Energy. Environment. Economy.



Meet Tom Corbett


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

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 [...]

Corbett proposes DRBC funding cut as gas drilling stalemate continues

The agency that oversees issues from drinking water to flood management in the Delaware River watershed stands to loose about 20 percent of its funding if Governor Corbett’s new budget is approved. It is the latest controversy amid an ongoing stalemate at the five-member commission over natural gas drilling. The Delaware River Basin Commission, or [...]

Corbett discusses state park and forest drilling proposal

Governor Corbett is giving more details about his proposal to expand leasing of state parks and forests for natural gas drilling. Corbett sat down with witf’s Matt Paul and Mary Wilson for Smart Talk Friday. Click here to listen to audio of the show (drilling discussion begins around 29:33). Mary Wilson: One of the proposals [...]

Democratic candidates slam Corbett’s fiscal policies at forum

As Governor Tom Corbett delivered his fourth budget address, five democratic candidates looking to unseat him this November competed to slam his economic policies, especially Corbett’s rejection of a severance tax on the state’s booming natural gas industry. “This being an election year, I suppose it’s in the realm of possibility that a few disagreements [...]

Corbett unveils energy plan for Pennsylvania

Governor Corbett today unveiled his state energy plan. Speaking at the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Earth Science Center in Lycoming County, he promoted the state’s vast energy reserves as a significant economic driver. “Energy equals jobs in our gas and coal fields,” he said. “But it also equals jobs in our nuclear reactors and our growing renewable [...]

Pa. Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate environmental issues

Holly Otterbein/WHYY Eight Democratic Pa. gubernatorial candidates are shown at a debate focused on environmental sustainability held at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. Eight Democrats looking to unseat Republican Governor Tom Corbett gathered in Philadelphia on Monday night for a debate about environmental sustainability. Corbett was invited to participate, but did [...]

Gas drilling may not be top issue for voters in Pa. governor’s race

The contributions of Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania from jobs to environmental impacts are still widely debated. But according to an Associated Press report, a recent poll shows it may not be the primary issue for voters in the 2014 gubernatorial race. Pollster Joseph Morris with Mercyhurst College in Erie told the AP that gas drilling [...]

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