governor Tom Corbett, defending his record of… cutting $1 billion from education.

Pennsylvania – In last night’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, Republican candidate Scott Wagner gave an impassioned defense of former Governor Tom Corbett, defending his record of… cutting $1 billion from education. Wagner said: “People need to know that Governor Corbett did as much for education as really any governor. And he needs to be remembered for that.”

“By praising Governor Corbett’s disastrous education record, Scott Wagner made it clear that, as governor, he would take us back to the days when Harrisburg Republicans cut $1 billion from education, leading to mass teacher layoffs, cuts to important programs like pre-kindergarten, and larger class sizes,” said Beth Melena, communications director for Tom Wolf for Governor. “Scott Wagner would put our children’s futures at risk and would take Pennsylvania backwards.”

 

BACKGROUND:

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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GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE SUMMARY: Governor Wolf Will Move Pennsylvania Forward; Scott Wagner Will Take Pennsylvania Backwards

After tonight’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, the contrast between the candidates could not be more clear– Governor Wolf will move Pennsylvania forward. Scott Wagner will take Pennsylvania backwards.

Hershey, PA – After tonight’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, the contrast between the candidates could not be more clear– Governor Wolf will move Pennsylvania forward. Scott Wagner will take Pennsylvania backwards.

“Tonight’s debate made clear that Governor Wolf will continue building on his progress from the past four years by investing in career and technical education and skills training, expanding access to quality and affordable health care, and working to help more seniors stay in their homes,” said Beth Melena, communications director for Tom Wolf for Governor. “Scott Wagner is the very worst of Harrisburg. He would take Pennsylvania backwards by gutting funding for education, rolling back Medicaid expansion, and taxing seniors’ retirement accounts.”

 

CONTACT: Beth Melena, beth@wolfforpa.com

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