At Podcamp Pittsburgh 4, I just got to meet and speak with Joe Hoeffel who will be running for the governor’s office in Pennsylvania. He is running as a progressive Democratic candidate. I’m not sure what that totally means, but am interested in seeing where he stands on LGBT issues. An aide told me that his website will be up soon.
The aide says that he is pro- anti-discrimination and for LGBT rights, including gay marriage, although I would love to officially confirm that off-the-cuff statement. Due to the current leadership in the state, I questioned him more on state issues than LGBT issues. Our current governator [sic] is seemingly anti-mental health and pro- Philadelphia and LGBT rights.
The first thing I did was ask him if he would do more to promote PA to businesses. I especially am concerned with getting businesses to come back to small towns. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and would love to see more work on that front. People there need fair paying jobs. He actually knew of my hometown, Warren, which I found interesting. It is a great place to hunt, fish, boat, hike, and climb. It’s also the home of the Kinzua Dam and Reservoir which keeps Pittsburgh, among other places from flooding.
My next line of questioning had to do with state run mental health care. My mother worked at a state mental institution for 23 years, so I have become concerned with a few issues like the closing down of the state hospitals. This leaves many people who have serious issues out in the cold. When a state hospital closes, the patients get placed in group homes where they don’t receive quality care. They may also end up being taken care of by relatives who don’t want them and do not know how to treat them mentally or physically. If a patient doesn’t end up in a group home or family home, they will be on the street. Most of those people will end up in the prison system with terrible/no mental health care.
Mental heath care needs to be focused on patient care by trained professionals. Group homes are mostly hire affordable staff with a low ratio of registered nurses or doctors to patients. This leaves them with basically little to no quality care. I propose that we need a standard of care for the mentally ill people who are in group homes. He found that to be an interesting idea and hopes he takes it to heart.
BUT… politics being politics, at the end of the day getting votes is all about baby kissing!