- Hershey native John Hanger made a stop in Honesdale Tuesday afternoon during his campaign trail.
"I'm one of eight candidates running for governor," he said. "The race is wide open." Hanger is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, class of 1984 and worked closely with the Public Utilities Commission. He also served as the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection with Governor Ed Rendell from 2008-2011.
Hanger, who hopes to run as a Democrat, says he is the only one of the eight candidates who has a plan to create jobs. "I am the only candidate to have a real jobs plan."
The Eight-Point Strategic Jobs Plan for Pennsylvania aims to create 382,750 jobs and raise more than $8 billion a year to help fund vital services. Also included in the jobs plan is education, which is a passion for Hanger.
"We need to reinvest in public education," he said. "The number one issue is education." Hanger says in his job plan that he wishes "to restore the $1 billion to public education that Governor Corbett cut," which will allow schools to rehire 19,000 teachers and other school employees that were laid off in the past two years.
Another problem he sees with the way education is funded in the state is that charter schools who do not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) still receive funds. "Seventy-one percent of charter schools do not meet the requirements," he said. By ceasing to fund charter schools that do not meet requirements will help move the focus back on to the public school program.
"No state funding should go to charter schools with inadequate financial controls..." and should also not be used "for charter schools' advertisement and for staff salaries that are sometimes higher than that of the Governor," the plan states.
By stopping funding to charters that do not make the standards, and those whose administrators have been found to have committed fraud will save the state around $827 million.
Hanger said that would be redirected to the public school system to pay for reforms, "like a longer school year and school day," which would be an increase of one hour per day and 200 day school year. The funds would also be directed to charter schools that are performing well.
The rate of tuition students pay to earn a degree is also a concern of Hanger. The Keystone Opportunity Fund will "provide high school graduates two years of community college or one year at a public university at no tuition cost." Once the student graduates, the student will pay 1.2 percent to 2.2 percent of their income back into the fund for 15 years.
Hanger hopes the Keystone Opportunity Fund will bring an end to the overwhelming amount of college debt college students face. He said that "the fund would initially be funded with a $1.5 billion bond and a total of $3.4 billion of bond financing needed over 10 years." He added that in approximately 22 1/5 years, the fund would become self-sustaining.
To find out more about John Hanger, and to read his job plan, visit www.hangerforgovernor.com or visit the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hangerforgovernor.