Sep. 10—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Republican Party gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Doug Mastriano rattled off a lengthy list of what his conservative first-day priorities would be, if elected, during a rally on Friday afternoon in Richland Township.
Speaking broadly at Solomon Run Banquet Hall, Mastriano, a retired Army colonel from Franklin County, said he wants to "change the tone" from the current administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
He mentioned energy development as a point of emphasis, saying Pennsylvania should not be in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based, cap-and-trade program with the goal of reducing emissions.
"We're going to drill and dig like there's no tomorrow," Mastriano said. "It's going to be beautiful. Don't believe the left-wing narrative. We're going to do it responsibly because, actually, we are out there fishing and hunting and camping more than the snowflakes in Harrisburg. We don't want polluted streams."
He opposed many mitigation steps taken during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, adding that "all masking and COVID jab requirements will be forever wiped away" if he becomes governor.
Regarding gender issues, Mastriano said, "On Day One, no more boys on the girls team, simple as that."
Mastriano said he would work to send special prosecutors into high-crime areas, prohibit teaching of critical race theory in schools, reduce regulations and eliminate sanctuary cities, stating that "illegals are not welcome."
"The future of our country's up to us now," Mastriano said, "and we are at a crossroads. We hear so often, 'This election is the most important,' and every election is critical, but we really are at a crossroads now."
Many topics not addressed
Mastriano did not take questions from the press before or after his speech, so many subjects were not addressed, including his presence in Washington, D.C., on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, along with his paying to bus people to former President Donald Trump's rally that day.
Mastriano has also promoted claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and paid for advertising on Gab, a social media platform founded by a person who said his goal is to form a "Christian nationalist" society.
"He is (a) radical who aligns himself with far-right extremists groups," Cambria County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nina Licastro texted. "He paid for ... busses to travel to Washington D.C. on January 6th. Col. Mastriano watched as the Capitol was under siege and he did nothing, as gallows were placed directly outside the halls of Congress, he did nothing, as people in the crowd shouted for Vice President (Mike) Pence's head, he did nothing. He broke his oath to protect our country."
There was no opportunity to ask Mastriano about policy issues either. For example, he opposes abortion without exceptions.
"Doug talks about freedoms but wants to take away rights from anyone that he does not agree with," Licastro said. "He has publicly stated that if elected he would not allow women (to) make their own reproductive health choices including women and children who have been raped."
Mastriano spent a portion of his speech attempting to label his opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, as an extremist.
"Josh Shapiro was there to back up this guy Wolf, and defend the failed policies, and the corruption and the Orwellian approach," Mastriano said. "Shapiro backed every single policy. He stood aside from the people of Pennsylvania."
Manuel Bonder, a Shapiro campaign spokesman, described Mastriano as "the most extreme candidate in Pennsylvania history" in a statement sent to The Tribune-Democrat. Bonder added that "he's focused on all the wrong things — like banning abortion with no exceptions and throwing out Pennsylvanians' votes to pick the winner of the next election himself."
Bonder described Shapiro as having "a proven track record of delivering for Pennsylvanians."
"The contrast could not be more clear, and we will continue traveling across the Commonwealth and bringing Democrats, Republicans, and Independents together to win this race and build a better future for all Pennsylvanians," Bonder wrote in an email.
There are now almost 8,000 more registered Republicans in Cambria County than there are Democrats, a major change from years ago when the Democrats held a two-to-one advantage.
"Moderate Democrats, the Democrat Party's left you behind. ... This used to be a solidly strong Democratic county, and the Democrat Party's left the people of Cambria behind," Mastriano said, "so this is an incredible transformation we're seeing here."
When describing what positions Republicans support, U.S. Rep. Dr. John Joyce, R-Blair, listed the right to worship, peace through strength, the Second Amendment and parents making personal choices regarding their children's education.
"We stand for the rights to legislate under the guidance of biblical principles, under the guidance of the Constitution," Joyce said, speaking before Mastriano. "We stand for the freedoms that our forefathers set forth. We don't look to change the Constitution. We look to maintain those constitutional freedoms. We look to walk as a free people."
Cambria County Republican Party Chairwoman Jackie Kulback called on people in the room to support Mastriano and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.
"It's on us to drive up the numbers because we'll have a big battle in the southeast, so it's up to counties like Cambria to get the voters out to the polls. ... We want to get them to the polls, and we want them to vote Republican up and down the ballot," Kulback said. "Can you help me? You know, it's all about getting Doug Mastriano and Dr. Oz elected. They are going to be the wall that we need to protect us from the craziness that's going on out in the world."