I want to start by thanking the netroots community for joining with Pennsylvanians to fight back against Governor Corbett’s attacks on working families, progressive values, and our democracy.
I've always believed that a vibrant, healthy community requires good-paying jobs and a thriving, secure middle class. And I know that the progressive blogosphere shares my view that when you listen to workers and treat them right with living wages, good benefits, and safe working conditions -- we all benefit.
That’s why I’m so thankful to this community and to bloggers around the country for leading the fight in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, New Jersey, here in Pennsylvania, and anywhere else where the rights of workers, women, and minorities are under attack.
And in my view, the foundation for rebuilding Pennsylvania's middle class is laid by making working men and women the keystone of any initiative to turn our Commonwealth around.
Unfortunately, that is the exact opposite of what Governor Corbett has done to our state. And recent news out of Harrisburg seems to indicate that Corbett and his friends seem ready to wage a new war on workers in Pennsylvania:
The measures would effectively strip public-sector unions (with the exception of those representing police and firefighters) of their ability to have members' dues deducted out of their paychecks. It would also prevent union members who voluntarily make contributions to support their unions' political initiatives from having those contributions automatically deducted.The union busting legislation was introduced by Senator John Eichelberger and Representative Bryan Cutler and there are strong rumors out of Harrisburg that Americans for Prosperity is putting pressure on Republicans to bring both bills up for a vote within the next few weeks -- or face well-funded Tea Party primary challenges in May.
With Governor Corbett’s poll numbers already showing that he’s the most unpopular governor in the entire country, Republicans know they only have a limited amount of time left to ram through another attack on unions and working people.
So I’m writing to you today for two reasons:
It’s absolutely critical for working people in Pennsylvania to continue to have the support of the progressive netroots; and this legislation is more proof that Democrats need a strong candidate for governor who has a proven record standing with workers.
In early 2009, I received an urgent phone call. The business I sold three years earlier -- a company I spent twenty-five years building and growing -- was on the brink of going bankrupt and closing.
Rather than walking away and leaving my former employees -- people I grew up with and who helped make me successful -- to join the ranks of the unemployed, I knew I had to act. My wife Frances and I put our life savings into re-purchasing the business and turning it around.
We turned it around by investing in our workers and encouraging them to help us think about the future differently.
It wasn't easy, but by working together we changed the business from a wholesale distributor to a company that sources our own American-made products that compete directly with foreign imports.
That's why my company pays its workers a living wage, provides good healthcare and retirement benefits, and shares 20-30% of its profits with the workers who help make the business successful.
Treating workers fairly isn’t just right, it’s smart business and good for our economy.
The truth is, it's not going to be easy to reverse the damage Governor Corbett has done.
But if the netroots comes together in the fight to stop this legislation and turn Pennsylvania around, we’ll get there.
Please take a moment to contact Republicans and Democrats in the state House and state Senate to defeat House Bill 1507 and Senate Bill 1034 -- and then visit WolfForPa.com to learn more about my campaign.
I'll be in and out of campaign meetings for the rest of the evening, but I'd love to answer some of your questions. I will be back online later and I'll answer the five most recommended questions from the DailyKos community by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. Looking forward to answering your questions and thank you for everything you’re doing.