Sometime ago, I wrote a column about Doug Mastriano.
Since that time, Doug has fleshed out his political beliefs and become closely associated with the election denial of Donald Trump, who, as I have made abundantly clear, is a threat to our democracy.
While they were growing up, I told each of my brood that it’s great to be a nice person, just don’t go down a wrong path, and if you do, consider turning around and coming back. Some of Doug’s ideas are more popular here than they are in other places across Pennsylvania. The political truth is that to win an election you have to appeal to the majority of voters, and based on the present polls, Doug is no longer doing so.
Everyone has ideas. But good ideas are what it takes to be elected and to govern.
In the race for governor, Doug Mastriano is running against Josh Shapiro. Yes, I know, the first thing people in south central Pennsylvania think is that Josh is a city liberal ready to take away our guns, increase taxes, force us to be less independent than we are, and worse. I see this in ads being run by and for Doug.
So, as a public service, I have done a bit of independent research. You should as well. Once you cut through the political malarkey, you might discover that labels do not justify the man. Josh turns out to be a legitimately good and caring person, who has proven himself, and has ideas that just might appeal to those of us in our part of Pennsylvania.
More Gindlesperger:Knowing Mastriano and Shapiro, there’s a sharp divide between the Pa. governor candidates
As background, Josh was born in 1973 and spent his childhood on a naval base while his dad worked as a medical officer. Later his family moved to Montgomery County, Pa., where his parents served the community as a pediatrician and an educator.
Josh and his wife have been married since they graduated from college. They lived in Washington while Josh attended Georgetown University Law Center at night, working during the day. After Josh earned his law degree, he and his wife moved to Pennsylvania to raise their family.
Josh was elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 153rd Legislative District in Harrisburg. As state representative, Josh led the way to implementing some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. His work earned him a reputation as a consensus builder. He led negotiations across the aisle to broker a first-of-its-kind agreement to seat a new Speaker of the House, was instrumental in ousting corrupt legislators, and supported legislation to strengthen Pennsylvania’s hate crimes laws, invest in public education, and create clean energy jobs.
To me that sounds like what we would want in a representative.
Josh was elected to lead Montgomery County when a financial mess and a $10 million budget shortfall were discovered. He led a fiscal and ethical turnaround. He took steps to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic, worked to eliminate veteran homelessness, invested in the county’s bridges, roads and trails, reformed the county’s pension system, fired the Wall Street money managers, saved millions and protected seniors’ retirement. By the end of Josh’s tenure, he had replenished the county’s reserve funds, decreased the size of the budget, and put the county on a path back to a AAA bond rating.
Following the arrest of his elected predecessor, Josh was elected Pennsylvania attorney general. True to form, he restored integrity to the office, exposed the Catholic Church’s decades-long cover up of child sexual abuse, arrested more than 6,500 drug dealers, seized 2.5 million doses of heroin and 1.5 million doses of fentanyl, took thousands of illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, and negotiated an agreement that protected health care access for 2 million Pennsylvanians. Josh fought against the Trump administration’s efforts to deny women access to no-cost contraception and essential health care services.
Josh argued and won in front of the U.S. Supreme Court ensuring all legal votes were counted and the result of our safe, secure election was certified in 2020.
Josh has experience assembling coalitions of people necessary to win statewide office. You can see this in fundraising. Doug struggled to raise $4.7 million in campaign funds between Jan. 1 and Sept. 19. Josh raised $49.7 million.
As governor, Josh promises to protect a woman’s right to control her own body. He wants to expand automatic voter registration, continue allowing voting by mail, and make sure your vote counts.
Josh is a strong supporter of public schools. He wants less reliance on standardized tests and more on vocational, technical and computer training in classrooms.
Josh believes in blending Pennsylvania’s energy producing industries with climate action goals. This means allowing natural gas drilling, but not in our state parks like Caledonia and state game lands like Michaux.
Most importantly Josh opposes Doug’s plan to frack for natural gas in state parks like Caledonia. That’s where we get our drinking water!
Josh does not want to take our guns. Rather, he supports responsible gun ownership and police efforts to curtail crime. He recommends universal background checks, closing a loophole that allows people to buy unserialized homemade firearms, and temporary confiscation of firearms from people deemed by a judge to be a risk to themselves or others.
Josh is anti-tax. He wants to eliminate the state’s 11% sales tax on cell phone service. He wants to expand Pennsylvania’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program by using surplus state dollars to pay for the tax plan. And Josh supports further reducing the state’s corporate net income tax. Finally, Josh wants to send a $250 gas tax refund for every personal passenger car registered in Pennsylvania.
But, unlike Doug, Josh supports raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour.
Please do your research on each candidate. What do you really want in a governor?
Bill Gindlesperger is a central Pennsylvanian, Dickinson College graduate, Pennsylvania System Of Higher Education (PASSHE) Governor, Shippensburg University Trustee, and Chairman of eLynxx Solutions. eLynxx software coordinates and drives communication, specifying, approval, procurement or production, reporting and activities necessary to obtaining direct mail, marketing materials, promo and all other printing. He is a board member, campaign advisor, successful entrepreneur, published author and commentator. He can be reached at [email protected]