Mark Smith, a candidate for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, came to State College today to visit the Centre County Democratic Committee office downtown to meet residents and local party members.
“The lieutenant governor office represents a good opportunity for change and to take the office in a new direction and talk about issues that are important,” Smith said.
Smith – the current Bradford County Commissioner – said some of his focuses are education, natural gas and transportation.
Smith said he wants to invest in kindergarten -12 grade education, adult literacy and higher education. Smith also said he would support increased funding for universities such as Penn State.
Gov. Tom Crobett’s 2013 budget includes level higher education funding with no increases or decreases from the previous year, as previously reported.
Smith also discussed his views on natural gas drilling in the state.
“[Bradford County is] one of the number one drilled-in county in the state,” Smith said. “That’s given me a lot of experience with the impacts of the natural gas industry.”
Smith said he has repeatedly come down on the side of the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent environmental damage and infringement on personal properties.
Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said Smith helped create a natural gas taskforce with local business leaders in Bradford to help address concerns about natural gas and the fracking process of gas extraction.
Smith said that the transportation infrastructure in Pennsylvania is suffering from decades of neglect. Rebuilding this infrastucture would help create jobs and make Pennsylvania a better place for business, he said.
Centre County Democratic Committee Chairman Greg Stewart said that Smith, along with other Democratic candidates for state office, would likely be back to State College at least once before the election next May to speak with Penn State students.
“When candidates come to town, they’ll often try to connect with the college democrats,” Stewart said.
The Centre County Republicans, Penn State College Republicans, the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and opposing Democratic primary candidate Brad Koplinski could not be reached for comment by press time.