|46th Governor of Pennsylvania|
January 18, 2011
|Preceded by||Ed Rendell|
|46th Attorney General of Pennsylvania|
January 18, 2005 – January 18, 2011
|Preceded by||Jerry Pappert|
|Succeeded by||William Ryan (Acting)|
October 3, 1995 – January 22, 1997
|Preceded by||Ernie Preate|
|Succeeded by||Mike Fisher|
|United States Attorney for the
Western District of Pennsylvania
November 30, 1989 – May 1, 1993
|Nominated by||George H. W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Charles Sheehy (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Frederick Thieman|
June 17, 1949 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Residence||Shaler Township, Pennsylvania|
|Alma mater||Lebanon Valley College
St. Mary's University, Texas
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1971–1984|
|Unit||28th Infantry Division|
Thomas W. "Tom" Corbett (born June 17, 1949) is an American politician who is the 46th and current Governor of Pennsylvania. A member of the Republican Party, Corbett was first elected Governor in 2010 and was sworn into office on January 18, 2011.
Corbett began his career as an assistant district attorney in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in 1976. Corbett then joined the U.S. Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, serving from 1980 to 1983, upon entering private practice. In 1988 Corbett was first elected to public office as a Commissioner in the Pittsburgh suburb of Shaler, before serving as the United States Attorney for Western Pennsylvania from 1989 to 1993 in the George H.W. Bush administration. In 1995, after the resignation of Ernie Preate, Corbett was appointed to fill the remainder of Preate's term as Attorney General of Pennsylvania, until 1997. Corbett then reentered private practice and worked as the general counsel for Waste Management, Inc before being elected Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 2004. Corbett was then elected to a second term in 2008, serving a total of two non-consecutive tenures as Attorney General from 1995 to 1997, and 2005 to 2011.
After Governor Ed Rendell was term-limited from running for reelection, Corbett declared his candidacy for Governor in March 2009. Corbett defeated State Representative Sam Rohrer in the Republican primary and defeated Democratic nominee Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, with 54% of the vote in the general election.
- 1 Early life, education, and early career
- 2 Attorney General
- 3 Governor of Pennsylvania
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Electoral history
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life, education, and early career
Corbett was born in Philadelphia. He received his Bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College and was employed as a 9th grade teacher for one year. Corbett then earned his J.D. from St. Mary's University Law School. He served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 28th Infantry Division from 1971 to 1984, rising to the rank of captain.
Corbett's career has been split between private practice and civil service. He began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Pittsburgh's Allegheny County in 1976. After three and a half years, he was hired in 1980 as an assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
In 1983, Corbett entered private practice as an associate partner at Rose, Schmidt, Hasley & DiSalle. From 1988 and 1989, Corbett won his first election as a township commissioner in the Pittsburgh suburb of Shaler Township.
In 1988, a judge appointed him to monitor the Allegheny County jail while it was under the court's supervision. In 1989, Senators John Heinz and Arlen Specter recommended to President Bush that he nominate Corbett as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Corbett served in the post until May 1993, when he was dismissed by President Bill Clinton.
Corbett then returned to private practice, also serving as an adviser to the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Ridge. Following Ridge's victory, Corbett served on a number of state commissions including the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which he served as chairman.
Corbett left office in 1997 and again went into the private sector, first as general counsel for Waste Management, Inc., then opening his own practice.
In 1995, Corbett was appointed to the position of State Attorney General by Governor Ridge to fill the remainder of the term left by the conviction of Ernie Preate. As a condition of his Senate confirmation, Senate Democrats required him to pledge that he would not run for re-election in 1996. This is a common practice in Pennsylvania for appointments to elected offices. Jerry Pappert made the same pledge in 2003 when he succeeded Mike Fisher as State Attorney General.
After early returns were reported, the Associated Press called the race in Eisenhower's favor, only to retract that call later as the numbers closed. Corbett declared victory the following morning, having defeated Eisenhower by nearly 110,000 votes, winning 50.4% to 48.3%. Green party candidate Marakay Rogers captured 1.3% of the vote.
Corbett was re-elected in 2008. He won with the largest vote total of any Republican in the state's history. He defeated Democrat John Morganelli, bucking the trend of Democratic success in Pennsylvania that year.
On March 23, 2010, Corbett, along with 13 other state attorneys general, filed a lawsuit against the mandates in the just-signed federal Healthcare Bill, claiming it is unconstitutional. As of January 2011, a total of 27 states have joined this lawsuit.
Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Corbett convened a grand jury in 2009 to investigate longstanding allegations of child sexual abuse by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The grand jury uncovered evidence of criminal misconduct, and a 40-count indictment against Sandusky was issued in 2011, ultimately leading to Sandusky's criminal conviction in 2012. Corbett has been criticized for the three year time span between the grand jury investigation and Sandusky's indictment, and for his gubernatorial staff approving a $3 million grant to Sandusky's Second Mile charity for children, which, according to the grand jury findings, served as a repository for potential sex-abuse victims. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report on the Penn State scandal did not fault Corbett's handling of the Sandusky case.
Governor of Pennsylvania
On March 17, 2009, it was reported that Corbett had formed an exploratory committee and had begun filing the paperwork necessary to begin a run for Governor of Pennsylvania. On September 15, 2009, Corbett formally declared his candidacy and, on May 18, 2010, won the GOP primary with nearly 70% of the vote.
In May 2010 Corbett filed a criminal subpoena against Twitter ordering them to divulge "any and all subscriber information" of the person(s) behind two accounts that were criticizing the Republican candidate. Corbett's office denied that the subpoenas were related to the criticism, but rather to an ongoing grand jury investigation. Corbett's office ultimately withdrew the subpoenas.
In July 2010, Corbett garnered attention for suggesting that some of the unemployed are exploiting the extension of unemployment benefits prior to seeking employment, and later noted the prevalence of "help wanted" ads in the newspapers as evidence of the availability of employment.
In September 2010, at the first gubernatorial debate, Corbett again gained attention for seemingly violating his "no-tax pledge" in suggesting that he would consider raising the payroll contribution tax.
On November 2, 2010, Corbett was elected governor of Pennsylvania, succeeding Democrat Ed Rendell. Corbett assumed the office of governor on January 18, 2011.
Since Corbett took office, more than 100,000 private sector jobs have been created. Through the efforts of Corbett's administration, Royal Dutch Shell has announced they are considering putting a "cracker" plant in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Shell said it expects construction of the plant to employ up to 10,000 people. Once operational, the operation will need several hundred full-time employees. Corbett also helped ensure that the three refineries in Southeastern Pennsylvania would stay open.
According to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, between January 2011, when Corbett took office, and June 2014, the most recent month for which data is available, Pennsylvania gained a net 124,800 jobs during that period. This ranked Pennsylvania 47th in the nation for job creation - ahead of only New Mexico (1 percent), Alaska (1.58 percent) and Arkansas (1.91 percent). Economist Tara Sinclair noted that Pennsylvania suffered fewer job losses during the recession from 2008-2010, so it might be expected to experience a "less robust recovery". In addition, government employment in the state declined 7% during Corbett's term.
Liquor store privatization
On January 30, 2013, Corbett unveiled his plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s state-run wine and spirits stores. Corbett estimated the sale of retail and wholesale licenses would raise an estimated 800 million to $1 billion. His administration has pledged to use this money for an educational block grant used toward school safety, enhanced early education programs, individualized learning and science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses and programs.
Recent polling reflects that most Pennsylvanians disapprove of Governor Corbett's job performance, including his decision to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery, but support Corbett's desire to sell off state owned liquor stores and fix Pennsylvania's ailing transportation system. Governor Corbett and his wife have been criticized for accepting gifts as reported in the Philadelphia Daily News. Some politicians have claimed that the Governor violated the code of conduct of his office. Franklin & Marshall College conducts polling across Pennsylvania and commented on the fact that Corbett is the least-popular Governor in their poll's eighteen-year history. Their August 2013 poll found that only 17% of voters thought Corbett was doing an "excellent" or "good" job, only 20% thought he deserved to be re-elected and 62% said the state was "off on the wrong track". In November 2013, Public Policy Polling announced that Corbett was the most unpopular Governor in the country, with 65% of registered voters and 51% of registered Republicans disapproving of his job performance.
Corbett became governor on January 18, 2011. One of his first actions was the proposal of a new state budget that would decrease spending by 3%. The proposed budget received significant criticism due to its cuts in state-supported higher education by 50%. Under the new budget, funding granted to the 14 universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and state-related universities Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, and Lincoln would be cut in half, totaling $625 million. Corbett has said, however, that he will not attempt to limit collective bargaining, as have Republican Governors John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Corbett's 2013-14 budget included a $90 million increase to basic education, as well as increases to programs that help people with mental and physical disabilities.
