Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

On Oct. 30 in the Philips Memorial Library, three politicians sat wide-eyed waiting to answer questions from the public, the majority of which included the students of West Chester University. The politicians included Max Myers, a calm and charismatic former preacher with the people skills to prove it; Jo Ellen Litz, a soft spoken Lebanon County Commissioner and also a self-proclaimed chocolate enthusiast; and John Hanger, the former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and an outspoken cynic of Tom Corbett’s governance. Three of the eight gubernatorial candidates running for Governor of Pennsylvania attended the Public Policy forum held at West Chester University. The forum provided the opportunity for voters to ask questions and address their concerns with the candidates face to face.
Questioning was first open to the students of West Chester University before the public could chime in. Of the more lofty and relevant concerns to the student body, a question was asked about how the candidates would avoid budget cuts in higher education.
Myers believes that the issue of educational funding needs to be further addressed with the public. He thinks that by spreading the importance and value of higher education, funding will in turn infiltrate the budget.
Litz discussed that by diminishing the recession, we will have an increase in income. If she becomes governor, she also plans to hold a series of summits with a track focused on education. This educational track would include members of the house and senate, teachers, and experts in the educational field who would come up with a way to take care of educational budget cuts.
Hanger replied that first, Pennsylvanians have to honor and restore respect to teachers and institutions instead of attacking the public educational system. His state budget will prioritize public education and security above all. He also states he will not allow funding for failing charter schools which has weakened the public schooling system. He also plans to restore a $1 billion cut that was made for public schools. Finally, for higher educational purposes, Hanger plans to come up with a college affordability plan.
Other concerns posed by those in attendance included insurance of health care for Pennsylvanians, the improvement of transportation systems, the importance of leadership, views on the LBGTQA community and women’s rights, and the issue of eradicating the privatization of liquor companies as implemented by Tom Corbett.
While Litz, Myers, and Hanger had different plans for the governing of Pennsylvania, they agreed that they all will make major changes to the current Governor’s policies that have stunted Pennsylvania’s growth.
Most students surely remember last year when word was going around that the PASSHE union of professors, including those at West Chester University, was planning a strike. Due to Corbett’s 18% funding cuts on state universities, tuition here at West Chester University increased by $800. Students have to be aware of how this gubernatorial election will affect them directly through the educational policies that will follow. In addition, students need to understand that this governor should also hold job creation as a priority since they are or will be dependent on the job market.
On Nov. 4, 2014, students will have the chance to vote for the governor of Pennsylvania. It is the responsibility or all Pennsylvanians to decide which candidate will apportion the budget for the benefit of Pennsylvania, its citizens, and the educational system.
Sarah Falta is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at 

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