Hanger makes Montrose campaign stop

2014 candidate for governor and former DEP secretary John Hanger made a campaign stop in Montrose last week where he spoke with John Heptig, Barbara Clifford, Dennis Holbrook and Tom Charles. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

2014 candidate for governor and former DEP secretary John Hanger made a campaign stop in Montrose last week where he spoke with John Heptig, Barbara Clifford, Dennis Holbrook and Tom Charles. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

Former Secretary of Dept. of Environmental Protection and now 2014 gubernatorial Democratic candidate John Hanger made a campaign stop in Montrose on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Hanger has been campaigning with his platform for education from a school bus.

“Education is our number one issue,” Hanger told the four people who met with him on the green near the courthouse.

He laid out his plan for college tuition funding, which includes offering students a zero-cost up-front option for two years of community college or one year at a state public university.

According to Hanger, students would then pay back 1.2 percent of their income over 15 years.

He plans to get the plan rolling with a $1.5 billion bond that would eventually become self supporting as payments came back to the state.
Hanger also spoke about focusing efforts on private and public schools.

“I support good performing charter schools,” he said but took issue with charter schools receiving public funds that didn’t meet reading and math score expectations.

In addition to education, Hanger also touted a jobs plan focused on transportation infrastructure improvements; and opening the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.

Hanger said he believed jobs could be created in the state in the health care and energy industries.

John Heptig, of New Milford, asked Hanger about raising the state’s minimum wage. Heptig recently announced his intent to run on the Democratic ticket for the 111th state house seat in 2014.

Hanger said he supported a raise in the minimum wage to about $9 per hour. “But not to $15,” he said, “that could hurt the number of jobs we have.”
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be educated, trained people creating good paying jobs,” he said.

Hanger also spoke about his 29 year career in the energy field. He advocated for strong regulations on gas and oil so it is produced “as safe as possible.”

He also said he opposed drilling in state parks.

“On a farm, it is the decision of the farmer. In a park, (drilling) just doesn’t belong,” he said.

Hanger added that many private landowners are now waiting and hoping to get royalty checks as another reason to forego drilling in the parks.

On energy, Hanger said he takes a “reasonable and balanced view.”

He would also like to see a complete CNG and electric charging fueling infrastructure in place in the state within the next eight years.