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West Chester Elementary School Trains Kindergarten Teachers in Gender Curriculum

A ‘woke’ curriculum complete with transgenderism, Critical Race Theory, and an emphasis on drag queen performances rather than reading, writing, and arithmetic has permeated some Delaware Valley public school districts.

It has also become a hot-button issue in the governor’s race.

“Schools should be teaching children how to think, not what to think,” said state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor. “Sadly, classrooms across Pennsylvania have turned into indoctrination facilities that are pushing radicalism on young kids.

“As governor, I will place an immediate ban on Critical Race and Gender Theory Studies in Pennsylvania schools on my first day in office. Unlike my opponent — who has been endorsed by groups who support irreversible medical transitioning of kids — I will protect young girls by ensuring that biological males are not allowed to use girls’ locker rooms. As your governor, I will put an end to the era of radical indoctrination of children once and for all,” Mastriano said.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro declined to comment for this article.

Part of the gender awareness curriculum

However, as attorney general, he signed an amicus brief in support of “transgender rights” to allow biological boys to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in Virginia. He also opposed a Pennsylvania bill, vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), which would have prevented biological males from competing in girls’ sports.

And while Mastriano opposes obscene books in school libraries, Shapiro said, “I don’t want the politicians in Harrisburg telling my kids what books they’re allowed to read.”

But even as education becomes a cudgel in Pennsylvania politics, another program for kids as young as 5 years old has come to light.

Documents released through a right-to-know request and first reported by the Daily Caller show teachers at Fern Hill Elementary in the West Chester Area School District went to a training session about how to talk to children as young as kindergarteners about being transgender.

The materials also include a warning to keep children’s gender secret if they prefer: “Also, remember student privacy—it can jeopardize a student’s safety and well-being if they are outed by their peers or non-affirming adults.”

Some of the bullet points in the presentation were: “Moving beyond boys and girls, explaining what gay means, using picture books to challenge gender limits,” and “responding to concerned parents.”

Other topics included “gender inclusive classrooms” and “tackling bullying.”

The discussion included several books for kindergarten and up, including “Jacob’s New Dress,” and discussed with the children what pronouns the character Jacob uses.

The training includes, “Let your students know that there are lots of different ways that children can dress. There are lots of ways to be a boy or a girl or both or neither. Also, “home and school can be different. Here at school, students can wear whatever makes them happy.”

Another book, “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” talks about a crayon labeled “red” but is blue.

According to the materials, the teachers were also taught to use children’s preferred pronouns and teach children to use preferred pronouns.

Yael Levin, a spokesperson for No Left Turn in Education, a nonprofit that opposes student indoctrination, called the curriculum “disturbing.”

“Elementary schools serve children ages 5 -11. Elementary education should consist of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, and as much play time as possible. Children in that age range do not need to learn about sexuality and gender identity or expression. We should not be having these discussions at all as a society with children. If parents want to discuss these topics with their children, then they can do that. Generally, children in that age range are not even thinking of life and their friends in those terms.

“Why are we bringing such topics to the forefront of elementary school education? Especially considering how behind our children are due to the unnecessary COVID school shutdowns. We must get back to basics. Parents in West Chester and across Pennsylvania and the nation must demand that their public schools focus on academics. We have to be competitive in this global market. The USA is now ranked 30th in math out of 79 countries, while our spending per student is among the highest in the world and increases every year,” she said.

“It’s time for parents to demand a top-notch education for their children. On top of the poor performance and the learning loss, this particular training (and we have seen this in other trainings as well) mentions evaluating students based on their use of the term gender expression and their understanding of the meaning of the word,” said Levin. “It also references assessing students on their behavior around gender expression – if they are behaving like allies or not. This is reminiscent of a social credit system such as is used in China. This is not compatible with a constitutional republic.”

However, the school district defended the teacher training.

“The West Chester Area School District is continuously looking to improve our ability to provide supportive, welcoming environments for our students and families,” said Molly Schwemler, manager of district communication. “The training at Fern Hill Elementary School focused on developing staff awareness and understanding of gender-based information. The training was not focused on sharing the many elements of transgenderism with students, rather it shared additional ways that our staff can create an environment where all students can achieve their best and where all families feel welcome, valued, and respected.”

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Mastriano’s New ‘Hard to Watch” Ad Targets Parents

Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano is hoping a groundswell of angry parents will sweep him over the finish line.

Mastriano has seized on the issue of the sexualization of public school children and centered a new digital ad “Hard to Watch” on it, using events in schools in Montgomery and Chester Counties to illustrate the problem. He said it is a disturbing trend that his Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro supports.

The Mastriano video includes a Delaware Valley Journal article about obscene books in school libraries. And it mentions a lawsuit filed in court by Malvern mother Fenicia Redman to get those books removed from the Great Valley High School library. Her son is a student at that school.

Asked to comment about the ad, Redman told Delaware Valley Journal, “Sen. Mastriano and Pennsylvania parents see the extremist government actors who’ve held our children hostage and robbed them of their innocence. We’re coming to free our children!”

The ad also mentions a Montgomery County kindergarten class where children were required to read books about transsexuals because one student identified as their non-biological gender. That incident came from an anonymous tip to the senator’s office.

