Democratic candidate John Hanger touched on issues regarding education, marijuana and equal marriage rights at Shippensburg University on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to let big money buy another governor,” Hanger said to a group of students at the Dauphin Humanities Center.
Hanger served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Environmental Protection and was former Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Hanger’s “Policy First, Politics Second” campaign focuses on putting money back into education, legalizing marijuana and gay marriage, taxing and regulating natural gas drilling and implementing a plan to increase jobs.
“Too many students are not with us tonight because they never became students,” Hanger said. “Corbett made such a mess of our educational system.”
Current governor Tom Corbett cut approximately $1 billion from education, which Hanger plans to reverse.
Every Pennsylvanian would have access to at least 1 to 2 years of college without needing loans in Hanger’s plan. Instead, the first couple years would be paid for by taking 1-2 percent out of students’ paychecks after graduation.
With a progressive view on marijuana, Hanger wants to first allow medical marijuana and then decriminalize it for recreational use. He said it would be legal by 2017.
This means people could no longer have a permanent criminal record for possession of small amounts of marijuana. About $325 million is spent yearly arresting people for possession, according to Hanger’s marijuana reform plan. Hanger calls the current laws “destructive” and said, “It doesn’t achieve anything.”
Once legal, it would be taxed and regulated like alcohol, creating new revenue.
Hanger also promises to legalize gay marriage and believes that whomever people decide to marry is nobody’s business but their own. Churches would still have the religious right to decide whom they can and cannot marry.
“It is time Pennsylvania has a new birth of freedom,” Hanger said.
Hanger has a detailed jobs plan that will use alternative energy resources and create jobs in public education, health care and transportation.
The money necessary to implement his plans would come from saying yes to Medicaid expansion, taxes on gas drilling and smokeless tobacco products, reforming marijuana laws and reprioritizing the budget.
Hanger is confident in his ability to become the new governor. A recent poll showed Hanger ahead of Corbett.
With eight other democratic candidates, he would need only about 300,000 votes to win the gubernatorial election, which leaves the race wide open, according to Hanger. After the talk, Hanger made sure to learn the names of all the students who attended and left it open for questions.
Students asked questions about the education budget, marijuana laws and equal marriage rights.
“I will be a really strong governor for you,” Hanger said.
More information on Hanger’s campaign can be found at www.hangerforgovernor.com.