Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Keep Them Apart Let Governor and Lt. Governor Races Stay Separate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Keep Them Apart Let Governor and Lt. Governor Races Stay Separate

Article excerpt

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack has embarrassed his office and been of little help to his ostensible partner, Gov. Tom Wolf. But a state senator's proposal to let gubernatorial nominees pick their running mates, rather than continuing to let the voters pick them, is an overreaction. It would be wrong to give voters less say in who governs them.

Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states in which voters separately elect nominees for the state's top two executive-branch jobs. Candidates run for lieutenant governor just as they do for governor. In the 2014 primary, Democratic voters nominated Mr. Stack, who was a state senator from Philadelphia, for lieutenant governor and Mr. Wolf, a York County businessman, for governor. They ran as a ticket in the fall and defeated their Republican opponents in the general election.

Instead of helping Mr. Wolf run the state, however, Mr. Stack has been a drag. Last summer, when Mr. Stack wanted language in a bill that would have allowed his security detail to use flashing lights and sirens for reasons of convenience, Mr. Wolf's office had to step in to thwart the foolhardy proposal. In April, Mr. Wolf asked the state inspector general to investigate reports that Mr. Stack and his wife, Tonya, had verbally abused state employees and that the lieutenant governor had encouraged his driver to ignore the speed limit. Two weeks later, without waiting for the IG's report, Mr. Wolf took the unprecedented step of yanking Mr. Stack's security detail and scaling back the staffing at the Stacks' taxpayer-funded residence at Fort Indiantown Gap.

Mr. Wolf and Mr. Stack have a frosty relationship that only makes the job of running the state more difficult.Now, Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, has proposed legislation that would allow gubernatorial nominees to select their running mates, much the way presidential candidates select theirs. …

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