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OPINION

Proven, Road-tested, and Ready to Lead the Great Pennsylvania Comeback

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

In just a few days, Pennsylvania Republicans will select our gubernatorial nominee for an election that will decide the direction the Commonwealth takes for years to come. As a former small business owner, a mayor who served the people of Hazleton for a decade, and as a strong, conservative member of Congress for eight years, I have the experience to turn Pennsylvania around.

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I am proven, road-tested, and ready to serve as the 48th governor of Pennsylvania and I humbly ask for your support in the Republican primary election on May 17.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all watched as Gov. Tom Wolf wrecked our economy, deciding which businesses had to close and which could stay open. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who will be the Democratic nominee in this race, stood silently and did nothing to help Pennsylvanians who saw their life’s work ruined when they were forced to close their businesses while large chain stores were allowed to remain open.

When I am governor, we will declare all of Pennsylvania open for business again, get government out of the way, and allow entrepreneurs to do what they do better than anyone – create jobs.

We are blessed with an enormous deposit of energy resources right beneath our feet in Pennsylvania and we must build the infrastructure necessary to access it. Having more natural gas in the ground than most countries, without the pipelines to transport it, is like being in college with a keg of beer and no tap. We will greenlight pipelines, get the natural gas to market, help drive down energy prices, and contribute to returning to American energy independence.

State government has stood in the way of economic prosperity, and it’s gotten even worse.

Gov. Wolf signed Pennsylvania onto the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which will crush our energy workers and move their jobs to other states which are not part of the pact. As a result, workers will suffer and there won’t even be any impact on the environment. This time, Shapiro did worse than just stand idly by – he actually approved Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI after saying he opposed it.  

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As governor, I will remove Pennsylvania from RGGI on my first day and rescue our economy from environmental extremists who will put thousands of our neighbors out of work.

But no community can be truly prosperous if people don’t feel safe on the streets and in their homes. As governor, I will empower police to do their jobs and give them the support and resources they need to keep our neighborhoods safe. And I will eliminate “sanctuary cities” – those jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. I have been battling illegal immigration since I was mayor of Hazleton and will keep up that fight as governor.  

Our schools in Pennsylvania should be the finest in the country, and I will fight to ensure that no children are trapped in failing schools because of their zip codes. Parents will have school choice, which will improve education for countless kids, and introduce true fairness in educational opportunity.

While children are in school, parents must have access to all information about teaching materials and the curriculum, and as governor I will enforce the rights of parents to be involved. We also won’t teach our children to hate each other under the toxic Critical Race Theory, which instills hatred and mistrust based on skin color, and we will teach American history accurately. And when I am governor, we will not allow biological males to compete in girls’ and women’s sports.

None of this will be possible if people don’t have faith in elections and their government institutions. I will rebuild that trust by addressing election security, repealing Act 77 and no-excuse mail-in voting, requiring identification for all voters, and restoring integrity to our elections.

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I am the only Republican in the field who has a history of beating Democrats, having been elected mayor in a heavily Democratic city and defeated a 26-year incumbent Democrat for Congress.

As the mayor of Hazleton, I stood on the national stage to fight illegal immigration when nobody else in the country was doing it. I have fought for our conservative values as a pro-God, pro-gun, pro-family, pro-life, and pro-America public servant.

I am proven, road-tested, and ready, and I am eager to lead the Great Pennsylvania Comeback.

Former mayor and congressman Lou Barletta is a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.

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