Thursday, April 1, 2010

Six Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Reform

By and large, all six candidates for governor spoke from the same page last night during a Harrisburg forum focused on reform issues.
The four Democrats and two Republicans agreed on issues ranging from instituting campaign finance reform to eliminating legislative pay when budgets aren’t passed by the June 30th deadline.
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato wants to see a merit selection system for statewide judges.

"I would support keeping county trial judges elected, but I think it’s time we look at appellate courts – Superior, Commonwealth, Supreme -- we look at merit selection. Because most people don’t know who the candidates are. And now with the influence of corporate dollars coming into the process, I think it’s time we look at it."

Republican Tom Corbett and Democrats Jack Wagner and Joe Hoeffel agreed with Onorato’s take.
Democrat Anthony Williams wants to see merit selection at the local level, as well.
Republican Sam Rohrer says he wants to stick to an election system, but he’d like judges to be able to freely discuss issues.
"That’s the problem, I think, that people have when we go to the polls. We don’t really know who the judges are, because we’re not able to find out what they believe, and how they’d pursue certain issues. Let them speak more freely."

Right now, judicial candidates aren’t allowed to give their specific opinion on matters that could come before their bench.
The four Democrats and two Republicans all supported letting independent voters participate in primaries.
Williams went a step further than his opponents, calling for a lower voting age.

"At 16 you’re able to work, you pay taxes. Guess what – everybody who sits up here, talks about the next generation paying all the debt that we’re acquiring. You should have the right to tell us 1) what kind of debt you’re responsible once you reach that age of maturity we define."

Republican Tom Corbett disagreed, saying voters need to reach an “age of maturity” before they cast ballots.
Auditor General Wagner says he supports same-day voter registration.

"It’s archaic in Pennsylvania to think that you have to register a month before the process, or you don’t qualify. You’re a citizen, you pay taxes, you participate in the Democratic process. You should be able to register right up to the day of the election."

Right now, new voters need to register about a month before the election.
Joe Hoeffel says the state needs to change its redistricting process.

"We have outrageous gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. I was a victim of it in 2000. Come on! It’s totally political, it’s wrong. We need districts for state House and state Senate and Congress that respect communities of interest, that are compact and are contiguous."

The gubernatorial primary is May 18.

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