JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — In the very location that Democrat Josh Shapiro kicked off his general election campaign just months ago, the gubernatorial candidate joined our Jordan Tracy for an extensive one-on-one interview about the issues facing Pennsylvania.
Just three weeks away from the November 8th general election, inflation remains high and gas prices have begun to rise again. Shapiro says as governor he would work to invest resources into communities like Johnstown.
He explained, “We’re going to put real resources in the main streets across Pennsylvania, including right here in Johnstown. The main street is what is sort of the heart and soul of a community. And they’ve been hollowed out because there hasn’t been real investment for a long time. We’ll make that investment.
One of the plans Shapiro has in addressing the economy is to cut the corporate tax rate down to 4 percent. It’s a plan that not only strays from what people would expect from a democratic candidate but also would cut the tax rate lower and at a faster rate than what has passed in the state budget.
Shapiro detailed, “It’s common sense to think that if we can reduce business taxes for some of our small businesses around here and invest more in workforce. I want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I want to invest in apprenticeship programs. I want to protect the union way of life. We can do those things together. We can strengthen business workforce. We can grow our economy.”
On education, it’s another issue where he may stray from other democrats. He says he supports school choice, but pairs the view with re-enforcing support for public schools.
He explained, “I want to make sure that parents are empowered to put their kids into the best possible position to succeed and if that means a parent putting their kid in a charter school, they should be able to do that. I want to empower parents to put their kids in a position to succeed. Not to undermine our public schools, but to add to them. This should not be a conversation, for public education, that’s either or.”
Shapiro has been heavily critical of his opponent Doug Mastriano’s stance on abortion, a ban at conception with no exceptions. Shapiro says he supports staying with the state’s current law set at 24 weeks unless health is at risk after that point.
He said, “My view is it’s a woman’s right to make that choice free from political interference, whatever choice she makes. It’s not Doug Mastriano’s choice. And what he is posing is a dangerous threat to women across Pennsylvania.”
Sen. Mastriano has been critical of Shapiro’s time as attorney general. He says the AG deserves the blame for rising crime in the state including in metropolitan cities like Philadelphia and smaller communities in Johnstown. We asked if he should bear some responsibility for this rise in crime since the AG is the top prosecutor in the state.
He said, “Recognize, of course, that local police and local district attorneys have primary jurisdiction in communities. But take a look at what we’ve done in Cambria. The arresting of hundreds of drug dealers. Partnering with local law enforcement to do this. And then when we prosecute these cases, getting stiff sentences for those who break the law. I think we need more of that across Pennsylvania, not less.”
We’ve made multiple attempts, offering Senator Mastriano the same interview opportunity. However, we have been declined or have not received a response.