Energy - November 30, 2012

Former Secretary of Environmental Protection announces candidacy for governor

On Wednesday, John Hanger, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor.  Hanger was the Secretary of Environmental Protection under Governor Ed Rendell.  Hanger is first Democratic challenger to Governor Corbett for the 2014 election.  Hanger also served on the Public Utility Commission in the 90s and is the founder of Penn Future, and environmental advocacy organization. 

Hanger’s top issues include increasing funding for public education, opposing school vouchers, and support for a natural gas tax.  Other issues that will garner his support are legalized medical marijuana, civil marriage, and repealing the controversial Voter ID law.  Hanger also supports Auditor General-Elect Kathleen Kane’s pledge to investigate the handling of the Jerry Sandusky abuse case.

While Hanger notes that it is very early in the race, he wanted to get an early start in raising campaign funds.  He has stated that Governor Corbett is “going to be well-funded and it's going to take a very significant campaign to beat him.”


State schools faculty delay strike

Faculties at Pennsylvania’s 14 state schools have decided not to strike right now.  The faculty union is postponing consideration of a strike until next semester.  The union did not want to adversely affect students for the remainder of the current school semester.  A contract still needs to be worked out between the union and the State System of Higher Education.  The faculty union’s contract expired in June 2011 and negotiations have been ongoing.  At issue are “health care costs, compensation for part-time faculty, and pay for distance learning courses.”

Currently, Pennsylvania pays 27 percent of operating costs and funding for state schools has been declining in recent years.  Should the union decide to strike, it would be the first ever for the State System of Higher Education.  Over 6,000 faculty members and coaches are represented by the union and between the 14 state schools there are over 120,000 students who could be affected.