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Joan E. Dowlin Headshot

Governor Corbett's Election Year Shifts Prove PA Voters Have Rejected Conservative Solutions

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Maybe he should switch parties because Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's actions these past few months have seemed, well almost progressive to me.

In November of 2013, he signed a transportation bill that provides billions for Pennsylvania's pothole filled roads, highways, and aging bridges (very Obamaesque). He has proposed a boost in education funding in his latest January 2014 budget. He vowed not to cut PA food stamps even though congress approved of it in its farm bill.

And today I read that he has shifted on his Medicaid proposal saying his work-search requirement to receive Medicaid would become voluntary, not mandatory. If approved by the Health and Human Services Department this means the new plan would start in 2015 causing needy PA residents to only miss one year of the government covered Medicaid. But hey, it's a start and Gov. Corbett is displaying signs of using the GOP's dreaded "c" word, compromise.

Of course, his whole Medicaid proposal is based on the assumption that lower class Pennsylvanians are too lazy to seek work even though Pennsylvania is ranked 45th in state job creation. I would like to see the governor address that issue.

But I am glad assistance is arriving for those needing food stamps and medical insurance, and the failing schools will get some funding, and that accidents will be prevented by rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure.

It's almost as though Governor Corbett made a list of all the things PA residents are mad at him about and reversed his positions on those issues, checking them off, one by one. I am wondering when he will get to taxing the natural gas industry and supporting same-sex marriage and women's health rights but maybe those are a bridge too far. Not long ago the governor was telling women they could shut their eyes if they didn't want to see the images of a forced ultrasound.

I am a little suspicious about the timing of all of these moves and wonder if it works and he is reelected, will he continue to follow the will of the voters or go back to his conservative ways?

Corbett says that the fiscal conservatism of his first four years in office has led to the point where now he can afford to take these measures. There may be some truth to that but fellow conservatives in his own Republican party were not happy with him and his shortcomings in his first term which include not being able to privatize the liquor control board, his trying to sell the lottery to a British firm (not a popular idea), and his failed lawsuit against the NCAA over the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky sanctions.

Speaking of that, voters are still unclear of the role Corbett played as Attorney General in the cover-up of Sandusky's unspeakable actions. But I don't believe that will be an issue in this election. People are hurting and their one main priority is jobs. The transportation bill is a step in that right direction.

But can Corbett be trusted to continue that pursuit or is this an election year stunt? One thing has been proven true. PA voters are ready for a change and only time will tell if the electorate will accept the chameleon shifts of the present Governor or elect a true progressive.