Jim Gardner One-on-One with Gov. Tom Wolf

EMBED </>More News Videos

Jim Gardner sits down one-on-one with newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

Newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is already making headlines.

Gov. Wolf has infuriated district attorney's like Philadelphia's Seth Williams for placing a moratorium on the death penalty, at least until a legislative report comes back examining how capital punishment is implemented in Pennsylvania.

However for certain people this is an intensely personal issue.

What does Gov. Wolf say to the families of crime victims who see this as almost an assault on their ability to find closure?

"Closure is one of the things that we don't get with the current system. It's decades, in some cases, before the appeal process is exhausted. And it seems to me, I'm not a physiologist - but, at the same speed, that's not a really good way to get closure. So if it's closure that you want, I don't understand how the current death penalty system actually gives any victims' families that," said Wolf.

Gov. Wolf has proposed a massive tax distribution plan to raise money for schools.

His plan includes raising income in sales taxes, taxing companies that extract natural gas from Marcellus Shale and lowering property taxes. He says this will produce an extra $1 billion for education.

During the campaign, Gov. Wolf said he was against a sales tax increase because it places an unfair burden on low income citizens.

"I thought that we ought to be very careful about the sales tax increase, because of all the taxes, it has a regressive nature to it. But I also heard that a really unfair part of our tax system right now is the way we raise money for public education - too much of it rests on the shoulders of property tax payers. I listened and that's what I heard and I think that my overall proposal, holistically, including a new tax - the severance tax - which most Pennsylvanians seem to want, I think my proposal overall is something that the people of Pennsylvania should like," said Wolf.

Wolf is a Democratic governor. Both houses of the legislature in Harrisburg are Republican controlled and one might suspect that the stage is set for continued gridlock in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

How does he plan to overcome that?

"I keep saying this - I think people voted for divided government. Clearly they voted for a Democratic governor, Republican senate and house but they didn't vote for gridlock. And I don't think people like what they see in Washington and I don't think they want that in Harrisburg and I don't think any of us in Harrisburg want that. I think we all recognize that that is part of what's causing the distrust - just part of it. There's a lot of things but you're right people just don't rust their government," said Gov. Wolf.

So what can he do to overcome that and to eliminate that distrust?

"I think what I can do is behave ethically," said Wolf

As for Republicans, party leaders say Golf Wolf's budget and education plan isn't going anywhere unless he aligns with their version of pension reform - something that's unlikely to happen.

EMBED More News Videos

Jim Gardner sits down one-on-one with newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.



Switching gears, we also got more personal and spoke with Gov. Wolf about his life.

From the campaign, we've come to know about the most famous jeep in Pennsylvania, and we've seen Wolf creating and rescuing his company.

However most of us haven't seen Wolf as an adolescent with a shock of dark hair, or the future college javelin thrower playing hoops in his Mount Wolf backyard.

See photos of Gov. Wolf through the years.


Wolf was actually something of a jock in college - and then came a decision that really changed his life.

He was an undergraduate at Dartmouth College and he interrupted his studies to go to the Peace Corp.

What did he learn with that experience that would make him a better governor today?

"Actually I think it made me a better human being. I'm not good at a lot of things but you're by yourself in a remote village in India and things happen that have never happened to you in your life. You learn that life is interesting, it has a lot of challenges, throws a lot of things at you and you have to do some bobbing and weaving. And I think those are the things that have helped me throughout my life. There wasn't anything that really just floored me and I just said, 'I really can't do that - I'll figure something out,'" said Wolf.

What was the most important day of his life?

"Well there were a couple. First my marriage - the personal things are most important," said Wolf.

What does he remember about his wedding day?

"I remember a lot. I remember marrying the love of my life. And we're still married - we'll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in June. That was one of the best days of my life. Another one of the best days were the two days my daughters were born. Those are the important things and the rest of the stuff - you do your best, you work hard and you try to do everything you said you were going to do but what's really important is your family," said Wolf

Finally, we asked what Gov. Wolf thought should keep him from being reelected.

"If I don't make Pennsylvania the kind of place that's a magnet for entrepreneurs, where good family sustaining jobs are being created left and right, where schools are on the road to working. If we're not making progress toward that kind of Pennsylvania then I don't' deserve to be reelected," said Wolf.

View the full one-on-one interview with Gov. Tom Wolf
Related Topics:
politicsJim Gardner One on Onepa. newspennsylvania politicspoliticstom wolfgov. tom wolf
(Copyright ©2017 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments