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Governor Wolf Pushes For Voting Reforms

Since he took office, Governor Wolf has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to fair and equal elections. On Monday, he continued that commitment by introducing his 21st century voting reform plan.

Since he took office, Governor Wolf has worked tirelessly to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to fair and equal elections. On Monday, he continued that commitment by introducing his 21st century voting reform plan.

These proposed reforms are a continuation of the progress Governor Wolf has already made. When he entered office, he launched online voter registration which has been used by more than a million Pennsylvanians, a voter information texting initiative, and a program to get more high school seniors registered to vote. But there is still more progress to be made, and Governor Wolf is dedicated to making that change happen.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

“A week after two courts decided not to intervene in a challenge to Pennsylvania’s redrawn congressional district boundaries, Gov. Wolf on Monday renewed his call for legislators to create an independent commission to draw the state’s electoral maps.”

Gerrymandering reform is just one of the many badly needed reforms proposed by the governor. He also called for voting rights reform including same day registration, automatic voter registration, and modernizing absentee ballots, as well as campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of special interests in elections.

Governor Wolf recognizes that Pennsylvanians have been victims of outdated and unfair voting policies for too long. “To rebuild trust in Harrisburg, we must have fair and accessible elections for all citizens from our rural communities to our big cities,” he said. “These reforms have been championed by House and Senate Democrats to modernize our voting laws and put the people of Pennsylvania back in control of our elections. It’s time to remove barriers to voting, end gerrymandering, and curb special interests.”

Adrianne’s Story: “My life came to a crashing halt” (Guest Blog)

By Adrianne Gunter My name is Adrianne Gunter, I’m 33 years old, and I have multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease that attacks

By Adrianne Gunter

My name is Adrianne Gunter, I’m 33 years old, and I have multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease that attacks the central nervous system. Science doesn’t know what causes it, but scars, known as lesions, form in the brain and the spinal column. These lesions interfere with the way the body receives information from the brain and this makes everything difficult. I walk with a cane, but it’s hard to pick up my legs. My hands don’t grip the way they used to and I need help getting the lid off a jar of peanut butter. No matter how well I chew my food, I have difficulty swallowing. I have full-body tremors and I never know when they’re going to happen. I have all of these problems and more.

But the most important thing to remember is that there is no cure for multiple sclerosis.

I graduated from the University of the Arts in 2013 with a BFA in Writing for Film and Television. It was the best four years of my life — I loved every minute of it. So imagine my surprise when MS struck my senior year. Suddenly, I’m turning in my homework late. Suddenly, I’m missing class. Suddenly, I’m tired all the time. Suddenly, my muscles ache. Suddenly, I don’t understand. I thought it was stress; nevertheless, after graduation, I thought the stress was over and I could focus on getting my career together. My plan was to get an internship working with the Philadelphia film scene, save some money, and study for my GRE because I wanted a MFA in film. I was going to be a writer-director. And that’s when I lost vision in my left eye.

The neuro-ophthomologist I went to diagnosed it as optic neuritis. It heals over time, but the neuro-ophthomologist encouraged me to get an MRI because she said, and I quote, “Optic neuritis is one of the first signs of multiple sclerosis.”

My life came to a crashing halt. Instantly, I because unemployed and unemployable. The fatigue, the brain fog, and the muscle weakness were only getting worse. As a result, I have 68 thousand dollars in student loan debt. It took 878 days for me to qualify for Social Security Disability, and MS is a degenerative disease, meaning I need all the help available so I can live my best life. For two years, I applied for health insurance and was denied four times. It’s only when Tom Wolf was elected Governor of Pennsylvania and signed the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion that I was finally able to get insurance. But by then, the lesions in my brain had migrated from my mid-brain to my hindbrain, and now I have two lesions in my spinal column in an area that, if left untreated, can cause total and permanent paralysis. I already feel like a burden, I don’t want to become an invalid.

