Gov. Tom Corbett visits Somerset, speaks to students

Posted on November 10th, 2013

Daily American (November 10, 2013)

Gov. Tom Corbett met with aspiring politicians Sunday to discuss his political career beginning as a township supervisor.

He greeted Somerset County members of the Pennsylvania Young Republicans at the Georgian Inn, Somerset.

“I would say that I’m not your typical politician,” Corbett said to the group.

He addressed funding cuts and said that without them, Pennsylvanians would have exorbitant taxes.

“Your generation and generations in the future will have a better chance now,” he said to the students.

Corbett spoke with Rockwood Area School District Superintendent Mark Bower about public school funding.

“This is a very diverse state,” Corbett said. “Schools are overfunded and underfunded. You almost want to scrap the whole thing, but you can’t do that.”

Bower said the top five Rockwood government students were invited to meet Corbett.

“I just think it’s an outstanding opportunity for the kids,” Bower said. “I’m very thankful that we’ve been given that opportunity.”

Corbett’s wife, Susan, said she and her husband were both teachers.

“There’s nothing he likes more than talking to students,” she said.

Corbett said a funding request close to home, the second stretch of Route 219, is largely dependent on federal funding and a bill that would increase state transportation funding by more than $2 billion per year.

Corbett has been traveling the state asking lawmakers to compromise and pass the bill, which he says will ensure public safety and boost the economy.

The first stretch of Route 219 from Somerset to Meyersdale was funded by a federal reserve. The estimated cost is $266 million. The second stretch from Meyersdale to Maryland remains unfunded.

“If the transportation bill isn’t passed, I don’t see it happening,” he said.

Somerset County Chamber of Commerce board member Sharon Clapper, of Meyersdale, said she expects the first stretch to have a significant impact on the economy and public safety.

She and her husband, Jon, own Clapper Industries in Meyersdale.

“Over the years, various trucking companies informed my husband that they do not want to travel over Garrett Shortcut,” she said.

She said she expects that with a safer and more direct route, more people will travel down Route 219 south to eat, shop and do business.

By Alyssa Choiniere