State Senator Judy Ward talks the governor run and higher education

November 24 — State Senator Judy Ward joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen this morning on First News to talk about issues around the state.

The group first mentioned the amount of Republican candidate throwing their hats into the ring to be governor of Pennsylvania.

Ward said, “There are a lot of people that have announced their intentions. There’s three possibly a fourth from the Senate that have expressed an interest in running. I think throwing your hat in the ring for political office is about what you can offer as a candidate. I think the public wants candidates that have experience, know and understand government and work to get things done. I think Senator Corman feels he fits the bill. He’s worked with both parties, both chambers in the Capitol to get budgets and other things done, so I think it makes sense that he would throw his hat in the ring. It’s going to be an interesting political season.”

Ryan asked, “Is there any ambition on behalf of State Senator Judy Ward to become Governor Judy Ward?”

Ward said, “I can say with 100 percent certainty there is no ambition for that. I love what I’m doing.”

Jansen added, “I’m just wondering how they’re going to fit all these people on a primary stage for any kind of a debate that we might have.”

Higher education is once again asking for more money. The group was trying to reorganize, find cost savings, consolidating some things, but once again, they need more money.

Ward said, “They’re in crisis right now. We’re talking about the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. We call it PaSSHE. That’s 14 state owned colleges and universities. And obviously in that group, some of them do better, others do worse. Some do better than others with enrollment, with using the dollars that are appropriated. There are six schools, state-owned universities that will begin consolidating. It will be three in the west, three in the northeast. Some of it is fewer people are going to college. The chancellor is saying that other schools outside the state have lower college costs, lower tuition and such and that’s driving people out of state. It’s something that they’re having to get very lean and they are looking at consolidation as part of that. I think in order to get more money, they’re going to have to really tighten their bootstraps.”

Ryan asked, “If they’re having less people attend and there’s consolidation going on, what do they need more money for?”

“Right,” Ward agreed. “Exactly.”

Jansen said, “They got used to government help for a long time, which I always thought was a huge mistake because you get fat and happy with the inflow of government money, cheaper loans for students, which has some benefit, but it also has that downside of that ridiculous expansion and them not paying attention for what are the best programs for students so that they don’t have tons of debt and no job to go to. I always felt like we should hold them to some kind of standard of success and then base how much aide they get based on how they can get their students into productive work after college, but we let go of that standard a long time ago.”

Ward said, “I will say this new chancellor has been very good at recognizing that they need to get leaner and the schools that aren’t doing well, some things have to change and so they are working and consolidating with other universities. I think that’s a good first step, so I do give him a lot of credit.”