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but there is treatment. Treatment doesn’t repair the damage — those lesions aren’t going anywhere — but treatment can prevent new lesions from forming. My first treatment was covered through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Without coverage, the medication would have cost thousands of dollars, but thanks to the Medicaid expansion, the most I’ve ever had to pay is three dollars. Medicaid also covers my doctor’s appointments. Medicaid covers the MRIs that track the progression of this disease. Medicaid also gives me hope that if I have a terrible reaction to medication, or a fall where I break my bones, or anything I can’t predict, it will be covered and I won’t be buried in endless medical bills.

I am voting for Governor Tom Wolf because he has put people first. I am supporting Governor Wolf’s 2018 re-election campaign because the fight for our healthcare isn’t over and we need strong leadership in order to protect what we have. I endorse Governor Wolf because he has vowed to protect Medicaid. If Medicaid goes away — if the Affordable Care Act is repealed — it’s the same as punishing people for being sick.

I didn’t ask for this disease. I don’t want it. If I could reach inside myself and rip this disease out of me, I would, but I can’t. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. I’m 33 years old. This is the rest of my life.

Thank you, Governor Tom Wolf, for looking out for the people of Pennsylvania. You have given me hope.

With Fair Congressional Map Secured, Pennsylvania Sees Surge in Candidates Running for Congress

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal panel of judges rejected Republican challenges to Pennsylvania’s new congressional map, which was redrawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month. This ruling ensures that Pennsylvanians can go to the polls in 2018 confident that they are voting in districts that are fair and that their voices will be heard.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal panel of judges rejected Republican challenges to Pennsylvania’s new congressional map, which was redrawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month. This ruling ensures that Pennsylvanians can go to the polls in 2018 confident that they are voting in districts that are fair and that their voices will be heard.

Additionally, as candidates realized that new maps meant they could finally run in fair and competitive districts, the commonwealth saw a surge of candidates filing to run for Congress. According to the Associated Press:

“An avalanche of would-be candidates filed to run for Congress in Pennsylvania ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, taking advantage of more competitive districts and far surpassing candidate numbers in the three elections since Pennsylvania dropped to 18 U.S. House seats.”

Governor Wolf has been at the forefront of the battle to secure a fair congressional map for Pennsylvania. He rejected an equally gerrymandered map that was presented to him by Republican legislative leaders last month, which ultimately led to the state Supreme Court drawing its own maps.

“I applaud these decisions that will allow the upcoming election to move forward with the new and fair congressional maps.” Governor Wolf said of the Supreme Court’s ruling. “The people of Pennsylvania are tired of gerrymandering and the new map corrects past mistakes that created unfair Congressional Districts and attempted to diminish the impact of citizens’ votes.”

Governor Wolf remains dedicated to protecting Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to fair and free elections. He knows that our democracy flourishes with more, diverse voices at the table and when all citizens feel that their voices will be heard.

Here’s What Editorial Boards Are Saying About Governor Wolf’s Ethics Reform Plan

Last week, Governor Wolf introduced his “Citizens First” ethics reform plan as part of his commitment to building an open, transparent government that works for all Pennsylvanians. Editorial Boards across the commonwealth heaped praise on the governor’s proposal.

Last week, Governor Wolf introduced his “Citizens First” ethics reform plan as part of his commitment to building an open, transparent government that works for all Pennsylvanians. Editorial Boards across the commonwealth heaped praise on the governor’s proposal.

Check out the coverage below:

“The first-term Democrat from Mount Wolf has made a common-sense government reform proposal that would include the suspension of pay for himself, lawmakers and their top aides when they have not fully enacted a budget by the annual deadline.”

“The proposals that Pennsylvania’s chief executive made early last week that would rein in special interests in Harrisburg should get the hearing they deserve. Even better, they should be enacted sooner rather than later.”

“The suggestion from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, seeking his second term, to suspend pay for himself and lawmakers when they fail to fully enact a state budget by the June 30 deadline would likely draw cheers across the commonwealth.”

“Mr. Wolf, who implemented a gift ban for executive-branch employees, wants lawmakers to agree to a similar ban and to make the executive-branch version permanent so it remains in place when he leaves office.”