By Clarissa Grunwald,
John Hanger, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, hosted a meet-and-greet with students, faculty, and professional staff in New College House (NCH) Wednesday. The event, which was open to Lancaster residents, was made possible thanks to the efforts and sponsorship of F&M’s College Democrats and NCH.
Currently, Hanger is running for the Democratic nomination in the primary election alongside six other candidates, including Thomas Wolf and Alison Schwartz.
“[The event was] an excellent way for students to connect to the political atmosphere where they attend school and to get opportunities to volunteer or simply to be informed voters,” said Cameron Koob ’16, treasurer of the College Democrats. Koob hopes attendees gained an interest in state politics, as well as an understanding of what it takes to run for governor.
At the event, Hanger discussed his proposed policies and fielded questions from the audience. Some of the key points of his platform include reversing cuts to public education made by Corbett, and improving accountability in both public and private schools, promoting green energy in the state, and the legalization and taxation of marijuana.
Additionally, he criticized his competitors’ spending on the election, pointing out that he is running a grassroots campaign and supports government financing of the governor’s race.
“I’m not trying to buy the election,” he said. “I’m running a true people’s campaign. Voters have to decide if they really want a big-money campaign to win or a true people’s campaign.”
Born in Kenya and raised in Ireland, Hanger moved to the United States at the age of 12 before becoming a citizen seven years later. After attending Duke University, he received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, starting his career as a public interest lawyer representing low-income clients. He mainly took on cases with customers of the Philadelphia Gas Works and Philadelphia Water Department. According to Hanger’s website, this was the beginning of a political career that continues to emphasize the importance of the environment, both biologically and economically.
In 1998, Hanger established Citizens of Pennsylvania’s Future, or simply PennFuture, which focuses on improving the state’s environment and economy. In addition, Hanger has served as the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, where he helped pass the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act, which allows Pennsylvania residents to choose their own electric supplier or find ways to generate their own electricity.
Despite his experience working under previous governors, Hanger has never held an elected government position.
Due to his diverse background, Hanger’s visit was promoted to students who are interested in both politics and the environment. In that vein, the meet-and-greet was even held in NCH, a building designed to be environmentally conscious and a recipient of a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Currently, Hanger is campaigning for governor while working at Eckert Seamans, a law firm and political lobbying group. His next scheduled political appearance is on Apr. 11, where he will attend a debate in Gettysburg, Penn.
Following the event, Hanger discussed the qualities he feels differentiate him from other candidates and make him right for the governor’s office.
“I have a college affordability plan that would allow all Pennsylvanians to go to two years of community college and one year of state university without incurring debt,” he said. “I’m the only candidate with a comprehensive job plan that creates 382,000 jobs. I’m the only candidate who has written a moratorium on gas drilling in state forests that, now, Governor Corbett is trying to rip up. I’m the only candidate who is standing for legalizing and taxing marijuana. I’m the only candidate who wants to hold all charter schools accountable and not allow funding to those schools that don’t do a good job. There are a lot of issues and plans that I have that are unique and set me apart.”
Students interested in volunteering or learning more about Hanger’s campaign can visit his website at www.hangerforgovernor.com.
First-year Clarissa Grunwald is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.