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Meet Tom Corbett

Background

Republican Tom Corbett is Pennsylvania’s 46th governor.

He served two stints as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General. In 1995, Governor Tom Ridge appointed Corbett to serve out Ernie Preate’s term, after the Republican AG was convicted on corruption charges. Following Pennsylvania tradition, Corbett declined to seek full term in 1996.  He ran in 2004, though, winning a close race against Democrat Jim Eisenhower.

Corbett gained public attention in 2007 by launching an investigation into corruption at the state Capitol. Dubbed “Bonusgate,” the probe led to the arrest of six state representatives and 19 staffers. Four people, including former House Minority Whip Mike Veon, have been convicted, six have pleaded guilty, and two have been found “not guilty.”

Corbett ran for reelection in 2008, and won a decisive victory.

He announced his campaign for governor in late 2009, and defeated Representative Sam Rohrer by a 38-point margin in the May 2010 Republican primary.

After a relatively low-key general election, Corbett topped Democrat Dan Onorato by nine points.

He formally launched his campaign for reelection in November 2013 and faces a steep uphill climb in the polls. 

Corbett has lived most of his life in Shaler, Allegheny County. He’s married to Susan, and has two children: Tom and Katherine. Corbett graduated from Lebanon Valley College and St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. He served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania in the late 1980s and early 90s.

On energy issues, Corbett is committed to growing Pennsylvania’s natural gas drilling industry. In his March 2011 budget address, Corbett said, “Let’s make Pennsylvania the hub of this [drilling] boom. Just as the oil companies decided to headquarter in one of a dozen states with oil, let’s make Pennsylvania the Texas of the natural gas boom. I’m determined that Pennsylvania not lose this moment. We have the chance to get it.”

Corbett flat-out opposed to a severance tax – in fact he’s promised to forgo all tax increases throughout his tenure as governor. He did, however, support the “impact fee,” included in Act 13. The Republican received more than $900,000  in contributions from the drilling industry during the 2010 campaign, though energy companies gave money to his opponent, Dan Onorato, as well.

Despite building his reputation on fighting public corruption, StateImpact Pennsylvania has uncovered two recent instances where Corbett failed to file ethics reports correctly.

In 2012 Corbett was six months late filing a required disclosure about a free vacation on a yacht he took from a friend and wealthy campaign donor. In 2013, he failed to disclose buying an out-of-state property in South Carolina.

Latest Posts

Governor’s office denies involvement with health department drilling policies

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Tom Corbett refused to answer questions about allegations state health department employees were silenced on the issue of natural gas development. A StateImpact Pennsylvania investigation has revealed that in 2012, employees were sent a list of drilling-related “buzzwords” as part of a guidance for how to handle drilling-related health complaints. The [...]

Corbett administration won’t ‘rule out’ gas tax this year

With mounting pressure to find new revenue in the face of an estimated $1.4 billion budget gap this year, the Corbett administration is signaling it may be open to levying a new extraction tax on Pennsylvania’s natural gas operators. At a press conference in Harrisburg today, Corbett said he still doesn’t like the idea of [...]

Corbett announces $12.5 million in renewable energy grants

Governor Corbett announced $12.5 million dollars will be available for grants and loans to fund renewable energy projects around the state. The grants will financed by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority for solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass projects. Funding will also be available for alternative energy fuels, manufacturing, and research. “This funding is an opportunity for [...]

New poll finds Pennsylvanians favor shale drilling, but not on public lands

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that a majority of Pennsylvania voters support the state’s Marcellus Shale boom. However, the poll found most of them oppose the idea of more drilling in the state’s parks and forests. Fifty-eight percent of voters said they are in favor of natural gas development and 33 percent said they oppose [...]

Pa. would reduce carbon emissions by more than 30 percent under new EPA rule

Pennsylvania would be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 32 percent over the next 15 years under new federal regulations announced on Monday. It is the first time the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations specifically aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions generated by the nation’s power plants. And it is one of [...]

Court hears testimony on attempt to halt state forest drilling plan

The state Commonwealth Court heard testimony today on an effort to prevent the Corbett administration from opening up more public park and forest land to natural gas drilling. As part of a larger lawsuit, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt additional leasing of public land and the transfer of [...]

Corbett lifts moratorium on gas leasing of state park and forest land

Governor Corbett issued an executive order today overturning a 2010 state moratorium on new oil and gas leasing of public park and forest land. The administration calls the executive order a restrictive approach to expanding drilling. It allows companies to extract gas horizontally from wells located on adjacent private land or in areas of state forests [...]

Did pro-drilling rally get special treatment from state police?

Last week when thousands Marcellus Shale supporters descended on the state Capitol for a rally, the Pennsylvania State Police bus safety detail showed up to do spot inspections of their parked buses on Harrisburg’s City Island. According to ABC27 News, the Governor’s Office intervened, and the head of the State Police told the inspectors to [...]

Corbett: climate change is ‘a subject of debate’

Two new scientific studies published this week warn that a large portion of the West Antarctica ice sheet has begun melting at a pace that appears to be unstoppable. It’s the latest round of bad news about climate change. Meanwhile a United Nations panel on climate change has been issuing a series of alarming reports over the past [...]

Corbett calls for investigation into Chesapeake Energy

Governor Corbett is calling for an investigation into allegations of fraud against Pennsylvania’s biggest natural gas driller– Chesapeake Energy. Corbett sent a letter to Chesapeake’s CEO Doug Lawler, saying he has reached out to state Attorney General Kathleen Kane to investigate allegations the company is shortchanging landowners on natural gas royalty payments. “I have received complaints [...]

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