ShareThis Page

On Kittanning visit, candidate for governor stresses schools

| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 1:16 a.m.

KITTANNING – John Hanger, Democratic candidate for governor, made a campaign stop in town Wednesday morning during a multi-county tour in a school bus decked out in patriotic colors.

Discussions on the street with area citizens focused on schools and jobs, he said.

“I'm here campaigning from a school bus,” said Hanger, “Which is a symbolic statement about our public education.”

Hanger said he is committed to saving public schools.

He is critical of policies which he says have increased local school taxes and placed more of a burden on taxpayers while decreasing the amount funded by the state.

Those local school taxes also fund cyber and charter schools.

That, he said, “is an impossibly expensive thing to do.”

According to Hanger, 70 percent of charter students are not meeting reading and math score standards.

And although he supports charter schools that perform well, Hanger said he plans to stop $700 million of taxpayer spending being funneled into supporting failing charter schools.

Hanger said local school taxes are increasing in many districts across the state even as many programs have been cut, including the elimination of some full-day kindergarten classes, tutoring programs and extra-curricular activities.

“People are paying more for less,” he said, adding that he plans to move state funding back to the 50 percent spending level.

“Why am I putting schools first? Because you can't create jobs when you have lousy schools. Jobs are created when you have educated, trained and healthy people,” he said.

Part of Hanger's job creation plan includes redirecting the $700 million from failed charter schools back into rehiring some 20,000 recently laid off teachers.

His plan also includes increasing job opportunities through bridge and road repairs within the state's infrastructure and increasing jobs in hospitals and health care facilities through Medicaid expansion.

According to his website:, Hanger was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and came to the U.S. in 1970 after living in Ireland. He became a U.S. citizen in 1977 and attended public schools before studying public policy and history at Duke University and earning a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Hanger worked with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, served as the public advocate for Philadelphia Gas and Water, was appointed commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in 1993 by Gov. Robert Casey, and in 2008 became the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Hanger lives in Hershey with his wife, Luanne Thorndyke, and announced his candidacy in November. He has been campaigning on his bus tour since June.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.