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ROSICA: Who is Shapiro Really Fighting For?

“Throughout his career, Josh has taken on the status quo, brought people together, and fought to keep Pennsylvanians from getting screwed — and that’s exactly what he’ll do as Governor.”

According to his website, Josh Shapiro claims he fought to prevent Pennsylvanians from getting screwed. Whatever you think of his choice of words, let’s think about what that means. How many people suffered during the lockdowns and school closures? How many children failed school, dropped out, and/or committed suicide? How many businesses were forced to close and never reopen due to the current Administration’s failed policies? The numbers are staggering. Shapiro’s definition of “getting screwed” is as off base as his major flip on Gov. Tom Wolf’s response to COVID-19.

As attorney general, Shapiro did not oppose Wolf’s mandates, lockdowns, or closures; and he never spoke out against these policies. That is, until recently. Now, his current story is that the administration in which he played a vital role did not need to enact the mandates and closures.

As attorney general, why did he not push back on the governor rather than actively defending him? As an attorney, he could — and should — have provided guidance and recommendations to the Governor.  Either Shapiro’s advice was not heeded, in which case, he should state that publicly, or Shapiro did not advise the Governor correctly.  Shapiro’s lack of leadership and incompetence led to a Constitutional amendment limiting the power of the Governor and a State Supreme Court decision overturning Wolf’s school mask mandate as unconstitutional. How did Shapiro defend his constituents from this government overreach? Shapiro failed in both preventing Pennsylvanians from getting screwed, and he also failed to advise the Governor and the rest of the administration correctly.

Today, Shapiro states that he does not support mandates, lockdowns, or closures.  He also states that he supports school choice and supports public education, an interesting dichotomy. Shapiro has been supported by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) for almost a decade. In this election cycle, he has received $525,000 from PSEA (his tenth highest overall donation thus far) and $250,000 from the National Education Association.

He is endorsed by both groups who are very much anti-school choice. In a  press release in April prior to Shapiro stating his new position, the PSEA said of House Bill 2169 that “it’s hard to imagine a worse voucher plan than this one.” This is the same legislation that Shapiro has vowed to support on his website: “Josh favors adding choices for parents and educational opportunity for students and funding lifeline scholarships like those approved in other states and introduced in Pennsylvania.”

Supported and endorsed by groups who vehemently oppose school choice, will he hold to his current, newfound position?  Why not?  His own children attend an expensive private school — the same one that he attended as a student — costing between $30 and $37k annually.

Shapiro states that he supports both public education and school choice and that he will not take money from public schools to support choice. What does that plan look like? And if he really supports public schools, why do his own children attend an expensive private school? Once again, Shapiro’s decisions are inconsistent with his words.

On election day, can we trust that the recent Shapiro positions will be the ones he sticks with, or will his allegiance to the teachers’ unions that openly endorse and financially support him win out?

Given that Shapiro has been financially supported by the PSEA since at least 2016 in his run for attorney general, it stands to reason that he will back the union and their positions most of the time. That is what Wolf did when he mandated masks for all K-12 students in the Fall of 2021 — because that is what the PSEA wanted and demanded of him.

Will Shapiro really be any different?

With election day only weeks away, it is incredibly convenient and highly suspect for Shapiro’s platform to take an almost 180-degree turn. Now his position is that the state needed to educate and empower people to make the best decisions for themselves. Where was that attitude over two years ago when Wolf closed schools and businesses and eventually mandated masks for all students? Now he supports school choice and the Lifeline Scholarship legislation when one of his largest and politically active donors is vehemently against it.

Can we trust Shapiro to live up to his newly articulated campaign promises or will he be responsible for ensuring that Pennsylvanians are screwed over for another four years?

This article first appeared in Broad + Liberty.

SCHILLINGER: Survival Mode is Not Sustainable

Across party lines in urban, suburban, and rural communities, we have all suffered as a result of the Wolf and Fetterman administration. The budget has nearly doubled, taxes are higher than ever, businesses are boarded up from unnecessary lockdowns and looters, children are severely behind in academics, and police are left with locking up the same criminals time and time again.

This same administration should also be recognized as one of the worst states in terms of handling the pandemic. It sent COVID-positive patients to nursing homes, shut down businesses, and closed our schools. At the same time, the three most powerful elected officials in Pennsylvania took care of themselves before helping the constituents who elected them to office. The governor granted a special essential business exception for his own cabinet business. The lieutenant governor continues to illegally hang flags outside of the state capitol, and  Attorney General Josh Shapiro stands on the sidelines while allowing this unconstitutional behavior to happen in the executive branch.

Citizens across the commonwealth were so disgusted with the current administration and its handling of the pandemic that two constitutional amendments were passed last year to prevent the governor from acting unilaterally. Despite those amendments, the administration continues to enact illegal policies that are not supported by the Pennsylvania constitution. The administration wasted taxpayer dollars by issuing a statewide mask mandate for all schools and taking it all the way to the state Supreme Court, only to have it struck down.

Regardless of political affiliation, constituents across the state are weary of living in survival mode and weary of this administration. Survival mode is not sustainable nor preferable. While we might not agree with Jeff Bezos on many issues, I fully support one of his quotes and believe that it is the right direction for Pennsylvania: “We can’t be in survival mode. We have to be in growth mode.”

It is well past time to get out of survival mode and move to growth mode in our commonwealth. The good news is we have the chance to make some serious changes in 2022. Elections for the next governor, lieutenant governor, and U.S. senator are on the ballot and should not be taken lightly.

I believe the top five priorities of any candidate should include: Getting everyone, especially parents, back to work; a world-class education for every student regardless of ZIP code; making Pennsylvania the most dynamic economy in the country with good-paying jobs; strong communities where every Pennsylvanians feels safe in their homes and business; and election integrity where voters trust our system, and ballot harvesting is a crime that met with serious punishment.

None of these important issues have been addressed by Democratic attorney general and candidate for governor, Josh Shapiro. Instead, he has identified the following top five priorities if he is elected:  Legalizing marijuana, alleviating student debt, protecting a woman’s right to choose, fighting climate change, and protecting your right to vote.

From my perspective, these priorities are truly unbelievable. As residents across the state scrape pennies to keep up with surging inflation, Shapiro publishes his top five properties that have very little benefit to Pennsylvanians. How can he ask to lead the state when he is unwilling to address the recovery from the pandemic, skyrocketing unemployment, severe learning loss, and a soaring crime rate?

Our beautiful Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is struggling and is in desperate need of elected officials who are unafraid to stand up for me and you.  It cannot be someone who publishes National far leftist agendas on the Pennsylvanians who have been in survival mode for far too long. Pennsylvania needs a leader who understands the real life needs of real people. You have the power to decide the direction of Pennsylvania, and I hope that you will not take it lightly. Let’s get out of survival mode, and allow our parents, children, business owners, and taxpayers to grow and thrive.

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