 

Republican political consultant Charlie O’Neill said, “The issues Mastriano is talking about in this ad are definitely issues he can win. But this ad is way too long to have an impact. Across the nation, parental rights have had a major impact on elections. If Mastriano is able to harness that energy in places like the Philadelphia suburbs it could be the boost he needs. However, the election is rapidly approaching, so his campaign better hope it’s not too late.”

For example, the parental rights issue was a big reason Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia after the Democrat famously said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

The Shapiro campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

However, in a television interview Shapiro said that when Mastriano calls for restricting classroom content it contradicts his campaign pitch of freedom. “Walk as free people,” is one of Mastriano’s slogans.

“It’s not freedom when they tell our children what books they can read,” Shapiro said.

As Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Shapiro filed an amicus brief opposing Virginia’s moves to ban biological boys from using girls’ restrooms in schools.

Another parent who is a Mastriano supporter, Jamie Cohen Walker, said she supports him because he will keep the schools open. Children have been harmed by mandatory school closures, losing out on learning and becoming lonely and isolated.

“We knew that keeping kids out of school would harm them, so we fought, and we fought extremely hard because the Democratic politicians and their allies, the teachers union, made us their enemy,” Walker said.

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Bucks County Mom Beat Shapiro in Court. Now She’s Fighting to Elect Mastriano.

Jamie Cohen Walker is the Bucks County mom who beat Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the state Supreme Court.

The Chalfont resident, a former certified reading specialist, is now a stay-at-home mom to her 16, 14, and 11-year-old children. During the COVID-19 classroom lockdowns, she was active in the Reopen Bucks movement to get kids back in school.

She says she is a politically moderate former Democrat, but she may be a model of the “mama bear” voter Republicans need to win in this year’s midterms.

“I’m Jewish. I was a Democrat. I would not be a Democrat now. I don’t think I could do it after seeing what they’ve done to our kids,” said Walker, a guest speaker at a recent rally for GOP gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Political consultant Albert Eisenberg of RedStateBlue, said, “Suburban, college-educated women have been up for grabs since the GOP transitioned from the party of Romney to the party of Trump. But now the Republican Party is in its post-Trump era and many of these moms are returning to the fold.

“They are seeing de facto Democratic policies of absolute radicalism — people who genuinely believe parents should have no say in their child’s education, people who are still forcing toddlers to wear masks, which is completely inhumane,” said Eisenberg. “Adding to this sharp left turn of the Democrats is the skyrocketing cost of living and eroding value of a dollar due to the Democrats’ insane economic policies — and the suburbs are certainly coming back, in places, to the GOP this cycle.”

Since the 2021 school board elections brought a conservative majority to the Central Bucks School Board, Walker said she is not concerned that the board would agree to shut down the schools again in case another epidemic happens.

But if Shapiro is elected governor, that’s another story.

“If Josh Shapiro wins, could he shut down schools? Absolutely. The only thing that would shut down schools is a governor’s emergency. Our (school) board is really good now, so they would not shut down schools. And our health director would not shut down schools.

“But Josh Shapiro could shut down schools. Absolutely. He fought to keep them closed,” said Walker.

Walker is one of the right-to-know warriors battling the school district for information about how it made decisions about COVID-related closings and mask mandates and finding out through a trove of emails that the district had kowtowed to teachers’ union demands.

“I won my first right-to-know appeal in January 2021. The district said it would give me all the records except three emails and took me to court,” Walker said. “That was when (attorney) Chad Schmee reached out to me and said, ‘I can win these records for you.’”

After Walker won, Supt. Dr. John Kopicki “just up and disappeared,” said Walker.  “The superintendent of the largest district in Pennsylvania decided to leave in March 2021. As soon as he left, I received my emails.”

“We have a local health department,” said Walker. “Dr. David Damsker is our health director.  When you have a local health department, they determine the mitigation for something. Also, a mask is actually a modified quarantine.

She points to an “email that Dr. Damsker wrote to all (Bucks) superintendents telling them you don’t have to be hybrid,” said Walker. “Every child can be in school. You don’t have the authority to do this. They broke the law. They did not have the authority.

“And Dr. Damsker said if you’re wearing a mask (when exposed to someone with COVID), you don’t have to stay home and quarantine,” said Walker. “But our school district wasn’t doing that. Our school district was sending healthy kids home. That was against the law, too.

“No one ever wrote about it. No one ever questioned it. They kept 1,100 kids home that were considered contacts, and no one was getting sick. They weren’t consulting the health department. They were just doing it on their own,” she said. “I don’t think people understand what they did to children. They missed so much school,” she said.

“In June 2021, Dr. Damsker came to our school district and said the kids don’t have to wear masks anymore, and we’re going to treat COVID like the flu and move on from COVID. Well, a lot went down in August.”

On Aug. 31, 2021, former state Health Director Alison Beam required school students and staff to wear masks again.

“So Central Bucks already started, and everybody was normal, all the kids were back to school normal,” said Walker. “So they said on Sept. 7, all the kids had to start wearing masks again.”

Beam put the “illegal mask mandate in, and I joined a few other parents to sue Allison Beam. It was Josh Shapiro who defended it, his office. We won in Commonwealth Court,” she said, but then Shapiro appealed to the state Supreme Court. “And we won. We beat him in the Supreme Court.”

