Wolf’s Cabinet Visits Campus Ahead of Elections

Shane Shuma ’22, Staff Writer

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is up for re-election this November and members of his cabinet came to campus to present at an event sparsely attended by Dickinson students.

Instead, local representatives and interested community members comprised the group of attendees in the Anita Tuvin Schlecter Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 11.

“I learn a lot from these events,” said one member of the cabinet, Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. 

Also presenting was Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Jennifer Smith, Secretary of Agriculture Russel Redding and Secretary of the Department of Human Services Teresa Miller.

Each cabinet member had a platform to discuss their work.

Smith discussed the opioid crisis, noting that “the opioid thing has really consumed our department and we have received two 26.5 million grants in funding from the federal government.” She said that the opioid epidemic was one of the main concerns of the administration and that because the DDAP has only 65 employees it is important that they work with other departments and agencies. 

Rivera talked about his goal to ensure quality education to 1.74 million school age students in Pennsylvania in over 500 school districts.

Altman oversees insurance companies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and makes sure they are compliant with state laws. Pennsylvania has the 5th largest insurance market in the United States. “In 2017 alone, my department answered 13,000 emails [and] 41,000 phone calls in complaints from consumers,” said Altman.

Redding discussed agriculture in the context of trade deals with Canada and Mexico. He went on to discuss climate, stating that Pennsylvania has received 30 to 40 more inches of rain than expected so far this year. 

Miller introduced herself by talking about the Wolf administration’s priority to expand healthcare access. She also talked about a need for a new style of healthcare. “We focus a lot on sick care, but we are not focusing on getting and keeping people healthy… We must address other issues that affect people’s health,” she said. “We need to be thinking globally about people’s health. We know that people’s health is affected by more than what goes on in the doctor’s office.”

After 25 minutes the group answered questions from attendees.