By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Five democratic candidates for governor spoke to nearly a thousand people Saturday night at Temple University. It was Philadelphia’s first major candidate’s forum for the 2014 gubernatorial race.
The key issues were education, jobs, retirement and health care.
“It was ridiculous to refuse to accept Medicaid expansion when it was already paid for,” Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord told the enthusiastic crowd of nearly 1,000 people. He took the stage along with Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Former DEP Secretary John Hanger, former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty, and former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf.
“We need an educated workforce,” said Wolf. “We need children who are ready to take the jobs of the 21st century.”
Bishop Duane Royster of POWER helped organize the forum, along with SEUI, District 1199C and Fight for Philly, to help get Philadelphia working families focused and ready for next year’s election.
“There was a lot of excitement in the crowd when listening to what the candidates had to say,” said Royster. “We want to make sure that not only across Philly, but across the city and the state we are addressing the issues that are important to working families.”
The candidates were in agreement on some points, such as the need to expand Medicaid, reform funding for education, bring more jobs into Pennsylvania, higher wages and secure retirement for seniors. A quick poll showed the field is wide open for Philadelphia voters.
“I support John Hanger,” said one woman, “I support his plan for green jobs.”
“I plan to do more research on first Wolf,” said another woman, “and the other person is Schwartz.”
“McGinty and McCord resonated with me the most,” said one man.
In 2010, Philadelphia had less than a 40 percent voter turnout clearing the way for a Corbett victory. The forum organizers are hoping for a stronger turnout in 2014.