Democrats rally at local party dinner

State Treasurer Rob McCord called for Democrats to work together as much is at stake in coming elections, including the defeat of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2013.

McCord, keynote speaker at Saturday night’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner at the Holiday Inn, 100 Pine St., said while it will be hard to beat an incumbent, it isn’t impossible.

He was among a flurry of Democratic candidates seeking state and local offices who spoke during the evening.

McCord told fellow Democrats that it will take resources to win and the help of undecided voters.

McCord, who many believe will eventually throw his hat in the ring for governor, said Corbett is not one to take advantage of helping people.

Nor has he worked to reform anything.

“He frankly does things that are immoral,” he said. “The governor is doing a very, very bad job.”

Gubernatorial candidates who spoke were former state Department of Environmental Secretary John Hanger, Max J. Myers, and state Sen. Mike Stack.

“I’m running for governor because I know how to get things done in state government,” Hanger said.

Hanger called for better oversight of the natural gas industry.

“We need to tax the industry like any other state,” he said.

He also called for more renewable energy sources.

“Hard working people are taking it on the chin,” he added. “The unions have been targeted by the right wing.”

Myers, a Mechanicsburg pastor, said he’s running to address three key areas: poverty, public education and jobs.

He said 20 percent of state residents are living below or at the poverty level.

Myers said the two men who have inspired him are Martin Luther King Jr. and William Penn.

“The civil rights movement is the only movement that changed our culture,” he said.

He said Penn was a man who understood that when members of a community value each other, anything is possible.

Stack said the state is being turned over to special interests and lobbyists.

“It’s not in the hands of us, the people,” he said.

He said he has fought Corbett on the issues.

Stack said young people are not being given the chance to get the best education possible.

“Our greatest asset is our young people,” he said.

The state, he said, is blessed with great health care. Unfortunately, too many people are without insurance to cover those costs.

He blamed Corbett for allowing the Adult Basic program to lapse.

Williamsport City Council candidates Liz Miele, Alison Hirsch and Kelly Anderson also addressed the audience.

Hugh McGee, candidate for Lycoming County Sheriff noted that no row officer in county government is a Democrat.

“I want to change that,” he said.

State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, said the state needs to place a higher value on education.

Unfortunately, the state has seen cuts in funding for public and higher education during the Corbett administration, and that is particularly bad for rural areas.

Mirabito also spoke out against the privatization of the state liquor stores.

He noted that alcohol consumption is higher for younger people living in rural areas.

“It’s a devastating statistic,” he said.