Democrat Jo Ellen Litz, a four-term county commissioner from Lebanon County, is running for governor.
On July 2, Litz announced on the steps of the state capital in Harrisburg her intention to run for governor of Pennsylvania. Since then, Litz has traveled to 36 counties across the Commonwealth and has spent the last couple of days in Erie at the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) trade show.
Litz stopped in Warren at the Times Observer on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues and her campaign goals.
Jo Ellen Litz
"I bring I think local government to the table and a balance of common sense between business and conservation, having been a business owner of a small Lebanon autobody shop for 20 years" and "I believe there's a way for business and conservation to work together and if we show how it is profitable to do conservation measures then business is going to say 'wow, let me in on this.' I'm a big proponent of reading a book called 'The Big Thirst' and in there you can see all kinds of great things that have happened to communities that have implemented best practices, if you will, for conservation, and they ended up benefiting business and they're saving money, that sort of thing. And doing the right thing for our environment, our children and our future."
As 2012 CCAP President and 2013 CCAP Executive Committee Chairman, Litz has shared the stage with Gov. Tom Corbett a number of times.
"I greatly respect the position and the man, but part ways with him on many issues," said Litz. "Some of those issues, and there's are quite a few, are the Marcellus shale tax, the lack of a Marcellus shale tax. I think you and me and every small business in this state are picking up the tab for perhaps roads and 911 calls when we have to dispatch hazmat teams and even the 911 calls themselves, we have to house and train the employees in the 911 center, and there's not money coming in for us to do that."
Litz said she objects to many out-of-state companies operating in Pennsylvania that take advantage of the "Delaware loophole" and don't register in the Commonwealth as their home office.
The lack of a transportation bill is another issue Litz said she would tackle as governor of Pennsylvania.
"When we have unsafe bridges and roads, disaster is waiting to happen throughout the state," she said. "And as I'm traveling I come to detour after detour, some places more than others, depending on flooding in the area and things like that."
The formula to determine how bridges are classified is changing and will result in even more bridges rated as deficient, she said.
"We have a real dilemma on our hands with roads and bridges," said Litz. "It is embarrassing to know that throughout history and if we learn from history, and we should, one of the ways to get out of a recession is to have good transportation policies where we have a transportation plan. And then you have good jobs, good-paying jobs to support families. You have a way to get goods to market, and children to schools and people to jobs. It's a win win, so why don't we have a transportation plan? It's totally embarrassing to me. It would help the economy and it would help every citizen no matter your economic condition. You would benefit from good roads. Let's just do it."
Litz also believes support for the military, which is the number one employer in her hometown in Lebanon County, is a major issue.
"I just feel that we're one of the most, if not probably the most, deployed National Guard in the nation. So the governor certainly has a hand in activating the military," said Litz.