What remains of the Governor Ed Rendell years, comes down to countable hours, as of Sunday, the score stands at two-and-a-half days. Rendell told Rock The Capital last week that what he wants most, is to be remembered as the education governor.
No one can deny that his policies lifted test scores and gave learning disabled kids a better opportunity to find success. In fact, walking out the door, his overriding concern is that the progress Pennsylvania has made, much of it verifiable, will be lost. Lost,to a still-recovering economy, and a new administration.
Rock The Capital Co-Founder Eric Epstein is quoted in the Philadelphia Enquirer as saying,”it’s going to take time for the dust to settle to evaluate his impact. Over the years, Epstein became disenfranchised with Rendell, “But I think it’s fair to say that he excelled at the four Es: education, energy, the environment – and Ed.”
Rendell’s presence in Harrisburg was large, large in a physical sense, large in vision, large in ego, and large in understanding how to capitalize on his strengths, but also his weaknesses.
His biggest gamble is paying off handsomely for Pennsylvania the legalization of gambling, against a too of odds in 2004, now brings in upwards of about $1 billion a year. Sure it has created problems (easier access to becoming a compulsive gambler), but it also reduced property taxes.
His biggest gaffe, signing off on the pay raise in 2005, which he regrets. It cost him a chunk of political capital, and it certainly derailed his agenda. “He was just all over the place,” Epstein told the Inquirer. “It seemed to me that he lost steam – although he found plenty of time for appearances on] TV and to campaign for Hillary Clinton.”
Rendell’s career in politics has lasted for more than three decades and he will be the first to tell you, he wishes he could turn the clock back.
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