Then in December, Beam resigned.

“Our health director (Damsker) put out health guidance on Aug. 15, then Alison Beam and the teachers’ union pressured our county commissioners to change the health guidance, then nobody ever heard from our health director again.”

“It’s really bad what went on here,” she said. “Some of the Democratic people hated Dr. Damsker. There were Facebook groups about him, ‘Ditch Dr. Damsker.’ They did such horrible things to him.”

At the Mastriano rally, Walker said, “Here in Bucks County, we saw first-hand how Democrats were willing to use COVID-19 as a political tool to strip away our personal freedom and exert their will over us. We watched our health director was silenced by Democrat bosses when the Wolf administration did not agree with his health guidance. They interfered with our health director’s legal authority to set health guidance during a pandemic. We lived with the effect of that illegal interference for two painful years. A group of us parents stood in their way. We acted as the opposition to the Wolf administration’s mandates.

“We knew that keeping kids out of school would harm them, so we fought, and we fought extremely hard because the Democratic politicians and their allies, the teachers union, made us their enemy,” she said. The parents were called “domestic terrorists” and “jerks.”

“They weaponized the government against us,” Walker said.

Walker and another parent, Megan Brock, are in a legal battle with Bucks County over their right-to-know request about how the county issued its health directives, bypassing Damsker. The county sued the two moms to keep some of the commissioners’ emails private after Walker and Brock won an appeal to the state Office of Open Records.

“After decades of Republican control of Bucks County, these Democrat commissioners are the first Bucks County administration ever to sue a private citizen to hide their emails, their own words,” said Walker. “Those emails they’re trying to hide from us are about how Democrat politicians interfered with our children’s education.”

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Update: Large Mastriano Sign Vandalized in Kennett Township

For years, Geoff Gamble allowed the Republican Party to put campaign signs on a triangle of land he owns at the busy intersection of Kaolin, Chandler’s Mill, and Bucktow roads in Kennett Township.

This year there was a problem.

A large, four-foot-by-eight-foot sign valued at $300 promoting GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano was recently vandalized.

“It was an expensive sign,” said Gamble, a Republican and a Kennett Township supervisor. “For 36 years we’ve let the Republicans put signs there. The Democrats usually put their signs across the street. The only other time there was trouble was when former President Trump ran.

“People who didn’t like him destroyed the sign once or twice but it wasn’t a huge sign,” he said.  And once, one of Gamble’s supporters took down a sign that belonged to an opponent and he told her to put it back. “I find that reprehensible,” he said.

“That’s just not the way you convince the public to vote for you,” said Gamble.

When the large Mastriano sign was installed, Eric Matuszak, vice chair of the local Democratic committee complained to the township, said William R. Borton, Republican Area 17 vice chair and a Kennett Township committeeman.

However, township police checked and found the sign did not block drivers’ views and permitted it to stay on the triangle.

Shortly afterward, vandals destroyed it.

Gamble wrote to Mutuszak, “So I guess that if you cannot get rid of signs lawfully, the next action in your playbook is to have one of your associates vandalize it?  Whoever did this is guilty of trespass and destruction of private property. I consider such activity shameful and juvenile, and it contributes to the crime and lawlessness currently plaguing our commonwealth and our country.”

In an email to Gamble, Matuszak denied that he caused the vandalism.

“I had nothing to do with this wanton example of vandalism.  Maybe there shouldn’t have been a large TARGET on the banner, perhaps? Exercising my First Amendment Rights.”

Matuszak did not respond to the Delaware Valley Journal’s request for comment.

Borton said that when the GOP replaces the sign, it will include lights and cameras to catch anyone who might try to vandalize it again.

In the meantime, Gamble said, Democrats had the audacity to put signs for Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman in the same spot that once held the damaged Doug Mastriano sign. He removed them.

 

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Mastriano Campaign Begins Airing TV Commercials This Week

Better late than never.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial campaign has been hammering opponent state, Sen. Doug Mastriano, with television ads for months. Shapiro has spent a whopping $34.6 million saturating the airwaves with commercials. On Tuesday came news Mastriano’s campaign was finally going on the air with its own ads.

The Mastriano campaign announced it will be spending $1 million on television commercials and online ads this week. It is Mastriano’s first TV spot of the election cycle, including the GOP primary. He has only spent $419,000 on advertising in the general election so far, according to AdImpact Politics.

“It’s never too late to share your message, but the ad disparity between Shapiro and Mastriano is eye-popping,” said Charlie O’Neill, a Republican political consultant. “The reality is, during the primary, Republicans were warned this would likely happen with a Mastriano nomination, but he prevailed regardless. The ad buy likely won’t do much to move the polls, but hopefully, this shows outside groups Mastriano is beginning to run a traditional campaign and (they will) jump on board with financial help.”

Long-time Republican political consultant Christopher Nicholas said, “It’s a good start for the Mastriano campaign.”

The spots feature 60-second and 30-second versions, which will be distributed on TV and digital platforms.

Mastriano served in the U.S. Army for 30 years before retiring as a colonel. He was elected to the state Senate to represent Franklin County in 2019. The ads highlight Mastriano’s leadership style, including his work to protect his soldiers and his ability to bring unity to his team.

