We reached out to all candidates running for governor in the May 20 primary and conducted interviews on their positions on LGBT issues. Incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett did not respond to PGN’s requests for an interview.
Rob McCord (D)
State treasurer Rob McCord recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of marriage equality in the Keystone State. And as governor, McCord said he would advance a wealth of LGBT rights.
McCord, 55, has held the position of treasurer since 2008. McCord said he understands the fight for marriage equality, drawing experience from his own interracial marriage.
“When I am talking about marriage equality with a conservative legislator, I will point to my wife and my marriage and say that it was illegal once. It is about building that personal relationship,” he said. “I’ve heard my share of racist and anti-Semitic remarks and I’ve had experience pulling people up a personal learning curve.”
McCord said he makes diversity in hiring a priority in both his offices.
“Thirty-three percent of the people I have hired have been African-American, 53 percent of our workforce is women and there are four openly gay staffers,” he said. “It is easy for me to do.”
McCord said he is hopeful that House Bill 300, the LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, passes before the election but that he’d otherwise make its adoption a priority as governor.
“I think we are getting there. I would make sure that transgender folks are still covered in that law because people are sometimes more comfortable with one step less than full justice and I think we need to get full justice,” he said.
McCord is supportive of the PASS Act and an LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes bill.
He said he has the conviction and the innovative approach to create change in the commonwealth.
“The LGBT communities have felt like an extension of my family,” he said. “I have both the personality and personal history and governing experience to be able to build a consensus around the conversations we need to improve these civil-rights laws in Pennsylvania.”
THE OTHER GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D)
Congress-woman Allyson Schwartz has served the 13th Congressional district since 2005.
Schwartz, 65, has been advocating for LGBT rights since 1996, when, as a state senator, she voted against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“I have the experience working with the LGBT community and advocates,” she said. “As a candidate for governor, I will continue to stand up for equal rights and, as governor, do all I can as an executive to make sure an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination act is put in place.”
Schwartz said she has experience in reaching across the aisle to gain support.
“I am the only candidate in this race that has introduced legislation and has gotten it passed working with both Republicans and Democrats,” she said. “I will look for fellow advocates and stand up with them. I want to make it clear as governor that Pennsylvania should embrace all citizens.”
Schwartz said she supports LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying measure the PASS Act and LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes legislation.
“I have always stood up for and with the LGBT community,” she said. “Anyone can say they will be supportive on the issues, but the fact is I have stood to fight for fairness and tolerance and equality and have done so publicly. I will go to Harrisburg and be an advocate to get things done and shake things up.”
Katie McGinty (D)
Former secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Katie McGinty said she would be out front on LGBT issues if elected governor.
“I would not just passively sign legislation granting marriage equality but it would be a priority for me,” she said. “I would proudly lead the efforts to enable all citizens of Pennsylvania to be respected especially in celebration and respect for the commitment of loving couples.”
McGinty, 50, said she has long been an advocate for LGBT nondiscrimination measure House Bill 300.
“As governor I want Pennsylvania to have national distinction. We are a state alive with cultural diversity but we are the last state in the region to convey basic rights,” she said.
McGinty said her support for bills like an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes measure and anti-bullying legislation is personal.
“I have three little girls in public school and middle school and I am sensitive to bullying, to humiliation, to the bars that come in the direction of kids — certainly anyone who is a little bit different,” she said. “I would fight hard not just as a governor but also as a mother whose heart breaks at the notion of any person being bullied or demeaned or feeling badly about themselves on something that should be celebrated.”
McGinty said her experience bringing bipartisan support on a myriad of issues would put Pennsylvania on the right path.
“I have a proven track record of being able to reach across the aisle,” she said. “I was able to get a Republican legislature to pass bills in renewable energy and worked with them to secure approval of new money to support local watershed and environmental groups that are vital and active in keeping rivers and streams healthy.”
Tom Wolf (D)
York native and former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Tom Wolf is hoping to contribute his experience as a businessman to bring economic growth to Pennsylvania.
Wolf is the chairman of his family-owned business, The Wolf Organization Inc., and through his company, has provided protections for LGBT employees.
Wolf said from his business standpoint, nondiscrimination and marriage equality are two smart bills for the state to adopt.
“I’d be a strong advocate for marriage equality and nondiscrimination bills in the Senate and House,” he said. “Through the experience at my business, I understand the value of marriage equality. I give domestic-partner benefits and I understand the disadvantage of both partners and companies who have to put up with the lack of marriage equality in the state.”
Wolf is a supporter of LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes and anti-bullying legislation.
He said Pennsylvania should be a state where residents and visitors of all identities should feel welcomed.
“This commonwealth was founded by somebody who put the welcome mat to everyone regardless of religious beliefs,” he said. “We need to make sure the welcome mat stays out for everybody.”
Ken Krawchuk (L)
Ken Krawchuk, a Libertarian candidate for governor, was born and raised in Philadelphia and is the founder and president of Ken Krawchuk & Associates Ltd., an information-technology consulting firm.
Krawchuk, 61, has served as secretary for the Montgomery County Libertarian Party since 2008.
Krawchuk said he has a diverse workforce at his business and, as governor, would ensure hiring decisions were motivated by a candidate’s skill set.
“I’ve run my company since the late 1980s and I’ve had such a variety of people work for me,” he said. “I would obviously hire the best person for the job.”
Although Krawchuk is a supporter of marriage equality, he said he stays true to his Libertarian views and hopes to get government out of the marriage business.
“I want government to get out of that entirely. But me as governor, who am I to stand in the way of true love?” he said.
Krawchuk said he believes any legal rights given to heterosexual couples should be extended to same-sex couples.
Krawchuk said he does not believe the constitution allows for House Bill 300, Pennsylvania’s pending LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measure.
“If this bill dictates to a company how they run their internal policies, I would be against that,” he said.
Krawchuk said he doesn’t believe hate crimes and bullying are measurable so he doesn’t think legislation is feasible.
He added that his belief in respecting others’ lives makes him a unique candidate.
“I am going to respect your life your way,” he said. “The LGBT community is finally at a point where they can live their life their way.”
Paul Glover (G)
Green Party candidate Paul Glover is the founder of 18 organizations, including GreenPlanner, a consulting business for community-based green jobs creation and finance.
Glover, a 2003 candidate for mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., was a supporter of same-sex marriage before it became legal in that state.
He said the position of governor creates a platform for advocacy, which he would use to move bills such as the LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measure.
“I would use the forum as governor to encourage the passage of House Bill 300 to happen,” he said. “The governor can take the lead by advocating to the public directly and encouraging the public to encourage legislation to pass this.”
Glover said he would strongly advocate for an LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes bill.
“I say yes readily to this issue — it is not a political answer but this has been my life,” he said.
He noted that, although the tide is changing in regard to LGBT acceptance, there is still more that can be done to encourage changing minds.
“The broad culture of acceptance is changing but must change far more before people of all backgrounds can feel comfortable and safe in our state.” n
PGN will release additional endorsements and feature candidate write-ups in next week’s edition.