Marijuana legalization advocate and Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hanger who says he's never tried pot, ranked a solid first in a straw poll of the liberal wing of the Democratic party.
By Donald Gilliland | email@example.com
John Hanger has repeatedly said he's "the progressive candidate" for the Democratic nomination for governor, and Saturday proved him right. A straw poll of 267 attendees at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit at the Hilton in Harrisburg put Hanger at the top of the Democratic pack.
After the self-styled progressives heard the candidates for governor debate Friday night, the majority lined up behind just three candidates: Hanger, State Treasurer Rob McCord and millionaire businessman and former state revenue secretary Tom Wolf.
Hanger was well ahead of the rest of the candidates with 31.5 percent of the vote.
McCord followed with 24 percent.
Wolf was third with 22.8 percent.
Former White House advisor and state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty was fourth with 10.9 percent, followed closely by Philly-area U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz with 9.4 percent.
An indication of how Hanger's ill-funded but deeply passionate "people's campaign" has upended conventional wisdom is the fact Schwartz won the same straw poll a year ago.
JoEllen Litz, who attended the event, and Jack Wagner, who didn't, both polled less than 1 percent.
"This is a very important victory," Hanger said, calling the people gathered at the summit "the conscience of the Democratic party and the heart of its activist community."
Hanger said the result "conclusively demonstrates" that his message of 'Jobs, Not Jails, Schools, Not Jails - Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana' is "resonating with progressive Democrats and can transform this campaign once more." Read more...
While the disagreements between the Democratic candidates may not be bitter or personal, John Hanger's People's Campaign offers bold, progressive change that challenges the elites, and is clearly differentiated from his opponents. We need major reform to address these challenges and not timid half-measures. Here are key Hanger proposals that sharply contrast with those of his fellow Democratic candidates:
Jobs: No other Democrat has a detailed, documented plan to create jobs. Hanger's 8-Point Strategic Jobs Plan is a detailed roadmap that will create 382,000 new, good-quality jobs through 2019. His jobs strategy calls for investments in transportation and environmental infrastructure, developing and expanding renewable energy resources, expanding Medicaid, and restoring public education funding to reverse layoffs under the Corbett Administration.
College and training opportunities: The Hanger College Affordability Plan throws open the doors of higher education to all Pennsylvanians by providing two years of community college or one year of state college free of tuition upfront. After students graduate and enter the workforce, they repay the tuition at manageable rates based on their earnings.
Legalization and taxation of marijuana: Our cruel, expensive marijuana laws prevent doctors from prescribing cannabis to the ill, cost taxpayers $500 million in wasted expense and lost tax revenues, and fail to keep marijuana out of the hands of children. Legalization and taxation of marijuana will allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, will stop the massive waste of taxes, will generate new tax revenues and will attack the school-to-jail pipeline. Half of all drug arrests involve marijuana, and African-Americans are arrested five times more than whites, although usage rates are the same. Regulating the sale of marijuana in state stores or licensed businesses will also do a better job of keeping marijuana away from children.
Auto insurance premium hikes: At a recent candidates’ forum, Hanger was alone in opposition to increasing the liability minimum, because it would raise auto insurance premiums for all who own a car. This is a real pocketbook difference!
Public schools: Hanger alone clearly oppose privatization of our schools, oppose using a single test to decide whether students graduate high school, and make the case for "Schools, Not Jails," to stop the spiraling cost of prisons that now exceeds $2 billion per year. He also would stop funding failing cyber schools that waste more than $300 million annually.
Energy: Hanger has worked on energy issues hs entire professional life, giving him unique expertise in this environmentally and economically critical sector. Hanger spearheaded reforms as a Public Utility Commissioner that capped electric rates for 14 years, saving consumers billions of dollars. the Hanger energy program will cut carbon emissions by one-third, quadruple wind power and increase solar power tenfold, accounting for 65,000 new jobs. His 21-point energy plan ensures gas drilling will be kept out of places it does not belong, and will be strongly regulated, zoned and taxed.
Campaign finance: Regrettably, Hanger is the sole candidate demanding a halt to Big Money buying the governor's office. While the other candidates have been bundling six- and now seven-figure donations, Hanger's been talking with voters. He continues to call for public campaign financing of gubernatorial elections and challenge this obscene campaign spending spectacle.
These -- and other -- differences between Hanger and the other candidates get glossed over in the superficialities of political reportage, with its emphasis on personalities, fundraising and handicapping the horse-race. All the details of where he stands are available at the website:www.hangerforgovernor.com