NEW CASTLE — Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary is about 10 months away, but John Hanger is already hitting the campaign trail.
Hanger, touring the state on a school bus to emphasize his commitment to education, brought his campaign to Lawrence County.
One of about eight Democrats that could be running in the May primary, Hanger said education is his top issue and that he is the only candidate with a jobs plan.
Hanger, who served as secretary of the department of environmental protection under Gov. Ed Rendell, said 145,000 jobs would be created “simply by fixing our roads and bridges.”
He said he would also say yes to Medicaid expansion, which would provide $4 billion a year in federal funds for 10 years to hospitals. That would create 41,000 jobs.
Hanger said his position contrasts with Gov. Tom Corbett who “has said no” to Medicaid expansion.
“I would say yes. That’s what elections are about.”
On education, Hanger said local taxes are increasing because Corbett has reduced state funding for public schools. The state is providing 35 percent of funding for local schools, he said, adding he would have the state meet its responsibility by paying 50 percent.
He contends Corbett has “given a blank check” of $700 million to failed charter schools. He said he would stop the money from going to the failed schools.
Hanger said he supports extending the school year from 180 days to 200 days and the school day by one hour.
“We can improve students’ performance with a longer school year.”
He said he also supports early childhood education.