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The 2014 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election was historic, breaking trends in gubernatorial politics going back decades as Democratic challenger Tom Wolf bested incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett in November. Since a 1968 change to the state constitution allowing second terms, no incumbent governor had lost his reelection bid -- until this year.
Over the course of the year, WITF's team of reporters put together a series of reports highlighting the key issues facing the state in the run-up to primary and general elections -- such as the lack of dialogue on how to help the commonwealth's struggling cities, the debate over enacting a severance tax on the natural gas industry and what to do about the state's ailing pension systems.
This entry is 30 minutes and has been edited for time.
1. Communities across Pennsylvania are facing increasing pressure to stay solvent. Yet, gubernatorial candidates in both parties have been largely silent on how they'd deal with state laws that complicate efforts to address the financial strains on many cities, townships and boroughs. WITF’s Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previt takes a look at why areas where half of the commonwealth's population lives are being left out of the discussion.
2. The race for governor is bringing back to life an old debate about whether the state should tax the natural gas industry. It's also raising questions about how much of the state should be open for drilling. To explain where the candidates stand on these issues, let's turn now to our StateImpact Pennsylvania reporters -- WHYY'S Katie Colaneri and Marie Cusick from WITF in Harrisburg.
3. The four Democratic gubernatorial candidates have talked about their personal stories, their support for greater education funding, and finding ways to generate revenue. But judging by the warnings from credit rating agencies, the largest financial headache facing the commonwealth is what it owes in future pension payouts to state and school retirees.WITF's Mary Wilson reports from the state Capitol, when it comes to paying off that debt, the candidates aren’t exactly bubbling over with ideas.
4: Outside of a passing mention of Medicaid expansion or an alternative known as Healthy Pennsylvania, health care doesn’t get attention as Governor Corbett and Tom Wolf stump from campaign rally to campaign rally. But the state has a say over many things, from hospital licensing to screening for disorders in newborns to prescription drug dispensing guidelines. As part of Transforming Health, WITF’s Ben Allen looks at where the two stand, and whether the issue matters to voters.
5.Voter turnout for Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial elections has dropped 12 percent during the past two decades. The decline is more drastic in urban centers, particularly in the Commonwealth’s distressed municipalities. But when WITF's Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previti crunched the numbers, she found some communities are bucking those trends.
6. Republican Governor Tom Corbett staked his first campaign on fiscal discipline and a no-tax pledge. Now, more voters than ever before are saying they’re concerned schools got the short end of the stick during his tenure. Pollsters say Corbett could become the first Pennsylvania governor to lose re-election since second terms were legalized in 1968. WITF's Mary Wilson reports on his efforts to stage a comeback and make history November fourth.
7. The Democratic candidate for governor launched his political campaign with a television ad blitz and is ahead in the polls in the race against incumbent Republican Tom Corbett. Tom Wolf has been knocked as a tax-and-spend liberal with ill-defined policy plans, but the biggest question is how he’ll work with a Legislature likely to remain in GOP control. WITF's Mary Wilson reports, the York County businessman points to his experience serving his community in the midstate for clues.
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