Retired Brigadier General Frank J. Sullivan has spent his career serving our country and the state of Pennsylvania -- and he believes it is time for the veterans of Pennsylvania to help elect a governor who will fight for them and their families.
Frank has been a registered Republican for over 20 years. This election year, however, he is not only committed to voting for Tom Wolf, but he is also playing an active role in the campaign by mobilizing veterans and sharing Tom's plan to create a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.
Tom was back in Pittsburgh again on Monday as part of his Fresh Start tour. His latest stop landed him at TechShop, a community-based workshop and prototyping studio whose mission is to democratize access to the tools of innovation; in simpler terms, TechShop is a do-it-yourself workshop where innovators and entrepreneurs can build things.
TechShop offers a variety of workspace options including metalwork, woodwork, electronics, textiles, 3D printing, and bicycle repair. The ingenuity that is taking place inside their walls is helping fuel the maker movement in Pittsburgh and revitalize the important start-up sector of the thriving city.
Before Tom ever joined the Peace Corps, earned his Ph.D., and built the Wolf Organization into the largest distributor of kitchen cabinets in the country, he wanted to be a professional baseball player. That dream faded, but last week Tom revisited his old passion during a tour of Chandler Bats in Norristown, where he learned about manufacturing baseball bats.
Founded in 2010, Chandler Bats quickly became a local business success story and now manufactures hundreds of models of baseball bats for Major League Baseball players as well as players in the minor leagues, college, and high school. Chandler bats are unique in their quality -- they are compressed to a degree that compacts the wood tighter than any of their competitors, making them stand apart in performance and durability. And they are made right here in Pennsylvania.
For Rachel Sonnet, a 21-year-old college student from Emsworth, Pennsylvania, working to elect Tom Wolf as a finance intern is personal.
Rachel's family is one of the thousands in Pennsylvania who have been affected by Governor Corbett's refusal to expand Medicaid. As a result of Corbett's policies, 500,000 currently uninsured, middle and low-income Pennsylvanians have been blocked from accessing affordable health care, including Rachel's 61-year-old father.
"My father is currently recovering from a stroke in a nursing home. Because he was uninsured when he had the stroke almost a year ago, it was a struggle for our family to afford the hospital bills and secure health insurance. Tom Wolf's proposal to expand health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania would help my family and thousands of others."
Former Carnegie Mellon students Arden Rosenblatt and Alejandro Sklar didn't have to head to Silicon Valley to make their tech startup dream a reality. Instead, the young entrepreneurs were able to launch their company right from Pittsburgh, which has become an exciting hub of high-tech innovation in Pennsylvania.
Yesterday, Tom visited Arden and Alejandro's company PieceMaker and other innovative startups at AlphaLab Gear, an incubator for local tech entrepreneurs, as part of his Fresh Start tour of the state.
Natasha del Amo is one of our youngest and most promising interns -- her sharpness far exceeds her 18 (she would say almost 19) years.
Interning with our political department, Natasha has acquired a special kind of skill set that isn't necessarily teachable at a University, as the department's role on the campaign is to coordinate many different types of personalities, egos, motives, and situations. Despite this being her first campaign experience, Natasha has shown the political team that she is more than ready to take on the tasks presented to her, and she has quickly become a consistently relied-upon member.
We got a chance to chat with Natasha about her background, interests, and aspirations -- check out the conversation:
Yesterday, Tom stopped by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, an organization in Philadelphia that focuses on economic development through job training and small business development. Since 2003, when Irish immigrant Anne O'Callaghan opened the center, the Welcoming Center has assisted more than 10,000 people from over 140 countries.
While there, Tom met Arlene Kaufman, who just last year launched a new Philadelphia-area business called Karma Krisps that makes fruit and nut crackers.
The evolution of Arlene's business is truly a Pennsylvania success story. While on a ski trip with her family, Arlene tasted crackers that she thought were so amazing that she was inspired to create her own cracker company.
Reality shows our state's economy in free-fall as a result of Governor Corbett's failed leadership. While our public school system suffers from the Governor's misguided cuts, and middle-class families struggle, Governor Corbett refuses to make oil and gas companies pay their fair share by passing a responsible and reasonable severance tax on natural gas now.
While Governor Corbett lets oil and gas companies off the hook, lawmakers in Harrisburg are facing a $1.4 billion deficit and they are struggling to balance a budget without making massive cuts. Governor Corbett has proposed gimmicks and one-time revenue sources based on loose projections to fix his mess. This is in direct contrast with what he said only a little over three years ago:
"…"[W]e have to change the culture of this place. It means we stop the one-time fixes and gimmicks that have barely held the machine of government together."
