know about Delivering real results for Pennsylvanians
The 2020 election raised questions and concerns in the minds of voters ranging from the integrity of election procedures to ballot access. What election law reforms, if any, would you support to ensure all Pennsylvania voters have equal access to free, fair, and secure elections?
Throughout the 2020 election and for the past two years, Pennsylvania has become the epicenter of the fight to defend American democracy. We had a free and fair, safe and secure election, and as Attorney General, I told the truth in the face of dangerous lies and stood up against attempts to undermine our democracy. I went to court dozens of times to protect Pennsylvanians’ right to vote and make sure every vote was counted, and in the face of those attacks, we won.
Defending democracy is the foundation for progress in Pennsylvania. I believe that if we want to grow our economy, improve our schools, and make our communities safer, then we need a stable democracy where the voices of all Pennsylvanians can be heard. As Governor, I will continue my work to ensure that voters have access to the polls and that every legal vote is counted in every election. That’s why I published a 10-step plan to defend democracy, ensure ballot access, and improve our elections by appointing a pro-democracy secretary of state, allowing counties to pre-scrutinize and correct ballots, establishing automatic voter registration, and -Vote by person and veto any attempt to restrict voting by mail in Pennsylvania.
I will work with anyone in good faith to ensure election security, defend our democracy, and improve our elections, but I will have no patience with anyone who acts in bad faith or seeks to undermine the rights of Pennsylvanians.
How would you position Pennsylvania to be a leader on environmental issues, including climate change?
We need to take real action to address climate change, protect and create energy jobs, and ensure Pennsylvanians have reliable, affordable, clean energy for the long haul. I refuse to accept the false choice between protecting jobs or protecting our planet: we must do both.
Throughout my career, I have worked to uphold the constitutional right of Pennsylvanians to clean air and clean water, and as Governor, I will continue that work by investing in clean energy and clean transportation, adopting the recommendations of the Greater Juried in 2020 to minimize health risks. from fracking, plugging orphaned oil and gas wells, and addressing lead contamination to continue to protect Pennsylvania’s environment.
As Governor, my priority will be to ensure that Pennsylvania has a comprehensive energy and climate policy that protects consumers, builds on our strength as an energy hub, protects our environment, and moves our commonwealth forward.
Some states have acted to restrict the rights of transgender people. What is your position on the rights of transgender people?
Too many Republican politicians across the country are focused on demonizing children and pushing cruel and divisive legislation that will do nothing to address the concerns I hear from Pennsylvanians every day, like combating rising costs, improving our schools or make our communities safer. Throughout my career, I have stood up to defend the rights of Pennsylvanians and promote equality in our commonwealth. As Attorney General, I have seen firsthand the threats and violence trans people face, and I know we need to do more to address these issues.
As Governor, I will continue my work to defend the rights of Pennsylvanians and promote equality, putting real political capital behind the effort to finally pass anti-discrimination legislation, expanding hate crime laws to cover LGBTQ+ people, eliminating “gay and trans panic” advocacy, and investing in mental health resources for LGBTQ+ youth.
Experts predict that the US Supreme Court could soon overturn Roe v. Wade, who established the constitutional right to abortion. Then it would be up to Pennsylvania lawmakers to govern the process. What is your position on abortion? Should it be protected or restricted?
Throughout my career, I have always fought to protect reproductive rights, and as Governor, I will stand up against any attempt to further restrict the right to choose in Pennsylvania. As Republicans across the country and right here in Pennsylvania lead a concerted effort to ban abortion, who we elect as our next governor will literally decide whether women’s reproductive freedoms continue to exist in our community. I will continue to support the women of Pennsylvania and ensure that we protect and expand access to reproductive health care here in Pennsylvania.
What should Pennsylvania’s minimum wage be, now set at $7.25 an hour?
Right now, Pennsylvanians are being crushed by a mountain of rising prices, and for many, the economy isn’t working for them or their families. Harrisburg Republicans have been in control of the Legislature for over 12 years, and in all that time, they have never raised our minimum wage, even as every neighboring state has raised theirs.
As businesses face persistent labor shortages, we must make Pennsylvania more competitive and affordable for working families. We need to build an economy that invests in our workforce, rewards hard work, and creates opportunities for Pennsylvanians to get ahead. That’s why, as Governor, I will continue to stand up for our workers and make sure every Pennsylvania worker receives a living wage of at least $15 an hour.
What makes you tick? What is an example of when your passion and government service worked hand in hand?
My public service is based on my faith, and my faith teaches me that no one is obligated to complete the task, but neither are we free to refrain from doing it. To me, that means I have a responsibility to get involved and fight for the people I serve.
Throughout my career, I’ve stood up to the big fights and delivered real results for Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties, from uncovering decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church to holding drug companies accountable for fueling the opioids, to fighting for workers. who have been ripped off by wealthy corporations and protect access to health care for nearly 2 million people in western Pennsylvania. I am proud of my work to protect Pennsylvanians, and I know there is much more to do.
The people of our Commonwealth face serious challenges right now, and in these difficult times, Pennsylvanians need a Governor who will stand behind them and fight for them. I will be a governor you can count on, one who will cut costs and grow our economy, fix our education system, and ensure we have safe communities.
What, if anything, would you do to reform Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system? Would you support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults?
As Attorney General, I have worked hard to keep our communities safe and make our criminal justice system fairer and more equitable for all Pennsylvanians, and I have brought people together to create real solutions. Every day, I work with law enforcement partners to ensure they can do their job of keeping Pennsylvanians safe, and we’ve worked together to advance the creation of a fairer criminal justice system. For example, I led the Black Legislative Board and law enforcement leaders to create the state’s first database on police misconduct.
As Governor, I will continue to bring together community leaders and law enforcement officials to make Pennsylvania communities safer and our criminal justice system fairer, from legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use and expanding addiction treatment and re-entry programs, to reforming our parole and probation. and fully fund our police and public defenders to ensure our communities are safe and the rights of Pennsylvanians are protected.
What are the limits of political rhetoric? What duty do elected leaders have to speak truthfully and communicate factual information to voters?
Elected leaders have a responsibility to bring people together and act in the best interests of the people we serve, and that starts with telling the truth. Throughout my career, I have taken on the big fights and fought to achieve real results for the people of Pennsylvania. As I campaign and meet with people across this state, and God willing, as our next governor, I will continue to speak the truth, fight to address the biggest issues, and do everything in my power to bring people together and move Pennsylvania forward. .
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General and former state representative and Montgomery County Commissioner, is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania in the May 17 primary.