“It’s important to me that I bring everyone along with me and bring everyone hope and opportunity,” Mastriano says in the ad. “I want every Pennsylvanian to know that I will have their back.”

The ad also features a testimonial from Staff sergeant (SSG) Lance Frazee, who served under Mastriano’s command in the Alpha Company, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, from 1995 to 1997.

“We’d be on a run and soldiers were starting to get tired, and he would run all the way around trying to motivate soldiers,” Frazee says in the ad. “He would be back there with a soldier who was falling out [saying] ‘You can do this, you can do this!’ Next thing you know, he was bringing them back to the flock.”

Mastriano’s TV commercials will air in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

How did Mastriano win the GOP nomination without running any TV advertising? He had help from Democrat Shapiro, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads during the Republican primary designed to help nominate Mastriano who, Democrats believed, would be easier to beat.  That strategy was employed by several other Democrats around the country this year, who spent millions aiding and abetting the campaigns of Republican candidates perceived to be the most “Trumpy” while portraying Trump supporters as extreme.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Mastriano shortly before the primary, which Mastriano won handily with 44 percent of the vote. But Trump’s support only goes so far. Some old-guard Republicans and never-Trumpers, led by former Bucks County Congressman Jim Greenwood, have not backed Mastriano– even going so far as to support Shapiro.

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Shapiro Promises No New Taxes, But Critics Say He’s Broken That Pledge Before

Democrat Josh Shapiro promises to cut taxes if elected governor.

Specifically, Shapiro says he would cut the cellphone tax, send $250 gas tax rebates to car owners, and expand the property tax and rent rebate program. Both Shapiro and his Republican opponent, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, agree the state’s corporate taxes  — the second highest in the country — should be reduced to attract businesses and jobs.

But Shapiro had a record of raising taxes when he served as a Montgomery County commissioner, despite promising voters during the campaign that he would not.

Shapiro voted to raise Montgomery County property taxes in 2015 and 2016 by a total of 21 percent. In 2015, Shapiro had just been re-elected as commissioner and in 2016, he had been elected as attorney general and was leaving his county post when he voted to again raise taxes.

Before being elected county commissioner, Shapiro pledged not to raise taxes.

In 2016, Joe Gale, the minority Republican Commissioner, called the tax increases “a money grab.”

Gale pointed out that in addition to hiking property taxes, Shapiro and Commissioner Val Arkoosh also voted to increase health inspection fees on businesses by 2 percent over three consecutive years. And Shapiro voted to increase the vehicle registration fees for county car and truck owners. The two Democratic commissioners also voted to increase the hotel tax by 100 percent. Shapiro voted to institute a separate community college levy, having the taxpayers pay for it separately and removing the county’s contribution to the college from the general fund, freeing up $22 million, said Gale.

“Josh Shapiro campaigned for county commissioner on a no-tax pledge, yet within weeks of being re-elected commissioner, Shapiro voted to increase taxes by 10 percent,” Gale said at the time. “Just a few weeks after being elected to his new position (attorney general), he’s increased taxes by 11 percent.”

Gale said, “There’s a pattern here. You elect Josh Shapiro on a Tuesday and the next week you’re hit with a double-digit tax increase…A 21 percent tax increase over the course of two years is outrageous.”

Skippack resident Mike Marino, a former Montgomery County Commissioners chair, said Shapiro “imposed an assessment as a contribution to Montgomery County Community College. It appears on my county bill of over $100 each year. It was a sneaking way of raising your taxes without calling it a tax. He is a typical Democrat that constantly raises taxes and then states that he does not. Just another attempt to deceive the public. Exactly the same tricks as Joe Biden.”

For his part, Shapiro tweeted on June 22, “As county commissioner, I inherited a deficit – so I got to work. I balanced our budget, and by the end of my term, Montgomery County was back on track to financial stability. Experience matters.”

Shapiro’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about Shapiro’s record on taxes.

Gale, who had also run for governor but lost to Mastriano in a crowded Republican primary, added, “Josh Shapiro is, and has always been, a tax and spend liberal who has never seen a money grab he didn’t like. Once elected governor, he will grow the size of government and the already bloated state budget.”

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PA Governor’s Race May Hinge On Parental Rights, ‘Mama Bears’

Republican lieutenant governor candidate state Rep. Carrie DelRosso knows her running mate, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, is getting outspent by a huge margin. But she told a Montgomery County Moms for Liberty meeting in Lansdale Monday the GOP ticket is counting on a grassroots army of “mama bears” to take them to victory.

“Shapiro has a $16 million TV buy. What else can he say about a 30-year colonel in the Army, who knows strategy, who’s brilliant, he’s got his doctorate in history?”

While the event was billed as a discussion of Mastriano’s education plan, the conversation was open-ended. Many attendees expressed their worries the Nov. 8 election will be stolen through mail-in ballots and drop boxes. DelRosso encouraged them to sign up to be poll watchers and to turn off the TV and knock on doors and make phone calls.

Mastriano, who recently voted to increase state funding for education by $800,000, has noted the average Pennsylvania school district spends $20,000 per student.

Carrie DelRosso (center rear) with Montgomery County Moms for Liberty in Lansdale. Josh Herman, Mastriano campaign deputy campaign manager, front right.

