Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election campaign received a boost at a firehouse in Hershey from his two most recent Republican predecessors _ despite an alarm that sounded midway through the festivities.
Former Govs. Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker joined Corbett, as well as Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, on the seventh day of Corbett's re-election campaign announcements.
Some of the Hershey Station 48 firemen flanking the politicians during the news conference quietly but quickly broke ranks and swapped their dress uniforms for firefighting gear. It turned out to be a false automatic alarm at a local church, Chief Pat Leonard said.
About 50 party faithful cheered and applauded as Ridge and Schweiker praised the governor.
"I love the theme _ less taxes, more jobs,'' Ridge said repeatedly of Corbett's campaign motto.
Ridge hailed Corbett as "a leader in crisis'' who "inherited'' problems of a state budget deficit and a recession-battered economy when he took office in 2011. He said Corbett cut spending to balance the budget while increasing funding for education and technology more recently.
Voters "expected him to make tough decisions. He did,'' Ridge said.
Corbett is struggling to turn around stubbornly low job-approval ratings in independent polls, but has been unable to deliver any of his top three priorities in the Legislature _ a transportation funding plan, an overhaul of state pension funds and the privatization of liquor and wine sales.
Schweiker, Ridge's lieutenant governor who served out the last 15 months of Ridge's tenure after President Bush appointed him as national homeland security chief, said Corbett's record is solid.
This race is just beginning,'' Schweiker said. "It's how you finish'' that counts.