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Many Valley Democrats throw support to Tom Wolf for governor

| Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 7:26 a.m.
Tom Wolf is a York businessman running for governor of Pennsylvania as a Democrat.

Many Alle-Kiski Valley Democrats addressed York businessman Tom Wolf as “governor” as they welcomed him to Harmar on Monday.

To claim the title, Wolf will have to beat U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state Department of Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty in the May 20 Democratic primary — and then unseat Republican Tom Corbett in the November general election.

“I call him a regular guy,” said Allegheny County Councilman Nick Futules of Oakmont, who said Monday was the second time his Harmar House facility has hosted Wolf. “He certainly has a great message.”

And many of the supporters who gathered at the Futules' Harmar House banquet hall to meet Wolf said they believe he's the man for the job.

“We think he's qualified, and he's the man who can beat Tom Corbett,” said Nancy Mills of Moon Township, the chairwoman for the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.

Mills said Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who met with Wolf in Harmar, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto have endorsed Wolf.

Wolf's “fresh start” campaign includes proposals to raise the minimum wage, increase state education funding, expand Medicaid, tax natural gas extraction and support ethics reform in Harrisburg.

“I have a broad range of experience,” said Wolf, who was a state Revenue secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell. “I have the ability to get this done.”

New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo, who was joined by city Councilmen Todd Mentecki and Tim DiMaio plus New Kensington-Arnold School Board President Bob Pallone, said that he appreciated Wolf's business experience and believes he can improve the state of public education and economic development.

“There's no doubt this is the time for change in Harrisburg,” Guzzo said.

Dick Williams, chairman of the Oakmont Democratic Committee, said he appreciated Wolf's business background.

Williams said he was pleased with the overall strength of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and that several of them are women: “I'm an advocate for more women in politics.”

Futules said he was impressed that Wolf was doing so well in polls so far ahead of the primary.

However, he said he was disappointed that personal attacks on Wolf have surfaced in the run-up to the election.

McCord recently released a television ad questioning Wolf's support for the 2001 re-election campaign of then York mayor Charles Robertson, who was acquitted of charges relating to the death of a woman in a 1969 race riot. Schwartz has been critical of Wolf's more recent support of former state Rep. Stephen Stetler, who is appealing his 2012 conviction on public corruption charges.

“I hate to see other candidates throwing the mud,” Futules said.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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