As governor, his proposals include strengthening and enforcing statewide curriculum transparency requirements and working with the legislature to establish a universal “parental rights” statute, according to Josh Herman, deputy campaign manager, who also came to the Moms for Liberty meeting.

Mastriano believes schools should teach children how to think, not what to think. On day one, Mastriano will ban Critical Race and Gender Theory studies. He also opposes biological males using girls’ locker rooms and restrooms and would ban biological males from competing in women’s sports, Herman said.

Mastriano also supports school choice. He believes every child is entitled to a top-notch education and that, when schools compete, it promotes excellence. He will make sure public schools continue to receive level funding but will also back competition that will improve them. And Mastriano plans to work with the legislature to bring school choice to Pennsylvania families to prevent children from being trapped in failing schools, Herman said.

“It’s time that we empower the parents and not these institutions,”  Mastriano said recently.

DelRosso, who grew up in Scranton, was upbeat about the chances for the Republican ticket, despite being outspent massively by their opponents.

After going to college at the University of Pittsburgh, she stayed in that area.  The divorced mother of three children, who served on the Oakmont Borough Council, was running her own public relations business when she decided to run for a seat in the state House, mostly because she saw what was going on behind the scenes in her local school district.

She flipped her Allegheny County district and beat the state Democrat minority leader by working hard and going door-to-door. She said she believes the Mastriano/DelRosso campaign can use those same grassroots tactics to win in November.

She was going to lose her seat this cycle due to redistricting, so she decided to run for lieutenant governor “to serve the people.”

“The Democratic old boys’ regime tried to sideline me,” she said. “I was the last person in the (lieutenant governor’s) race and I ended up winning by 120,000 votes.”

Her oldest son, Vincent, 14, asked her what she was going to do when he learned about redistricting. She said she would find a job.

“He told me, ‘Mom, you don’t retreat.’” When her son was in 8th grade he did a presentation for his public speaking class on the person he admired most. He chose his mom. He gave her the speech that he had written for Mother’s Day and she framed it. Her other children, Domenic, 12, and Mia, 11, are also onboard with her campaign.

And, she said, all three kids know not to believe all the negative campaign commercials now running against their mom and Mastriano.

“My kids get it now. Even the negative ads now, (her son says), ‘Watch this one, Mom.’ He knows it’s propaganda.”

Herman said he first heard about Moms for Liberty because of a Libs of TikTok tweet about a North Penn School District teacher making White kids apologize to Black kids because of their skin color during a “privilege walk.” He talked to Mastriano about it and got involved, even though it was not his district.

“A lot of other politicians would have said, ‘It’s not our district, it’s another senator or representative’s issue,’” said Herman. “That’s not the kind of guy Doug Mastriano is.”

“There’s other stuff going on in every school district across Pennsylvania,” said Herman. “There’s a very clear contrast in this race.  When you look at what (Gov.) Tom Wolf’s Department of Education has done in this state, the results are pretty clear. The last test results statewide showed that only 22 percent of 8th graders were proficient in either math or reading, 22 percent.”

“It’s time to rethink education here in Pennsylvania,” said Herman. “Josh Shapiro stood with Tom Wolf in supporting the mask mandates, he supported the school closures, all the horrible things the pandemic brought in 2020, the school shutdowns, the escalation of these woke ideologies, whether it was CRT, gender theory, all kinds of this nonsense that has crept into our schools across Pennsylvania. One of the most encouraging things we saw was a grassroots movement that rose up.

“It was led by angry mamma bears,” he said. That led to elections in 2021 across America where parents elected new school boards, including the Back to School PA movement. In Virginia, it led to the election of (Gov.) Glenn Youngkin. “That election was mostly owed to parents saying, ‘Enough is enough.’  (Defeated Democrat) Terry McAuliffe is just basically a Virginia version of Josh Shapiro.”

“Doug Mastriano, as a state senator, his record is clear,” said Herman. “He is always going to stand with parents. He is going to stand for freedom…He is going to increase transparency.”

Wolf vetoed a bipartisan bill that said curriculum had to be posted online.

“Doug Mastriano will sign that into law,” said Herman. “The number one priority is going to be empowering the voices of parents.”

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Trump Rallies PA GOP for Mastriano, Oz

At his “Save America” rally in Wilkes-Barre Saturday, former President Donald Trump did not quite announce that he will run again in 2024. But he came close.

“I may just have to do it again,” he said of a future White House bid. He later added, “In 2024, we’re going to take back our magnificent White House.”

The crowd, which traveled from across Pennsylvania and the northeast to see Trump, cheered what they heard. The Delaware Valley Journal spoke to people from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Many sported clothing with Trump slogans or wore MAGA hats. And there was a party atmosphere as they waited for the former president to arrive, with music, dancing, singing, and chants.

“It’s great,” said Schuylkill Township resident Deborah Sulli, a Chester County Republican committeewoman about the rally that she attended with her mother, Lana Hill, of Paoli, “I support Trump and I support our candidates. I think it’s outrageous that Biden would say that over half the country is fascist.”

Hill, who is active in the pro-life movement said, “I love Trump. He should have been president (instead of Joe Biden). He really is our president; still should be. We’d never have this upside-down world if he was still president.”