As governor, Corbett maintains that Pennsylvania should not institute a natural gas extraction tax, due to its already high corporate net income tax. In February 2011, Corbett repealed a four month old policy regulating natural gas drilling (including hydraulic fracturing) in park land, deeming it "unnecessary and redundant" according to a spokesperson. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party called the repeal a "payoff" to oil and gas interests which donated a million dollars to Corbett's campaign. According to Corbett, "had they not given me a dime, I would still be in this position, saying we need to grow jobs in Pennsylvania".
On February 17, 2012, Corbett signed The Marcellus Shale Law (House Bill 1950). The law subjects natural gas drillers to an impact fee to offset any environmental or community impacts of drilling. In 2012, the law generated over 200 million dollars for Pennsylvania municipalities, twice the estimated amount of an extraction tax. The law also changes the zoning laws applicable to Marcellus Shale well drilling, which is more commonly known as hydraulic fracturing. Some of its provisions are that all municipalities must allow Marcellus Shale well drilling in all zoning districts, including residential and municipalities may not limit hours of operation. Water and wastewater pits must also be allowed in all zoning districts, including residential. Compressor stations must be allowed in industrial and agricultural zoning districts and towns may not limit hours of operation. Gas processing plants are allowed in industrial zoning districts and hours of operation cannot be limited. Gas pipelines must be allowed in all zoning districts, including residential. The law helps gain access to land for new pipelines, one of which will transport natural gas from Pennsylvania to export terminals in Maryland, from which it will be shipped to Europe and Asia. Others contend that the pipeline's purpose is to transport the gas to Maryland and D.C. markets. There are also concerns that exporting natural gas will result in more jobs going overseas, leading to increased unemployment in Pennsylvania and other states as gas prices rise globally.
The Marcellus Shale Law (House Bill 1950) also contains a provision that allows doctors in Pennsylvania access to the list of chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluid in emergency situations only, but forbids them from discussing this information with their patients. The information can only be used for emergency medical treatment, and the doctor must immediately verbally agree to keep the information confidential and later sign a document to that effect. The bill also reduces the legal responsibility of vendors, service providers, and operators regarding the identity and impact of contents of the hydraulic fracturing fluid they use.
Gay Marriage/Incest Remark
In an interview broadcast on October 4, 2013, Corbett was on WHP-TV in Harrisburg when an anchor asked a question regarding a member of his staff comparing the union of gay couples to that of 12 year-old children. Corbett replied: "It was an inappropriate analogy, you know." "I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?" Later Friday, Corbett issued a statement saying his "words were not intended to offend anyone" and apologizing if they did. His office said the interview was taped Monday. "I explained that current Pennsylvania statute delineates categories of individuals unable to obtain a marriage license," he said. "As an example, I cited siblings as one such category, which is clearly defined in state law. My intent was to provide an example of these categories." He said the legal status of same-sex marriage will be decided with "respect and compassion shown to all sides." A federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage on May 20, 2014.
Corbett formally announced his candidacy for re-election on November 8, 2013. Polling indicates a very difficult path to re-election for Corbett, as his poll numbers have been very low across the state. All four candidates for the Democratic nomination: Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Kathleen McGinty, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and businessman Thomas W. Wolf would beat Corbett in a potential matchup according to recent head-to-head polling. In addition, Corbett was challenged in the Republican primary: by attorney and conservative activist Bob Guzzardi. However, the state Supreme Court ordered Guzzardi's name struck from the ballot due to his failure to file a statement of financial interest, leaving Corbett unopposed for the Republican nomination.
Corbett married Susan Manbeck Corbett in 1972. The couple met as students at Lebanon Valley College in Annville. Mrs Corbett has worked as a teacher and a legal secretary. Lately, her career has been in arts administration: as special projects manager for the President’s Office at Carnegie Museums and the Director’s Office of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She served as Assistant Producer and then Executive Director of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures and Vice-President for Programs and Development for the Gettysburg Foundation.
Mrs. Corbett is Pennsylvania's Honorary Chair of the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary celebration.
Corbett and his wife Susan have two children, Tom and Katherine. Tom is an associate producer with EA Games, and Katherine is a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney's office.
|Pennsylvania Attorney General election, 2004|
|Green||Marakay J. Rogers||70,624||1.3%|
|Pennsylvania Attorney General election, 2008|
|Libertarian||Marakay J. Rogers||109,856||1.89%|
|Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2010|
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- Governor Tom Corbett official Pennsylvania government site
- Tom Corbett for Governor
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