The list of potential candidates who have expressed interest in running for 2014 Pennsylvaian governor is enough to hurt anyone’s head. House Representative Joe Sestak, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, PA Treasurer Rob McCord, former PA Department of Environmental Protection Kathleen McGinty, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Senator Micheal Stack, and Montco Commissioner Josh Shapiro are all rumored to be possible Corbett challengers in addition to the three democratic candidates already declared for governor. John Hanger, also a former secretary of PA’s Department of Environmental Protection was the first to officially declare his candidacy and Tom Wolf, local businessman and former revenue secretary, officially declared his candidacy just last Tuesday. Meanwhile, even before all the hustle and bustle began, something far more powerful was happening just a little below the radar.
John Micek, writer for The Morning Call, first wrote to introduce Candidate for Governor Max Myers in September of 2011. After a brief summary of Myers’ ideals, Micek writes, “Always good to start the day with a burst of idealism, no?” In a crowd of politicians, Max Myers certainly stands out as the most optimistic of the bunch.
After more than a year of informal plans, Myers officially declared his candidacy for PA governor on March 18, kicking off the campaign at an LGBT community center in Philadelphia, and the Capitol later that day. Myers cites four main platform issues: poverty, education, employment, and leadership. These are issues that Myers believes, “don’t get dealt with because nobody believes it’s possible.” While Corbett focuses on the sale of liquor stores and lottery privatization, issues Myers refers to as “rearranging the furniture,” Myers argues, “When we have people in such terrible poverty, and such incredible issues going on in Pennsylvania and they don’t get the light of day… there’s something really wrong.”
Not only does Myers have his head set on the important issues, but he sports a track record of success to prove his leadership abilities. Upon graduation from high school, Myers enlisted in the army where he served three years in Germany and received an Army Commendation Medal before his honorable discharge. He then went on to be an officer in the National Guard and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from North Central University.
While pastoring Assemblies of God churches, Myers spent several years involved with leadership in community organizations. After serving on the board of directors for the McLeod Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence and the Tri-County Welfare-to-Work Task Force, Myers helped lay the groundwork for the nonprofit organization Common Cup which assisted those in need.
In 2001 Myers and his wife, Nina, opened their first small business, the Coffee Company. The Coffee Company experienced such success that the two opened a second location the following year, which continued to boom under their ownership until they decided to move to Pennsylvania. In PA, Myers served as director of a ministry school in Mechanicsburg and wrote a book on pastoral leadership called The Tail That Wags the Dog.
Veteran, pastor, community organizer, small business owner, and school director, Myers now aims to impact the state of Pennsylvania as Governor. Of course, Myers acknowledges his biggest setback. He does not have an established name in politics, but he also cites it as one of his most prominent advantages, “I haven’t been groomed by the political system. If you want things to be different, you need different leadership.”
Candidate John Hanger did not take his time getting around to attacking Myers, issuing a debate challenge on the first day of Myers’ campaign. Hanger referred to Myers as “Reverend Myers” and made several hair ball claims that Myers supports overturning Roe v. Wade and opposes equal treatment for the LGBT community. Ironically, Myers spent that morning at an LGBT community center in Philadelphia. Hanger certainly did not bother checking his facts.
Hanger also included a dig on Myers’ religious affiliations, attacking some out of context quotes from Myers’ book. Myers cleared the air in Harrisburg when he stated, “My theology does shape who I am… [but] by no means am I wired to try to advance the causes of religion in Pennsylvania.” He added later, “You know it wouldn’t fly.”
In response to Hanger’s accusations, Myers released his own stance on social issues, stating he supports Roe v. Wade as the law of the land, and plans to “move the dialog to the ‘why’ behind the number of unwanted pregnancies we see in our society.” Myers also stated that he “will support legislation that gives equal access and equal treatment under the law” for the LGBT community.
Myers inspires to return Pennsylvania to the founding virtues of William Penn. The virtue of mutual honor and respect is apparent in all of Myers’ platforms and beliefs. He believes that when people respect one another they can learn to work together against unwanted pregnancies and against discrimination.
House Representative John Hornaman said Myers is, “a compassionate individual. If you look at the governor’s mansion today, I don’t see a lot of compassion coming out of it.” If elected governor, Myers plans to get behind the people to create world-class education and to bring Pennsylvanians out of poverty and into employment. In a time of economic trouble, Myers believes that as governor he can lead to a restored Pennsylvania. For this, the media pegs him as an idealist. In a time of racial hate and segregation, Martin Luther King Jr. believed he could lead to a unified United States. He was also labeled an indealist. Thank goodness someone believed in him. It would be easy to write Myers off as an unrealistic dreamer, but it also would have been easy to write off Martin Luther King Jr. for his dreams. If believing that PA can tackle the big issues like poverty and education and believing he can make that difference as governor makes Max Myers an idealist, then should not all of Pennsylvania’s leaders be idealists?
Myers promises to reveal more in depth strategies in the future, “I have the substance, but we’re not releasing the substance until later in the campaign.” In the meantime, Pennsylvanians can relish in this much needed break from the ever growing group of jaded politicians.
Joy Wilson is a fourth-year student majoring in communications. She can be reached at JW794401@wcupa.edu.