In a crowded Democratic primary field which will determine the challenger who will face incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett, two female entrants – former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty and U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-Phila.) – picked up crucial endorsements that each challenger hopes will separate them from the pack, which includes John Hanger, Jo Ellen Litz, Rob McCord, Jack Wagner and Tom Wolf.
McGinty picked an endorsement from former Vice President Al Gore, who called McGinty “a great friend and trusted former colleague,” and noted that McGinty served in the Clinton/Gore White House as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. McGinty also served on Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
“I strongly endorse Katie McGinty for governor. She shares my belief that we can build a better country and improve the lives of hard-working families. Katie has always viewed environmental challenges as economic opportunities,” Gore said via a statement released by the McGinty campaign. “[McGinty] knows how to create jobs while protecting the government. And she had the intellect, leadership skills and optimistic, can-do attitude to build a better ad a more prosperous Pennsylvania.
In 2003, McGinty was nominated by Governor Ed Rendell as the first woman to head the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
“Whether as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection or Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Katie has always believed that we can create jobs and economic growth, while protecting our environment. And she has the record to prove it,” Gore said.
“She attracted clean energy companies to Pennsylvania, bringing a billion dollars in new investment, and creating 3000 jobs. Under Katie’s leadership, Pennsylvania became number one in the country in wind energy jobs, number two in solar, and a pioneer in energy efficient technology and systems. She knows that good environmental policy is also good economic policy.”
Schwartz, currently viewed as the front-runner by many pundits and is the Democrat that many feel has the strongest chance of defeating Corbett in the fall, has picked up an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC.
“The Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC is thrilled to announce its endorsement of Allyson Schwartz for Governor,” said Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and PAC. “Allyson has a distinguished record advocating for women’s health and economic security and will be a strong ally in the Governor’s office.”
The PPP PAC also credited Schwartz for founding the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center that provided comprehensive health care services for women of all income levels, races, and backgrounds including access to fertility treatments, prenatal care, breast cancer screenings, and contraceptive services, and for her work with women fighting for pay equity, paid medical leave, and mandatory coverage of ob/gyn care by insurance companies.
Schwartz blasted what she sees as Corbett’s anti-women policies while accepting the endorsement.
“It's unacceptable that women are still fighting to get access to the care they need in 2014 – it’s time for a powerful voice to stand up when legislators try to tell women what health care decisions they can make and push for offensive legislation meant only to create obstacles to safe, legal care,” Schwartz said.
“And it is absolutely unacceptable that Governor Corbett’s response to these obstacles is telling women to ‘just close your eyes.’ Pennsylvania women deserve better.”
Schwartz has also received the endorsements of EMILY’s List, the Philadelphia Democratic Committee, IBEW 98, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, Pennsylvania State Council of Sheet Metal Workers, Western Teamsters Unions, United Mine Workers of America, United Steel Workers Local 10-1, Boilermakers Local 19, and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.