Michael J. Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, has told Media Trackers Pennsylvania he is mulling a run for Lieutenant Governor and will decide by the end of the year.
“I want to help get [Republican Gov.)] Tom Corbett out of there. He is doing a lousy job, not only in education, but for all working families in Pennsylvania,” Crossey, 62, said Monday.
Asked why he wasn’t running for governor if he wants the incumbent beaten, Crossey said, “I couldn’t raise that kind of money and I don’t think of myself as a governor candidate.”
Saying he believes he could bring not only teacher support to the ticket, but “working families of all kinds”, Crossey indicated he felt other public and private unions across the state would support him.
His residence in the Pittsburgh area could also help balance the Democrat ticket if the gubernatorial nominee is from eastern Pennsylvania. The current front runner is Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz of Philadelphia.
Crossey’s term as head of the powerful union representing 180,000 teachers, school employees, and retirees ends of Sept. 1, 2015, but he said if he does run he would take a leave of absence. Pennsylvania’s primary election is scheduled for May 20, 2014.
If Crossey runs and is successful, the former teacher would have to take a substantial pay cut from his current $257,000 annual salary to the lieutenant governor’s compensation of $146,926. Both jobs have outstanding benefit and pension plans.
Corbett is under continual fire from the education community for allegedly cutting pre-K-12 funding, though state tax money for education has increased each year he has been in office. Crossey also referred to Corbett’s cutting $1 billion from education funding, but that was federal stimulus money that disappeared when Corbett succeeded Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell in January 2011.
The PSEA is arguably the most powerful union in the state and contributes millions to state political candidates each election cycle.