10 Questions With Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Pawlowski
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski stopped by Penn State yesterday in the midst of his 20-counties-in-9-days campaign kickoff tour for governor. We had the chance to catch up with Mayor Pawlowski to talk about the campaign and dinosaurs.
Onward State: You are originally from Illinois. What drew you to Pennsylvania?
Ed Pawlowski: I graduated with my masters in Urban Planning and Policy, and when looking for opportunities across the country I got a great opportunity to head up a non-profit housing organization in the Lehigh Valley where I quadrupled its size and budget. I eventually became the director of community and economic development for the city and ultimately ran for mayor and have been there for two terms.
OS: What makes you qualified to be governor?
EP: I’m the only one that’s running with executive experience. I’ve had to run a city and had to deal with problems on a daily basis. Being a mayor is a tough job, you get pulled in many different directions and there are really only two jobs that you can make an impact on the ground. Being a mayor and being a governor is really where hope meets the streets.
OS: What sets you a part from Governor Corbett?
EP: I think what people want is a leader. A leader with character, quality ideas, and that really cares for the people. That’s what we’ve been lacking in Pennsylvania. We cannot get basic bills through that everyone agrees upon happening and Governor Corbett can’t even get them through the his own controlled house and senate. We need a leader that can sell these ideas to Harrisburg and to the people of Pennsylvania. It takes creative ways to be able to sell ideas to the people of your community. That’s what I’ve done in Allentown, helping to bring over a billion dollars in development and 4,000 new jobs during my time as Mayor.
OS: Do you think you can bring the same sort of revitalization to other parts of the state, as you did in Allentown?
EP: I think it’s possible with a bipartisan effort and that’s how it worked in Allentown. A government pulling together to solve problems works. We’ve had over 4,000 tons of steel coming from Erie, Pa. bringing jobs to other parts of the state. We need more of that. This program has been great and would work well in our bordering cities like Erie, Scranton, and York to attract businesses back to Pennsylvania.
OS: With all of this new development happening in Allentown, do you think now is the right time to run for governor?
EP: As Mayor of the 3rd largest city in the state and the president of the PA Municipal league I’ve seen first-hand what the policies of the current administration have done to this state, Pennsylvania has gone from 7 to 49 in job creation, our roads and bridges are crumbing and deep cuts are being made in public education. I cannot sit by watching this happen knowing the adverse effect these polices will have on Allentown and all the municipalities around the state if allowed to continue.
OS: Since you decided to make a stop in State College, will education funding be important to you if elected governor?
EP: Our priorities are skewed. We cut out $1 billion in public education funding in 2011 and only put $90 million back into education. If we don’t fund education now, we’ll be funding prisons in the future. Our kids are going to be failing and dropping out and we’ve already let go 20,000 teachers. We need to keep our college graduates here. We’ve gone from 7th in job growth in the country to 49th under Governor Corbett with Wyoming only growing slower than us.
OS: Auditor General DePasquale has been calling for Penn State to fall under state Right-to-Know laws, do you agree with his stance?
EP: I think they should. We fall under right-to-know laws in Allentown and Penn State get massive amounts of public money and I think that the public has the right to know where that money is being spent.
OS: Do you agree with Attorney General Kane’s inquiry into the way Governor Corbett handled the Sandusky Case while he was attorney general?
EP I think it’s appropriate. I think the whole case was a black eye on this great institution. I think that we need to find ways to bring back the reputation of Penn State. Getting to the bottom of this and getting past this issue in the proper way by getting predators off the street and Attorney General Kane has started to take the appropriate measures in doing so.
OS: You are an Illinois graduate. Any chance you’ll be rooting for the Nittany Lions in November?
EP Definitely. I received my graduate degree from Illinois and never really went to a college football game until I moved to Pennsylvania. I’ve been rooting for the Nittany Lions ever since.
OS: If you were a dinosaur, which would you be and why?
EP: Governorsaurus. And as governorsaurus, I’ll be sure to be at every Penn State home football game to root for the Nittany Lions.