GOP hopeful details platform



Kathleen Dooley

Though trailing behind in recent polls, Attorney General Mike Fisher (R.) displayed optimism about the hotly contested gubernatorial election between Fisher and Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell. During his speech, sponsored by the College Republicans, Fisher addressed some of his key platform goals and also stressed the importance of young people in the political process. Fisher’s running mate, Senator Jane Earll, also spoke about the diversity of their ticket and plans for the future of the state.

Attempting to relate to his primarily college-aged audience, Fisher stressed his desire to bring increased economic growth to Pennsylvania.

In addition, Fisher stated that although many areas around Philadelphia are prosperous, there has been no net gain in jobs over the southeast region in years.

“We recognize that jobs and the economy is the number one issue today,” Earll said. “One of our top responsibilities is to provide opportunities for young people in Pennsylvania.”

Fisher argued that the way to boost the state’s economy was not to increase spending, as advocated by Rendell, but to keep it low and bring in jobs through private enterprise. Fisher vowed to make Pennsylvania the number one state in the country in high tech jobs.

“Companies will not locate here unless we make tax changes to attract them,” he said. “We are not going to do that if we’re spending $10 million of new money.”

Fisher also addressed that he plans to lower state property taxes. However, he offered no description of how he plans to accomplish this. The issue of property taxes is critical in the election, and the Rendell campaign already has a formulated plan.

Throughout his speech, Fisher voiced his concern for constituents of Pennsylvania, commenting that his quarter-century of public service at the state level qualifies him to lead the state. “After 28 years of listening to people across the state, I have a pretty good idea of what people in Pennsylvania need,” he said.

Fisher also commented on his trailing behind Rendell in the polls, stating that polls do little more than show name recognition at a particular time. Rendell, who ran a highly competitive primary race against Bob Casey, Jr. spent $18 million in the primaries, resulting in name recognition throughout the state. Fisher, running unopposed in the primaries, received much less name recognition, despite his years as attorney general.

Both Fisher and Earll stressed the importance of voting, regardless of political party and encouraged students to register to vote and pay attention to different candidates and their platforms. Fisher stated that in the 2000 election, only one of every two eligible voters voted.

Earll commented on the role that young people should play in the political process. “I am as a candidate so motivated to see that younger people are paying attention to this race,” Earll said. “You can’t sit idly by and hope that government will run to your liking if you don’t get involved.”

If elected, Earll will become the first female lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. “We need more women in government, particularly in executive branch positions. Mike…wanted his ticket to reflect the diversity of the party and the commonwealth,” she said.

She also discussed how, if Fisher becomes governor, he will broaden the role of lieutenant governor. In addition to presiding over the Senate and chairing the Board of Pardons, Earll will also chair the state board of education.

The Fisher campaign plans to reform education by privatizing the current state-owned liquor stores. Earll called the current public ownership of liquor stores “an archaic relic of past Pennsylvania.”

The billions of dollars generated by the sale of liquor stores would then be invested into early childhood education initiatives.

According to junior Chris Graver, president of College Republicans, bringing Fisher and Earll to the University resulted in creating a greater political awareness here. “We’ve been trying, almost desperately, to get students politically involved at Villanova,” Graver said. “A person who ignores political decisions does so at his or her own risk. Citizens must educate themselves to make informed decisions.”

Graver stated that the College Republicans have worked since June to bring Fisher and Earll to the University. “I was hoping the turnout would be a little better, but at the same time, I realized that Villanova has been a school that traditionally isn’t very politically active,” he said.

Freshman Angela Hair reacted positively to Fisher’s speech, especially when he discussed his part in preventing the sale of the Hershey Chocolate Co., a major source of jobs in the Harrisburg area. “I live about 10 minutes from Hershey, so it’s nice to know that Mike Fisher is keeping jobs in Pennsylvania,” she said. “If that sale went through, we would have lost 500 jobs.”

Also speaking prior to Fisher and Earll were Senate candidate Rob Wonderling and Renee Amoore, deputy chair of the Republican State Committee. In addition, Rep. Rita Cohen and Delaware County judge Tom Judge were both present at the speech.