In his remarks, Trump touched on inflation, illegal immigration, the border wall, taxes, regulations, national security, the Fentanyl epidemic, and the 2020 election. But he added a new element: the FBI raid on his home.

The Biden administration is “censoring free speech, criminalizing dissent… “Disarming law-abiding citizens” issuing lawless mandates and unconstitutional orders and “imprisoning political protesters, rigging elections.”

It is “weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI like never before and breaking into the homes of their political opponents.

“Just a few weeks ago we witnessed one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history,” Trump said. “The shameful raid and break-in of my home in Mar-a-Lago is a travesty. They have made a mockery of America’s laws, traditions, and principles…Like a third-world country…the Biden administration invaded the home of their political opponent who is absolutely destroying them in the polls.”

Trump panned Biden’s Sept. 1 speech at Independence Hall, calling it “the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president, vilifying 75 million citizens…as threats to democracy and as enemies of the state. You’re all enemies of the state.”

Trump supporter Micki Larson-Olson

“I think Philadelphia was a great choice to make a speech of hatred and anger,” said Trump. “Otherwise the next morning he forgot what he said (referring to Biden walking back his attack on Trump supporters). How did you like the red lighting behind him, like the devil?”

Philadelphia “is being devastated under Democrat rule…14 people were shot last week in Philadelphia, 14…Four people were killed last weekend. At one point last month, seven people were shot in just 71 minutes. Philadelphia has already seen more than 1,400 people shot this year, including numerous beautiful little children.”

“Last year Philadelphia set an all-time murder record with 560 homicides. And it’s on track to shatter that record again in 2022, numbers nobody has seen in other Democratic cities. Armed robberies are up 60 percent. Doug (Mastriano), you have to take care of that.”

Trump said the average drug dealer is responsible for 500 deaths throughout his lifetime and called for the death penalty for drug dealers.

Trump praised the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and governor, Dr. Mehmet Oz and state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who also spoke at the rally, and he roasted their Democratic opponents, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Fetterman wears “a sweat suit…He’s dressed like a teenager hiding in his parents’ basement. But he’s for breaking hardened criminals out of jail in the middle of the worst crime wave in Pennsylvania history.  And by the way, he wants to get rid of your police. Fetterman is a defund the police Marxist who is just pulling the wool over people’s eyes.”

“Fetterman has released a record number of dangerous criminals out on the streets…Fetterman supports taxpayer-funded drug dens and the complete defunding of illegal drugs…which will mean death and despair to every community in Pennsylvania…And he signed a pledge to ban fracking which would demolish almost a million jobs in Pennsylvania…He’s a socialist loser who leached off his parents’ money until he was 49 years old,” said Trump.

When he took the stage, Oz had a question for the crowd. “Is the country headed in the right direction? If you’re afraid to say yes, take away their car keys they shouldn’t be driving…This country has dramatically turned in the wrong direction. I’m the person for change.”

“We’re going to fight like hell for voting integrity and I’m going to start with voter ID,” said Mastriano. “My opponent is too dangerous, too extreme, too radical for Pennsylvania. He can’t even define what a woman is.”

Mastriano, a former Armey colonel, recalled 9/11 and Todd Beamer on Flight 93, saying, “Pennsylvania, let’s roll.”

Trump’s take on Shapiro? “He is a disaster for the state…As attorney general, he presided over the complete disintegration of law and order and letting gangs and criminals run wild.”

Shapiro would “let criminals roam your streets and he’s not going to let you have a gun.” Shapiro supported school shutdowns and masks “to be strapped to your children’s faces.” And he called Shapiro a “pro-abortion extremist.”

Trump’s criticism was bipartisan. He called on Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature to repeal no-excuse mail-in ballots.

“We need a landslide so big the radicalized left can’t rig it,” Trump said.

Local Republicans are hoping Trump’s visit will rally turnout among his supporters for the GOP ticket, which has consistently trailed Democrats in the polls. However, some recent polls show Mastriano and Oz trailing by just single digits as the election enters the post-Labor Day campaign stretch.

 

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GOP’s Mastriano Targets Shapiro, Biden at Delco Rally

About 200 enthusiastic supporters packed Gatsby’s Bar and Restaurant in Aston Wednesday to listen to state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Before addressing the crowd, Mastriano shook hands and posed for pictures, along with his wife, Rebecca. Dave White, a Delaware County businessman and former Delaware County councilman who also ran for governor, introduced Mastriano.

Rebecca and Doug Mastriano talk with supporters

“We came out of a contentious primary but in that primary, you had nine people that had nine great ideas and the people spoke,” said White, who has traveled the state supporting Mastriano. “And this is the time to come together. If you believe in economic development and tapping our resources and making Pennsylvania the energy capital of the United States, join this team. If you believe in school choice…we need Gov. Mastriano.”

Mastriano spoke for about 40 minutes, touching on various issues and getting in a few jabs at his Democrat opponent Attorney General Josh Shapiro as well as the press, which has not been kind to him. Every few sentences, the crowd cheered, applauded, or called out encouragement.

Dave White introduces Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano mentioned that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came to rally with him last Friday.

