5 Dem candidates for governor at Temple Nov. 23

I watched the whole forum and you can find the video here. Pay attention to the note “Video starts at 18 minutes”: you have to move the timer ahead.

Interesting format, with a strongly pro-union and pro-teacher audience and two community members setting up each of four themes before the candidates spoke.

See a detailed write-up in Brittany Foster and Keegan Gibson, “Dems Jockey for Liberal Votes at Philly Forum,” Politics PA, 11/23/13.

Here’s what I’d add:

Ladies in red, guys in dark suits–I guess it’s always that way on the campaign trail.

I thought Schwartz was being extra careful not to give juicy quotes to the other side on specific issues that might be contentious in other settings; but she did ably promote pre-school education, Social Security, and health care for children (CHIP). She has been working on education for a long time (see her campaign site).

McCord seemed rather worked-up at times, despite landing some good points, like prevailing wage protecting employment and the benefits of sick leave (restaurant workers coughing on your food: ugh!). Health care should not be about politics: right! He ended on a good note about human dignity, social justice, and efficiency coinciding in expanding Medicaid. He’s a strong speaker but I wish he’d put more detail on issues on his web site.

I wouldn’t agree with commenter Dominic to give Wolf a low grade; he made some good points, like about the boy who read 3+ books a week finding his school had no librarian any more. Wolf, as a businessman, had the standing to say businesses would work better with a PA health exchange. He was surprised to get some applause for his PhD from MIT. Yes, maybe a bit wonkish. Good info on his web site.

I found Hanger clear and forceful on some cutting edge issues: against “privatization of public education,” for marijuana reform (“stop the mad incarceration” that affects African-Americans 5 times more than whites), for single-payer health care (“health care is a human right”–including mental health care and addiction treatment), for the state guaranteeing private company employees’ pensions, expanding Medicaid, alternative energy, and education as a way to expand jobs. The real reason the privatizers attack public ed is to attack unions–that sure struck a chord with the audience. Well said by commenter Jan: “mix of substance and passion.” Huge amounts of info including a regular blog, on his site.

McGinty cited the Phila girl who tragically died because her asthma attack came on a day the school had no nurse… as a result of the Corbett cutbacks. Yes, we need smaller classes. Yes, green energy creates jobs… union jobs with good benefits, as she said, and decent-paying jobs don’t cost jobs. Jobs with PA money should go to Pennsylvanians, not migrant gas workers. I thought she spoke well. Her web site: good, but less developed than some of the others.

Most of the five made the predictable points about stopping inadequate charter schools and underperforming cyber schools from depleting public funds meant for public education; they supported unions, full-day kindergarten, a proper funding formula for school districts, expanding Medicare, and raising the minimum wage. Any would be a great improvement over the incumbent. I don’t recall same-sex marriage coming up, but I think they all agree with it.

Right, they didn’t attack each other. Why should they when there is so much to attack in the way the job is being done right now?

Personal qualities are part of it: voters need to examine not only the issues but also which candidate has the inner strength and public manner to confront the Corbett legacy and his allies, of whom some will doubtless still be around in Harrisburg when his successor takes office in January, 2015.

As the excellent moderator Dr. Tyler said at the beginning, “this is definitely one of the most important elections that we will ever face.” Let’s all pay attention every day between now and November 5, 2014!

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