Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is working to make the case for his re-election.
The first-term Democrat gave a keynote speech Monday morning at a breakfast event attended by lawmakers and business leaders from around the region. And he took the opportunity to set himself apart from the corruption fears that have lately plagued Washington.
When Wolf ran for governor, one of the most important figures in his campaign wasn’t a person. It was his 2006 Jeep Wrangler.
Three years later, the vehicle’s still very much in the picture. It remains an important symbol for the governor, as does the fact that he donates his salary and doesn’t live in the governor’s mansion.
“People are not looking for that level, necessarily, but they’re looking for some evidence that you actually are doing public service,” he said in his speech. “You’re not there because you want a job that pays well.”
In Wolf’s pitch to voters, these deliberate moves are meant to signify that he’s not a lifelong politician. Pennsylvanians, he argues, can trust him.
“There is a different way to govern than we’ve done in the last four decades,” he said. “And maybe, just maybe, if we actually make this point well — that we can be competent, and that we can be honest — that we actually might resurrect the idea of democracy.”
Wolf also made a point to recap his legislative victories — chiefly, bulking up education funding after cuts under the previous administration, and legalizing medical marijuana.
He doesn’t yet have any challengers for the Democratic nomination. Two Republicans have so far thrown their hats in the ring to oppose him, with more expected to join the race soon.
Favorability ratings for the governor are currently hovering around 40 percent — an improvement from the 33 percent low he hit after the state’s nine-month standoff over his first budget.