Monday, November 09, 2009

Hoeffel Conference Call and Campaign Website

Joe Hoeffel, former state representative, former congressman, current Montgomery County Commissioner, and candidate for governor, has unveiled a new campaign website,

Here are my rough notes from the call. I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions. Many of Hoeffel's policy statements are spelled out on the campaign site.

On the call Hoeffel made some introductory remarks: Last summer he was alarmed that there wasn't a progressive candidate in the governor's race, and also though there should be a candidate from southeastern PA. The state deserves two parties, and the Democrats need to stay socially liberal. Make investments in people and our future. See state continue to increase support for public schools. Strong proponent of economic development and using gov money to attract private investment. Expand health care coverage, excited by US House vote over weekend. Public option essential. Government has an incredibly important role to play in fighting discrimination, only govt can lead that effort effectively. fight racial discrimination, gender, ethnic, and other areas, like poor children from underfunded schools, poor and young women in reproductive freedom, people in love who want to marry regardless of their gender. The Democrats needs a fighter who can uphold progressive banner against Republicans and also someone who can bring us together after election, build coalitions across party lines, city/suburb, get past divisive hyper partisanship. That’s why I’ve jumped in this race.

Q: Many elected officials don't support progressive goals

JH: The governor has to understand that the legislature is a co-equal branch of govt, build partnerships and relationships. Ed Rendell does a great job fighting for a progressive agenda, but JH actually likes legislators, used to be one. Being a state legislator is not easy. Budget fight embarrassing for everyone, hope all understand we can’t keep doing this. Hopeful as next governor can build relationships.

Q: Many states budgets are propped up by stimulus. What will happen in PA after the stimulus money is gone

JH: stabilize budget and reform tax structure. We have a regressive, flat income tax. will fight for graduated state income tax. The corporate taxes should be fairly applied. We have the highest corporate income tax in the US, 9.5 % but many don’t pay anywhere near that. We would raise more revenue if all paid about 5%, equity within corporate world.

Q: On what issues are you more progressive than other Democratic gubernatorial candidates?

JH: strongly pro-choice, trust women to make the right decision, some competitors disagree, favor marriage equality for everyone, govt needs to fight discrimination, challenge facing state is all about the jobs, economic development, health care, schools, treat people fairly

Campaign staff: Joe really wants to tackle the hard issues, some others might be in the right place but not talking about them or not have a track record.

Q: money and lobbyists in H’burg.

JH: There should be limits on what people can give, as in federal campaigns. Likes public finance of elections, full disclosure for lobbyists, disclose gifts. If elected executive staff can't accept gifts. However, the role of lobbyists to communicate & educate important

Q: Marcellus shale

JH: increase DEP to deal with challenges of natural gas drilling, extraction tax, fees in licensing to fund environmental protection. Currently we don’t have facilities to clean water, enforce clean water act,

Q: alternate energy industry in PA?

JH: when at DCED tried to entice Western European alt energy companies to come here. they are ahead of us in alternate energy. We should develop and train, “clean and green” energy corp to train low income young people to weatherize homes, take a holistic approach to government, take jobs, into older towns, as done in Montgomery County, make sure state programs coordinate with open space, env protect, econ and transportation

Q: philly schools

JH: sent kids to Abington public schools, wife a school nurse. Part of the challenge is to properly fund the formula, focus on public neighborhood schools. Charter schools are okay but shouldn’t get an unfair advantage, don’t have to follow all the rules and regulations that public schools do, some are doing great work. Not in favor of vouchers. School principals get more authority. Supported No child Left Behind because of increased testing and funding to pay for tutors for those who need remedial help. NCLB not implemented as funding not there. All for testing kids but must be investment in remedial programs.

More of these calls are planned as the campaign progresses.

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