Corbett visits Northeast Philly in kickoff of re-election campaign

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 School protesters and supporters surround Pa. Governor Tom Corbett during his visit to Philadelphia on Thursday, November 7, 2013. (Nathaniel Hamilton/For Newsworks)

School protesters and supporters surround Pa. Governor Tom Corbett during his visit to Philadelphia on Thursday, November 7, 2013. (Nathaniel Hamilton/For Newsworks)

Gov. Tom Corbett stopped in Northeast Philadelphia as part of a statewide tour to kick off his re-election campaign.

“We don’t need to make a change at the end of my term and go back to the policies of let’s tax and let’s tax and let’s spend. We need to have strict discipline in our spending. And to allow you to keep the money in your pockets,” he told a room of supporters at the American Legion Post in Fox Chase.

While not all were enthusiastic, they seemed willing to give the Republican governor, who has struggled in the polls even among members of his own party, the benefit of the doubt.

“I think he’s as good as social conservatives are going to get. I think he’s a fair guy,” said Tom Muldoon.

Terry Wech, a former teacher, said she’s a rare Corbett supporter among her friends in education,.

“Hey, you can’t do everything in five years, so let’s give him the time,” said Wech.

Corbett will have to fight hard to win that time. The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll showed 44 percent of Republicans think Corbett should step aside and let someone else run on the Republican ticket, while just 20 percent of Pennsylvania voters polled share Wech’s view.

During the governor’s speech, demonstrators protesting state funding cuts to public education could be heard from outside.

The governor has answered critics as he has for at least two years – saying that school districts are hurting because of a loss of federal stimulus dollars, which were used to shore up school budgets before he was in office.

On Wednesday, during stops at in Pittsburgh and a Luzerne County gas development corporation, the governor told supporters he has made good on promises to hold the line on spending and say no to new taxes.

Mary Wilson contributed to this story.

 

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