Yesterday, Tom's Fresh Start tour took him to Nazareth, where he toured one of the largest employers in the Lehigh Valley, Martin Guitar. Tom's brother, Andy, a musician who uses a Martin guitar, joined Tom as they walked through the factory, talked with workers, and watched the precision and detail that goes into making a Martin guitar.
Martin Guitar has been in business since 1833, and they pride themselves on producing the oldest and most innovative handcrafted guitars in the industry. Chris Martin, who, like Tom, is a sixth generation business owner, hosted Tom on the tour and made one thing clear: Martin Guitar strives to perfect the art of guitar making.
Tom returned from Pittsburgh today where he discussed his Made In Pennsylvania manufacturing plan with employees at Chelsea Building Products. Tom also toured a green jobs training facility in the city's Hill District that he believes will be a catalyst for the new energy economy he wants to bring to Pennsylvania.
When Tom bought his company back in the depths of the Great Recession, he reinvented the business model and began contracting with companies in Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States, to make Wolf-brand products. Tom believed that American manufacturers could compete with anyone in the world and he was right.
The ramifications of Governor Corbett's failed leadership could not be more prevalent then this week as Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office released its revenue projections for the year, showing the state suffering a $1.4 billion deficit.
Since taking office, Governor Corbett has given away more than $1.2 billion in corporate tax credits while at the same time cutting funds for public education by more than $1 billion.
Lois Garnett is a 36 year resident of York, and she has been donating her time to political campaigns since President Obama's 2008 election. Lois worked hard to help York Mayor Kim Bracy win her historic 2010 election as York's first African-American Mayor and she also volunteered for President Obama's re-election effort as a neighborhood team leader.
As a former special needs teacher, Lois knows how Governor Corbett's cuts to education have harmed the quality of education throughout Pennsylvania.
When Lois retired from teaching in 2011, she told me that felt she was saving someone else from being laid off, as the effects of Corbett's education cuts soon forced more than 20,000 teachers out of the classroom:
In 2012, I decided to run for governor because I thought Pennsylvania needed a fresh start. We needed to take on the big problems facing our Commonwealth, and we needed to think differently about solving the issues facing the middle class. Katie and Jake share my goals and my vision, and as we face a Republican Party determined on tearing us down, Katie and Jake are the people who I want by my side, fighting for our values and enthusiastically defending the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
Please take a moment to join me in supporting Katie McGinty for party Chairwoman and Jake Wheatley for Vice Chair and become part of my team to give Pennsylvania a fresh start.
As governor, one of Tom Wolf’s first acts in office will be to issue an Executive Order that reforms legal contracting by increasing transparency and requiring a written justification of need as well as creates a competitive bidding process for the hiring of outside counsel.
In November, Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to elect Tom Wolf and help bring real change to Harrisburg that’s focused on transparency and delivering results for working families.
Yesterday, Tom, who is a vocal proponent of marriage equality and LGBT rights, joined Representative Brian Sims at the Philadelphia Pride Day Parade and Festival where they celebrated with thousands of people.
Tom addressed the parade and visited with people at the festival because he believes that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be treated equally under the law.
At his company, Tom promotes diversity and equality while treating all of his workers fairly. This includes extending benefits to same-sex partners and paying all workers living wages.
Yesterday, at the K'NEX manufacturing facility in Hatfield, Tom Wolf told employees that the next governor will have an important role to play in setting the table to attract new businesses to Pennsylvania:
"Conventional wisdom is we can't do it here. Conventional wisdom is you've got to go to low-cost places to get stuff made. Conventional wisdom is wrong. I know it for a fact: we can make stuff here, we can compete, we can do it better than anybody else for a lot of reasons..."
K'NEX is one of only a few companies in the world that manufactures toys on a mass scale in the United States and they are the only company in the U.S. that makes building sets for window manufacturers, food and beverage companies, medical device manufacturers, and of course toy companies.
Right now Pennsylvania is facing an estimated $1.4 billion budget deficit and the threat of a credit downgrade. We have fallen to the bottom in job creation, and too often our leaders advocate for the same old tired policies that do little to solve our problems. We cannot keep placing greater financial burden at the feet of struggling families while oil and gas companies are not asked to pay up.
As a former business owner, I believe the natural gas industry is vital to our state's economic future.
Ernest Rajakone is the President of the University of Pittsburgh College Democrats and he has been an active intern on the campaign since the Pittsburgh field office opened in March.
Is this your first political campaign experience?
I've been active in political campaigns for a number of years now. In 2012, I was an Organizing Fellow for President Obama's re-election campaign and I've volunteered for a number of races going all the way back to the Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign. On campus, I've been involved as the President of the University of Pittsburgh College Democrats and as Finance Chair for the Pennsylvania College Democrats.