Pennsylvania Senator Jake Corman talks to WPSU about his reasons for running for governor

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As part of his campaign for governor, Pennsylvania Senate Speaker Pro Tem Jake Corman is making stops in the state this week. It started Tuesday with an event in his hometown – Bellefonte, in Center County. Anne Danahy of the WPSU told The Corman why he is running in the Republican primaries for governor.

Here is their conversation.

Anne Danahy
Do you want to start off just by talking about what your # 1 priority would be if you got elected?

Jake Corman
Well, I guess the first priority would be to restore our freedoms and protect our freedoms. You know, we’ve seen these come under attack for the past 18 months, in the name of the pandemic. And I certainly understand the need to tackle the health care crisis that we have experienced. But we could have done it in a way that didn’t, that didn’t infringe on our individual freedoms. And so I think it’s something that maybe people have taken and taken for granted in the past. But now I have seen the differences in styles of governance. And one of them thinks, you know, the government has all the solutions and there are others who think the people have the solutions. You know, we don’t sit at home and wait for the government to understand society. We are an active company which, throw us a challenge, we will take it up. We will innovate. We will do the things we need to do to fix the problems. And our current governor did not trust the people. I will do it.

Anne Danahy
Are you talking about masking? Are you talking about business closures? Are there any individuals …

Jake Corman
I’m talking about all of this. Business closures, which was very uneven. This is the governor you know, trying to figure out what was essential and what was not. I would say if you are trying to support your family everything is essential. I mean, I said you should have focused on who could have provided a safe workspace, as opposed to what the mission was. Because a lot of what he said was essential was not done in a safe manner. Where there could have been many Mom and Pop facilities that could have easily developed security procedures to allow people to enter and continue shopping in their stores. And they weren’t allowed to.

Look at health care. You know, the governor shut down all elective care last year. I told him at the time, it was a mistake, that our hospitals, our health facilities are just that – health care. They are experts, full of smart people who understand COVID and understood, you know, what the risks were and could have provided a safe environment to continue to allow people to receive health care. You know a lot of people haven’t had major procedures like mammograms or hip replacements or things of that nature. Because the governor closed it, because he thought there was a wave coming. Well, the surge never happened in the summer, and all of these people ended up without health care. And then in the fall, when there was an increase, the hospitals took care of it. Again, it’s not about trusting individuals to make good decisions. It’s not trusting people to know how to live with this pandemic because it is not going to go away anytime soon …

Anne Danahy
Law. Yeah, I mean, I was going to say the numbers are starting to increase in parts of the Northeast including Pennsylvania. And you’ve been a big believer in enabling school districts and businesses to find the best way to deal with it locally. But don’t they need the school districts, they don’t necessarily have medical experts on board, don’t they need that leadership of the state?

Jake Corman
Of course, we need advice, but not mandates. You know, the CDC provides advice every day. Listen, my kids are in public school, our school district has a health and safety plan that we parents are following very closely. And when the school year started, we were comfortable with the health and safety plan that they put in place, that our children would be fine in school. You know, the governor at the end of the day didn’t trust the school districts to do it, even though they had held town halls all year round. Time and time again, the governor overstepped the bounds of his authority.

Anne Danahy
Moving on to another topic, you are a strong supporter of Penn State and other universities related to the state. But a lot of jobs don’t require that four-year degree. Do you also support more funding for technical schools, vocational training programs, two-year diplomas?

Jake Corman
One hundred percent. Look, I was a person who dropped out of college. And if you know me, Anne, I had no skills. And so I was there, in my early twenties, trying to survive without any education or special skills. It wasn’t until I returned to community college that I finally got my bachelor’s degree at Penn State. We have to allow people to get adult education, whether it’s in training centers, and a lot of our vocational training sites or whether they’re in, you know, adult education sites. As CPI has been so successful over the past 20 years in developing its adult program to acquire the skills that people need. We can have all the architects and engineers in the world, but if we don’t have people to build them, what we design, we won’t be very successful.

Anne Danahy
And another problem that is very much in the foreground right now is abortion. And what the states are doing with it. If you were elected, would you support, would you sign legislation restricting or banning abortion?

Jake Corman
Listen, I never go into speculation until we have the capacity to do so. I support the abortion control law. The Abortion Control Act is one of Pennsylvania’s toughest laws. I am a pro-life lawmaker. The abortion control law is based on viability outside the womb. I have voted in the past to update this from its original intention as medical technology has allowed babies to be born earlier. So let’s see what the courts allow us to do. But for now, I support the abortion control law and support its update.

Anne Danahy
Other than dealing with the COVID pandemic – hopefully we’ll be done most of it by the time the next governor takes office – what would be a priority?

Jake Corman
Another priority is parental empowerment and education. I think what we’ve seen in the last 12-18 months is that parents want to be involved in their children’s education, whether it’s at the public school level, participating in the curriculum or by participating in health and safety plans, or allowing parents to choose the best school for their children. My children go to Bellefonte public school, they are doing well. But not all children succeed in all environments. You know, education is not a one-size-fits-all process. And we should be empowering parents to determine where their kids can do best, and it shouldn’t be determined by their zip code or ability to pay.

Anne Danahy
So you are running in a very busy primary. And you are seen, I think, as a moderate Republican who would resort to parliamentary elections. But of course you will have to go through the primary first. How do you see yourself seducing Donald Trump supporters? And do you see yourself as a supporter of Donald Trump?

Jake Corman
Look, I’m gonna run on my accomplishment record. And I think at the end of the day that’s what people want – someone who can get things done. It doesn’t matter what you are for. If you can’t do it at the end of the day, then what’s the good of people? We’ve had it for far too long, governors and lawmakers don’t get along. And I think we missed opportunities to improve Pennsylvania. I think I’m uniquely positioned to join the executive branch and work with the legislative branch to do good things for Pennsylvania. So I’m going to talk about things that I have accomplished, good conservative things that I have accomplished, and I think that will appeal well in elementary school.


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