Gov. Wolf visits Edinboro, addresses students

Category:  News
Thursday, April 21st, 2016 at 10:49 AM
Gov. Wolf visits Edinboro, addresses students by Dakota Palmer
Pictured above, Gov. Tom Wolf addresses Edinboro students.

Last Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf visited Edinboro University to address over 300 students and members of the community. In March, the nine month Pennsylvania budget impasse ended after state legislators came up with a $30 billion budget for 2015-2016. This budget came into effect without the governor’s signature.

His speech was structured with his ideas of the four main duties of government. The first, according to Wolf, is providing Pennsylvanians with the skills they need to live “freely and prosperously.” He added, “The first thing a state government should do is make sure we have a broadly accessible and relevant education system.”

His second point was that citizens should have open access to infrastructure when facing goods like highways, utility networks and telecommunications.

“We’re not doing as well as we should, we’re not doing as well as we once did, and we’re not doing as well as other nations did,” he said.

Third, he stated that he wants to have a “level playing field” for all citizens. “All citizens should have an equal opportunity to build a life, career, family or business in Pennsylvania,” he said.

“We don’t have a political system that can assure all Pennsylvanians a level playing field and an equal shot at a good life.”

Wolf referenced the recent passing of the bathroom bill in North Carolina preventing transgender people from using public restrooms of their choice. He focused on how this will eventually hurt North Carolina’s economy because many businesses and companies want to create jobs in places that are open and welcoming.

“We need to make sure Pennsylvania can be a welcoming place regardless of the color of your skin, your gender, the religion you profess or the person you love,” he continued.

His fourth point was that the government should be “open, transparent and honorable.” Wolf discussed how representatives should make the gifts they receive transparent and said, “Let’s satisfy ourselves that our representatives are doing our will, not the will of some random campaign donor. Finally, let’s eliminate gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.”

He went on to discuss how Pennsylvania is facing a $2 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year and how currently we are “paying a premium on our debt right now of $139 million because we choose not to have our financial matters in order.” “$139 million,” he restated. “That’s not going to make Edinboro more affordable or more accessible. It’s going to pay the people who lend us money at a higher interest rate because our financial house is not in order,” he said. “We can’t keep doing this much longer.”

During the question and answer session with the audience, some people addressed their concerns with contaminated water due to fracking and the taxation of e-cigarettes.

He also addressed the financial stress the recent budget impasse caused students statewide.

“What will really hurt students is if we don’t get a balanced budget. There are two places you can cut in the general fund, education and human services. If we have a $2 billion deficit, about a $1 billion is going to be cut from education,” he said.

He continued, “I was standing up to try to keep that from happening and if we get a balanced budget for this year, 2016-2017, that won’t happen. That’s what we’re fighting for, that’s what we’re struggling for and it would be disingenuous to say ‘let’s let the funding for the 2015-2016 year go through, but let’s not worry about what’s going to go on in the future.’”

He continued, “We need to make sure we have the money in Harrisburg to help support public education.”

Wolf concluded his speech with, “This is an exciting time; it’s a time of opportunity and change, it’s a time that’s full of potential, and we should be full of hope and optimism, not despair and pessimism.”

Wolf also met with protesters outside the Frank G. Pogue Student Center who are pro-life. Wolf is openly pro-choice. Additionally, there were people who were protesting Wolf because of his support of hydraulic fracturing. Wolf supports fracking of the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, which has caused concern amongst a vocal group of state citizens.

Dakota Palmer is the Online Editor for The Spectator.

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