“The irony of coming to a state where our governor got it all wrong,” said Mastriano. “Ron DeSantis is showing us the way ahead for Pennsylvania. Our goal is to make Pennsylvania the Florida of the north.”

“My opponent spent $12 million and has nothing to show for it. He had no primary…He’s going to lose bad.”

“Sadly, Josh’s message is one of darkness and hate and division,” said Mastriano. “Of name calling, which Democrats are good at. And media, he has a six-year record as attorney general, won’t you even talk about that? No, because you like him.”

“He can’t run on his record because he’s a failure,” said Mastriano. “He’s been the attorney general for six years and crime has gone up 37 percent on his watch. Now Pennsylvania is the 12th highest in homicide, the senior law enforcement official…This guy’s incompetent. We ought to throw the bum out.”

“On his watch, we’re the 8th highest in overdoses,” he said.  “The fourth highest in Fentanyl. Sex trafficking is through the roof. He looks the other way with illegals.”

Instead of fighting crime, Shapiro sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, he said.

“Yes, he’s running lots of ads,” said Mastriano. “If anyone believes those ads I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, cheap. As my Afghan friends said, ‘best friend price.’”

Mastriano served in the Army for 30 years and retired as a colonel before winning a seat in the state Senate to represent Franklin County. He also holds a Ph.D. in history.

He called the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan “disgusting,” and asked for a show of hands for Afghan veterans. “That just tore my heart out and I’m sure it’s a similar feeling to what the Vietnam veterans saw in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. Sheer incompetence. That incompetence emboldened tyrants like Putin. And I will note that Vladimir Putin behaved under Donald Trump, so we need old 45 to come rolling back.”

Trump endorsed Mastriano and plans to rally with him and Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 3.

The Shapiro campaign has attacked Mastriano’s pro-life stand and, with the demise of Roe v. Wade, it has become an election issue.

About 20 demonstrators with pro-choice signs stood outside Gatsby’s before the Mastriano event and listened to remarks by Delaware County Party Chairwoman Colleen Guiney and state Sen. John Kane (D-Delaware/Chester).

“We believe that women have bodily autonomy,” she said, saying that they stand with Shapiro on women’s rights. Mastriano “has said, ‘Abortion should end right now and we should have no exceptions.’ That 11-year-old child has been victimized by a family member and is pregnant, she should carry that child to term. We don’t believe that is his choice. That is the choice of the child and their family and their doctor…I don’t believe doctors should do and I don’t believe women should go to jail for having healthcare in the United States of America.”

Kane said, “Yo, Doug Mastriano, you come into Delco with your no-comment express press conference. Delaware County does not want an extremist like you here.”

Asked by Delaware Valley Journal why Shapiro funded commercials that boosted Mastriano’s campaign during the GOP primary if he is such a ‘dangerous extremist,’ Kane said, “He wanted to make sure everybody knows what Doug Mastriano is all about. Doug Mastriano…when you’re taking rights away from women when you’re still talking about the election being stolen. When I got sworn in, I got sworn in with an awful lot of Republicans at the same time. Nobody ended up saying their election was stolen.”

During the rally, Mastriano introduced his wife, Rebecca, to talk about women’s rights.

“We believe in a women’s right to be born,” she said, and listed other rights such as safety, children’s education, and a “right to access baby formula and affordable groceries.”

“We believe in a woman’s right to raise a child where the government is enforcing the law and prosecuting crime,” she said. “We believe in a woman’s right to live in a nation with a secure border. We believe in a woman’s right to the First Amendment and after all, we are Pennsylvanians, we believe in a woman’s right to the Second Amendment. We believe in a woman’s right to compete in sports not dominated by men.”

“They don’t want to talk about inflation,” said Mastriano. “It’s so bad that even Jimmy Carter is looking decent now.”

“They don’t want to talk about the cities being burned to the ground just down the road from here, the Summer of Love,” he said.

Mastriano promised he would end Pennsylvania as a “sanctuary state.”

“When those ghost flights come into our airports, I’ll have the beautiful Pennsylvania State Police meeting those flights and…escorting those buses down to Joe Biden’s house in Delaware.” He praised law enforcement and mentioned that he’d gotten the state FOP’s endorsement.

Delaware County Democratic chair Colleen Guiney with protesters.

Mastriano also promised to take the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that is driving up the cost of electricity and to bring energy jobs back to Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania, we are truly at a crossroads between (Gov.) Wolf and Shapiro tyranny or under Mastriano freedom and liberty. I don’t know about you, but I chose freedom and liberty,” he said.

Several supporters told DVJournal why they support Mastriano.

“Our country is falling apart. I need to stick up for my children. I need to be able to tell my children I fought for our country,” said Maureen Willis of Landenberg, a former Democrat.

And Drexel Hill resident Richard Pruett said, “I support Doug, just like Donald Trump is supporting Doug. He believes in freedom. He believes in American first, energy independence. I love the fact he fought for us in battle, that he’s a colonel and on Day One he’ll open up the pipeline.”

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DelVal Counties Could Decide Fate of Mastriano, Oz

Despite forecasts of a national red wave, Pennsylvania Democrat nominees for governor and U.S. Senate have double-digit leads in a battleground state that Joe Biden carried by just over 1 percent against Donald Trump.

