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PSEA-PACE recommended statewide candidates

Pennsylvania this year, there are important elections for state attorney general, treasurer, and auditor general. The PSEA members who make up PSEA-PACE have recommended candidates who are committed to supporting public education, quality health care, and the rights of working people and their families.

This is who they are, what they do, and what they stand for on key issues that matter to PSEA members.

Josh Shapiro for attorney general

The position: The Pennsylvania attorney general is an independent legal watchdog over state government who prosecutes organized crime and public corruption on behalf of the
commonwealth, conducts civil litigation on behalf of many commonwealth agencies, enforces laws related to consumer protection and charities, and reviews rules and regulations proposed by commonwealth agencies including the Department of Education.

In addition, the attorney general defends the constitutionality of commonwealth statutes and also serves ex officio as a member of several state boards and commissions.

Why PACE recommends Josh Shapiro
Since he was elected attorney general in 2016, Shapiro has been a state and national leader on key law enforcement issues, has spearheaded efforts to make Pennsylvania’s schools safer, and has ensured that the attorney general’s office is independent and focused on its mission to serve as the state’s top law enforcement officer.

  • Key goals for a second term. Continue to stand up for the rights, health, and safety of all Pennsylvanians; battle special interests, defend workers’ rights, and stand up for consumers; and hold corrupt elected officials accountable for their actions.
  • On public education. Continue to support Gov. Wolf’s work to fund Pennsylvania’s schools, continue to develop the successful Safe2Say Something program, which has received more than 40,000 anonymous school safety tips since 2019, and help educators and support professionals to secure a seat at the table while schools implement safety programs.
  • On tuition vouchers. Oppose any attempts to siphon already-scarce resources from public schools and focus on giving public schools the funding and tools they need to succeed for all studen

Joe Torsella for state treasurer

The position: The Pennsylvania state treasurer safeguards the commonwealth’s funds, including both their receipt and payment, and oversees commonwealth investments, investigates loss or fraud involving commonwealth funds, reviews and approves the commonwealth’s real property leases and sole source contracts, and publishes commonwealth financial information and contracts so they are available for public access.
The state treasurer also serves on many state boards on behalf of the Department of the Treasury.

Why PACE recommends Joe Torsella
First elected treasurer in 2016 to lead Pennsylvania’s investment programs and act as Pennsylvania’s chief fiduciary, Torsella has demonstrated a commitment to public education, a passion for fair school funding, and a dedication to protecting the pensions of educators and support professionals who rely on PSERS for their retirement security.

  • Key goals for a second term. Restore trust and integrity to an office that has too often been tainted by scandal; be a good fiscal watchdog on behalf of the taxpayers and beneficiaries of state funds; and create more economic opportunity for more Pennsylvanians.
  • On public school funding. Promote the idea that every student deserves a good education, regardless of ZIP code, and that state government should direct more state funding to public education and increase the use of the fair funding formula to promote both adequacy and equity in public schools.
  • On pensions and retirement security. Recognize that generations of public school employees have worked hard for the good of Pennsylvania and make sure the retirement benefits they are owed will be there for them.

Nina Ahmad for state auditor general

The position:The Pennsylvania auditor general conducts audits to ensure that commonwealth funds, as well as federal funds received by the commonwealth, are used properly and as permitted by law. Importantly for PSEA-PACE, the auditor general also audits the budgets of school districts, charter schools, intermediate units, and area career and technical centers.

Through conducting these audits, the auditor general may uncover violations of law or regulations which would be referred to appropriate authorities for enforcement. In addition, the auditor general reviews whether school staff are properly certified for their positions. With respect to higher education, the auditor general audits the budgets of state-related and state-owned universities. The auditor general also conducts performance audits of programs administered by state agencies, including the proper usage and management of funds appropriated for certain purposes.
Based on the auditor general’s findings through these audits, he or she also recommends changes to law and policy.

Why PACE recommends Nina Ahmad
Running for statewide office for the first time, Ahmad plans to be an aggressive leader for progressive change. A refugee from war-torn Bangladesh, scholar with a Ph.D. in Chemistry, and a former Philadelphia City deputy mayor, she will bring unique and diverse experiences and qualifications to the office.

  • Key goals for a first term. Position the auditor general’s office as a powerful tool for progressive change; fight to deliver real results for equity, accountability, and transparency; and ensure that all tax dollars are spent with integrity and efficiency.
  • On public education. Recognize that Pennsylvania’s students are best served by a public education system that is adequately and equitably funded and that the state should increase its share of education funding and reform standardized testing to move away from “teaching to the test.”
  • On auditing school finances. Utilize performance auditing to assess whether financial decisions support both school district and state goals for student achievement and the effective and efficient operation of school programs and projects.