Wolf & Stack Win
New Governor & Lt. Governor
Philadelphia – “Si Podemos Hacerlo,” was the upbeat message candidate Mike Stack often delivered to the Latino community in his race for Lt. Governor.
But the newly elected Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania was rendered speechless as he was serenaded by chants of “Stack, Stack, Stack,” at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, Tuesday night, as a boisterous crowd of hundreds of Philadelphia-area Democratic party officials and labor organizers cheered a victory by their hometown State Senator and Tom Wolf.
Surrounded by his wife, Senate colleagues, Larry Farnese, Shirley Kitchen and Daylin Leach; along with numerous labor leaders, Mr. Stack expressed his gratitude to his family, Chief of Staff Matt Franchak, labor leader Gary Masing, President of the Sheet Metal workers, Congressman Bob Brady and to the city’s “cops, firemen and teachers.”
“Labor (was) the key,” said State Sen. Stack, acknowledging the crucial role of union support in a Democratic victory that contrasted with Republican sweeps in gubernatorial and senate races across the nation..
In a lengthy concession speech that highlighted his pride in the many accomplishments of his administration, Gov. Corbett cited the consecutive “balanced budgets” and “reduced state spending.” Meanwhile, the democratic crowd filled the Metal Workers Union with a mocking chorus of “Na, Na, Na, Na, Goodbye.”
In a brief nine minute victory speech from his hometown of York, Mr. Wolf referred to William Penn and touched on the major themes of his campaign: establishing education as a “priority”; economic development and job creation; inclusion; and “taking advantage” of the state’s natural resources.
On education, Mr. Wolf specifically spoke of funding it “fairly,” adding that it was the key to a “strong citizenship, a strong democracy and a strong economy.”
Calling for a fundamental transformation of the state to a place that “attracts” those “willing to work hard” and to “take risks,” Governor-elect Wolf declared, “Let’s make this the time.”
Echoing the need for swift action by the new administration, Sheet Metal Union President Masina asserted, “Let’s get down to business” and create “jobs.”
A former candidate for the state assembly, Will Cartagena voiced his own enthusiasm for one expected change under the incoming Wolf administration: the imposition of a five percent severance tax on natural gas extraction: “If Corbett wouldn’t do it, why not Wolf?”
“These companies are using property here, so why can’t the commonwealth get a part of the money they’re making to save our education system,” added Mr. Cartagena. “I think Wolf will get the job done.”
Both Alexandra Rivera and Mimi Aponte were particularly hopeful about the prospects of the new Governor raising the minimum wage. “I really hope he does it,” said Ms. Aponte, referring to a raise in the minimum, an issue that impacts tens of thousands of women workers in Pennsylvania.
A late afternoon rally at 6th and Market Sts. echoed that same message. With two of the nation’s top union leaders, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Henry Nicholas, President of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees 1199C, leading local health care workers in a last get-out-the-vote effort on behalf of the Wolf-Stack ticket, they reminded workers of the need for an increase in the minimum wage.
Underscoring the vital importance of health care workers, German Parodi, Chair of the Consumer Workforce Council, said ‘Home and community based services gives me and thousands of other individuals living with disabilities the opportunity to live an independent life.” He added, “We need a governor who will fight to make sure home and community-based services have the funding it needs.”
“Today we’re voting to make a change so that everybody who works hard for a living can live a decent life. So that people with disabilities can live with independence,” said SEIU Pres. Mary Kay Henry, addressing some forty to fifty health care, child care workers, individuals with disabilities and fast-food restaurant employees.
Describing health care and fast food workers as “heroes” who are working in the ‘fastest growing’ job sector in the nation, Ms. Henry asserted, “We are bound and determined to make these family-wage jobs that people can raise their children on and retire.
e from with dignity.”