Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has been very vocal about many issues involving African Americans in recent weeks.
Wolf pushed for Meek Mill‘s prison release and has partnered with the rapper to advocate for criminal justice reform, WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, reported. He warned that businesses were subject to anti-discrimination laws after a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the cops on two Black men who were only sitting at a table. In addition, the governor recently voiced his concerns over the racial profiling faced by several Black women golfers who also had police called on them at a golf club in York, Pennsylvania.
Wolf, a Democrat, has called for the state’s human relations commission to investigate the golf incident, ABC 27 reported.
“[The state] must be committed to protecting individuals from discrimination,” and allegations “must not be tolerated,” Wolf, who Barack Obama campaigned for to win the PA governor’s office in November 2014, wrote in a letter issued to Pennsylvania’s Human Rights Commission Friday.
The governor has also spoken out in support of Medicaid expansion, an issue affecting millions of African Americans.
Wolf’s public statements on matters affecting Black people have been made just as the state is preparing to vote if he will be re-elected in November. The Republican challengers are trying to win the gubernatorial nomination to challenge Wolf in a May 15 primary election.
Also, Wolf’s statements were delivered as Democrats have lost support with Black voters and have been forced to make significant efforts to get them back in the fold.
Considering the timing of the upcoming gubernatorial election and circumstances facing Democrats, Wolf’s statements could work in his and his party’s political favor. The statements may prove that Wolf is trying to be a voice that speaks out for Black Americans as well as help him win sway with Black voters. However, he doesn’t have all Black supporters on his side.
His track record with the Black community has not been squeaky clean. Two Democratic gubernatorial challengers who ran against him in the 2014 primary called Wolf out for his role as chairman in the 2001 re-election campaign of then-York, PA. Mayor Charlie Robertson. The former York mayor was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a Black woman during the city’s 1969 race riots, Penn Live reported.
What is clearest is that Wolf has had support from big names in the Black community. Voters will likely weigh that support, as well as more research about him, before they make a decision to re-elect him or not.