In front of a capacity crowd this morning for the Urban Affairs Coalition’s Anniversary Breakfast at the Hyatt at the Bellevue, Tom Wolf started by saying he’s a Central Pennsylvania guy. Obviously, we’d heard that a thousand times during his campaign: Wolf, Small Town Man. He even used John Mellencamp as pump-up music at his events.
But in his first public speech here since being elected governor, Wolf transitioned from his rural roots to stressing the importance of cities, Philadelphia in particular.
“This state depends on healthy cities,” he said, “and this state simply doesn’t have healthy cities right now.”
As was his strategy during his campaign, Wolf didn’t exactly delve into specifics for fixing the problems he readily diagnoses. He did say he believed education and fairness were two key components for making cities healthier. And for Philadelphia, he said he wants to improve education and infrastructure as a means to creating an economy with “jobs that actually matter.”
“The net result of all that should be good jobs for citizens of places like Philadelphia,” he said.
Aside from a stint on Ed Rendell’s team as the state secretary of revenue, Wolf has spent most of his working life with his family-owned business. He said one of his focuses in business was equality. Wolf wanted his customers and employees to feel like they were all getting a fair shake, and he said the state needs the same.
“If we want to have a healthy economy in this city and state,” Wolf told the crowd, “we need to understand fairness matters.”