Teachers, Parents and Students Spotlight School Cuts
By Allison Steele and Julia Terruso
Beaver County Blue via Philly Inquirer
June 10, 2014 – As many as 1,000 protesters, many angry about school funding, blocked traffic and waved signs in Center City on Monday afternoon, hoping to disrupt or at least deflect attention from a fund-raising stop by Govs. Corbett and Christie.
"Our members are here because they’re being mistreated," said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Six people were arrested for obstructing the highway – a summary offense – after sitting down on 17th Street. Police did not use handcuffs as they led them away.
The names of those arrested were not available Monday night, but a statement from the coalition group Fight for Philly identified them as "parents, activists, and retired teachers."
The two Republican governors were scheduled to appear Monday evening at a private fund-raiser hosted by the Republican Governors Association. The association did not release details of the event, including its location.
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools spread the word last week that the fund-raiser was to be held at the Union League, but Corbett campaign spokesman Billy Pitman said that information was inaccurate.
On Monday, the crowd at the Union League began moving after members of the coalition circulated that the men were meeting blocks away at the Comcast Center. There, protesters got no glimpse of either governor.
In recent months, Christie has been traveling the country as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. The group has been Corbett’s biggest contributor in past years – and has given Corbett $1.8 million in his bid for reelection this year, according to records.
"I believe, based upon his record of the past 31/2 years, that Tom Corbett merits my support, and I intend to work hard for him," Christie said during an event earlier Monday in Camden.
Corbett, considered among the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent governors, trails his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, by a 20-point margin, according to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute release last week.
Christie said the deficit was not insurmountable.
"I think it’s far from over," he said. "Plenty of races have had those kind of gaps and have wound up closing."
Last week, Christie attended a private fund-raiser in Pittsburgh with Corbett.
The two also made a stop at a Primanti Bros. restaurant, an appearance that drew dozens of demonstrators – some of whom taunted Christie with chants about the ongoing scandal over traffic closures on the George Washington Bridge last year.
Others targeted Corbett with chants of "One-term Tom" and more. At that event, Christie told reporters that getting Corbett reelected was a top priority.
Monday’s event came a day after Wolf’s appearance at Pride Day, Philadelphia’s annual LGBT parade and festival at Penn’s Landing, during which he talked to voters alongside state Rep. Brian Sims, the state’s first openly gay state representative.