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Gubernatorial election 2 years off has candidate

HARRISBURG — Former state environmental protection chief John Hanger on Wednesday became the first declared candidate for governor in an election nearly two years away, vowing to boost spending for education and to tax natural-gas production.

Mr. Hanger announced his candidacy for the 2014 Democratic nomination at Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market and planned to ride in a school bus to the Capitol for a similar news conference. He also planned to visit Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The 55-year-old Mr. Hanger touted his record as a state utility regulator and the Rendell administration’s environmental protection secretary. He laced his speech with attacks on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who plans to seek re-election.

“Tom Corbett’s politics are damaging Pennsylvania’s schools, our economy and our future,” he said in prepared remarks. “The governor is sincere in his beliefs, but he must be a one-term governor for the good of the commonwealth.”

Mr. Hanger vowed to make education the top priority for state funding and to end Pennsylvania’s status as the only major natural-gas-producing state that does not tax production, but he warned that gas alone “will never create prosperity” for the state.

“I will develop all our energy resources, including wind, solar and energy efficiency,” he said. “Saving energy remains the cheapest and cleanest energy resource available.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports