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Americans from coast to coast are fed up with government overreach and leftist policies, as was shown on Election Day 2021 from Virginia to Seattle.
A Republican was elected governor in Virginia, where Joe Biden won by 10 points just last year. A Republican came within a whisker of knocking off the Democratic governor of New Jersey, in a race that was not expected to be a contest. A Republican prosecutor was elected in liberal Seattle on a law-and-order platform. And voters rejected a referendum to dissolve and reimagine the police department in Minneapolis, the epicenter of the 2020 riots.
It’s a foreshadowing of November 2022, when Pennsylvania voters will have their say in electing a new governor.
In Virginia, education became a flashpoint when parents were told they had no business being involved in their children’s education. What happened there has played out in Pennsylvania as well.
Because of COVID-19 lockdowns, parents were at home not working while their kids were remote learning. For the first time, parents overheard what students were being taught, and they didn’t like it.
Much of it involved Critical Race Theory, a harmful framework that defines children by the color of their skin. White kids are labeled oppressors, while children of color are told they will never be able to succeed because of racist systems beyond their control. It is unconscionable that we would actually teach kids to hate each other.
Mask and vaccine mandates were key issues in New Jersey, many areas of which closely track Pennsylvania attitudes.
Although children are proven to be far less susceptible to the virus than adults, our governor, Tom Wolf, decreed that they must wear masks in school anyway. This is again a subversion of parental rights to make decisions for their children.
President Biden’s order that businesses require their employees to be vaccinated — no matter if they’ve already had COVID-19 and now have natural immunity — is an unconstitutional encroachment into the private sector. It also forces many Pennsylvanians to make an excruciating choice: Take a shot they may object to, or lose their jobs.
People should decide for themselves whether to inject chemicals into their bodies, and they shouldn’t sacrifice their livelihoods if they decline. Incredibly, Biden initially defied a federal court, which called the mandate “fatally flawed” and “staggeringly overbroad.” Pennsylvania voters will remember this in the 2022 midterms when public sentiment is usually against the incumbent president’s party.
The wave of anti-police sentiment was turned back in Seattle and Minneapolis, and Pennsylvanians know what those voters must have been thinking. Crime is rising here, with Philadelphia fast becoming known as the murder capital of the United States, if not the world. The Kensington section of the city is a fully functioning open-air drug market, which spreads poison in the neighborhood and ruins lives. Our residents rightly want to return to the days when we respected law enforcement and gave police the tools they need to do their jobs.
Empty storefronts are common in Pennsylvania cities and towns, serving as visible scars of the pandemic lockdowns when Gov. Wolf picked winners and losers and decided who could stay open and who had to close. It never made sense that people could go to a big box store to shop, while their local small businesses were forced to shut down, oftentimes forever.
The environmental extremists’ war on energy continues in Pennsylvania, preventing us from responsibly tapping our vast deposits of natural resources, reducing fuel bills, and creating thousands of jobs. People are tired of being told we must hamstring our own economy when other nations will not do the same.
The likely Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, fails on all these important issues voters will have in mind next year. He was silent when Wolf crippled our economy and ordered children to wear masks. He has been derelict as the chief law enforcement officer of Pennsylvania. He will certainly not stand up to a president from his own party, and he will be terrified to disobey the directives of environmental radicals.
When I’m the governor of Pennsylvania, we will restore the liberties for which this nation was once known. We will respect parents and the rights of people to make decisions for themselves. We will respect law enforcement and protect our communities, and we will declare the Commonwealth open for business again.
Voters spoke loudly across the country last month. Next November it will be deafening.
Former mayor and congressman Lou Barletta is a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.
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