If Republican candidates like gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Doug Mastriano and U.S. Senate contender Dr. Mehmet Oz are going to have a chance in November, they have to keep the margins close in the Delaware Valley counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.

“Those counties are vital not just in this election but in every election in large part because of the large number of people who live in those communities,” Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, told DVJournal. “These suburban voters used to be solidly Republican and now are more Democrat in their voting habits.”

Yost added, “Republicans can win if they really run up the numbers in the rest of the state, but it’s a lot easier if they do better in those counties.”

In the race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the state’s Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, part of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, has consistently held a double-digit lead in the polls. A new poll from the Center Street PAC gives Fetterman a 47-to-30 percent advantage.

A recent Fox News poll shows Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro with a 10-point lead, 50 to 40 percent over Mastriano in the race to replace term-limited Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf.

Trump, who in 2016 carried Pennsylvania by a razor-thin margin, endorsed both Oz and Mastriano during the Republican primary.

A post-primary analysis by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College called urban and rural the “central dividing line” that was evident in both party primaries, but starker on the Republican side.

“Mastriano’s support mirrors President Trump’s support during his 2016 primary win in Pennsylvania: underperforming in the state’s large central and fringe metros and overperforming in the state’s less dense rural communities,” the analysis said. By contrast, the analysis found Oz “overperformed in the large central and fringe metros, while underperforming in the less dense communities of the state.”

Of Democrats, the analysis says: “Fetterman’s support among Democrats was much stronger in smaller, less densely populated communities than in the large central and fringe metros where Conor Lamb did a bit better. Still, he won convincingly in each community type.”

In the general election, a big part of the problem seems to be the state GOP doesn’t have the strongest nominees, both faring poorly in the Philadelphia suburban counties where Trump and Toomey held their own.

“A conventional conservative Republican rather than a MAGA Republican might fare better,” Matthew Kerbel, a political science professor at Villanova University, told DVJournal.

“For Mastriano, his problem is ideological. Voters are turned off by a candidate who can be positioned as extreme,” Kerbel said. “Oz has more of an authenticity problem. Stressing that he is from New Jersey plays into doubts people already had. Fetterman comes across as genuine. He’s certainly a liberal, but he has a demeanor that is blue collar, which minimizes his ideology.”

Delaware and Montgomery Counties are more closely aligned with Philadelphia while Bucks and Chester counties have rural areas and are more politically diverse, said Dan Mallinson, a public policy professor at Pennsylvania State University. Still, he said, the counties are much bluer than before.

“People come to the eastern part of the state out of New York City and New Jersey as those areas have become more expensive to live,” Mallinson said. “The general movement is in line with Democrats. A lot of wealth has come into that area, which used to be aligned with Republicans as the pro-business party. But now the Democrats have a lot of wealthy people in their party.”

On the flip side, Mallinson predicts both races will tighten, noting a sizeable number of Democrats changing their registration to Republican, though many have been voting Republican for a while before the registration change. Moreover, most elected Republicans in the state seem to be warming a bit to Mastriano.

“Mastriano and Shapiro remind me of the 2016 presidential race,” he said. “The Republicans had an outsider and the Democrats had an established, experienced heir apparent. That doesn’t always work out so well for all the talk we heard about Never Trumpers. We’ll see what happens with Mastriano.”

Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County Republican Committee, believes voters will vote their pocketbooks.

“For decades, the Philadelphia suburbs have been a bellwether for the national political environment,” said Poprik.  “Bucks County, in particular, has always been the focus of statewide and national attention for its ‘swing’ status.  For any candidate to be successful statewide, they must perform well here in our region.  We believe that historic inflation, rising gas prices, and higher food costs are driving suburban voters to reject the failed Democrat policies that have led us here.  By offering an alternative vision for our commonwealth and our country, Republican candidates will succeed in November.”

And Liz Preate Havey, the Republican chair for Montgomery County said, “Twenty years ago a successful Republican statewide candidate had to win convincingly in the southeast in order to offset large Democratic wins in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. With huge Republican growth outside of the southeast region, it is no longer necessary for Republicans to win the Southeast. However, Republicans still need to remain competitive in the suburbs to win statewide and thus still need to appeal to suburban voters.”

While neither Biden nor Trump is popular in the state now, Trump’s favorable rating in the state is 44 percent compared to Biden at 42 percent, according to the Fox poll. So, while Democrats wouldn’t likely want to jeopardize their leads by bringing in Biden to stump, the two lagging Republicans may have nothing to lose from a Trump appearance to excite the base, should their fortunes not reverse.

The poll found more than half of voters did not think Oz was familiar enough with Pennsylvania to represent the state, while fewer than a quarter were worried about Fetterman’s health after he had a recent stroke. Still, Oz leads 10 points among rural voters. That doesn’t quite compensate for the 23-point Fetterman lead among suburban voters near the population centers of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.

In Pennsylvania, as well as the rest of the country, the top issues for voters tend to advantage Republicans.

For Pennsylvania voters, the top concern is inflation, and most disapprove of how Biden and Democrats have handled rising prices. Democrats say abortion is their top issue, but only 14 percent of Keystone State voters agree.

More than half say their financial situation is worse than two years earlier, while more than one-third said it’s the same and just 10 percent say they are doing better.

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