CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses potentially sensitive topics. Please use caution before reading.
With midterm elections right around the corner on Nov. 8, The Rocket broke down the Republican and Democratic nominees’ beliefs in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. A free shuttle will be available to take SRU students to and from the polls. The township polling place is at 153 Branchton Road, and the borough polling place is at 320 N. Main St. The shuttle will run every half hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Before being elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 2019, Doug Mastriano (R) served for 30 years in the U.S. Army. He retired in 2017 as a Colonel.
His military career highlights include serving on the Iron Curtain in Germany, where he saw the end of the Cold War before being deployed for Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
After 9/11, he was the lead planner for the Iraq invasion through Turkey. He has a doctorate in history and four master’s degrees. He also subscribes to Christian nationalism beliefs.
Josh Shapiro (D) has been Pennsylvania’s attorney general since 2017. He previously served as Montgomery County Commissioner and as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Shapiro completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law. He discusses his Jewish faith in his speeches and ads.
In Pennsylvania, abortion is currently illegal after 24 weeks unless the mother’s health is at risk.
Mastriano has called abortion his “number one issue” and has fought to ban the practice without exception in the case of incest, rape or health of the mother. He has twice introduced legislation to ban abortion after six weeks.
Shapiro called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “a shameful moment for our country and for the Court” and has pledged to veto legislation that would further restrict access to abortion if elected governor.
Mastriano has said he would establish a “strike force” within each state agency that would aim to slash about 55,000 statewide regulations during his first year in office. His goal is to eliminate two regulations for every one created.
Mastriano also wants to eliminate property taxes, lower Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax and lower the gas tax.
As a state senator, he has previously sponsored legislation to reverse Governor Tom Wolf’s moratorium on new leases for natural gas exploration in state parks and forests.
He also wants to lift taxes and regulations on certain natural gas drillers, but those certain drillers have not been specified. In 2019, Mastriano also voted against raising the minimum wage to $9.50.
Along with supporting raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, Shapiro has advocated for developing “innovation hubs” around manufacturing, life sciences and national defense strategies.
His plan for this is to connect businesses in those industries with research institutions and funding. Shapiro also wants to create the Office of Economic Growth and also help these businesses navigate state permits and regulations.
Shapiro also wants to create jobs by plugging abandoned wells, modernizing homes and businesses via energy-efficient programs, investing in sewer and storm-water projects and repairing deficient infrastructure.
Shapiro plans to increase funding for law enforcement.
Mastriano plans to reduce per-student public school funding from $19,000 per year to $10,000 and put that money into “education opportunity accounts.” The accounts would be managed as restricted-use accounts similar to health savings. Parents could use the money in these accounts to send their children to public or private schools.
Mastriano also wants to eliminate property taxes and expand existing programs that give tax breaks to companies that fund private-school scholarships.
He also wants more oversight for teachers to give parents more input in the classroom, and he wants to ban teaching “critical race theory” and “gender theory” via executive order within his first 100 days in office.
Shapiro largely wants to maintain Governor Wolf’s education spending plan despite parents, school districts and advocacy groups suing the state over the allegedly unfair, unconstitutional formula.
He also advocated for less reliance on standardized tests, more vocational, technical and computer training in classrooms, and he pledged to appoint at least two parents to the state Board of Education.
Both candidates have advocated for parents to have a larger say in the classroom.
Shapiro is endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, which is the teacher’s union, and the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF), which is the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) faculty union.
The current Pennsylvania law requires ID for first-time voters or when voting at a polling place for the first time.
Regarding Pennsylvania elections, Mastriano supports repealing Act 77 which allows any voter to cast a mail-in ballot. He also supports enacting a “universal ID” for voting and wants every eligible voter to re-register.
Regarding the 2020 election, he supports that it was stolen from Trump. He was at the Jan. 6 insurrection, which led to him being subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee.
Shapiro is open to adding voter ID requirements but has said he would veto any effort to restrict voting by mail.
He also supports expanding automatic voter registration, setting up pre-registration for teenagers 16 and 17 and implementing same-day voter registration through election day.
Mastriano has promised to pull Pennsylvania out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on his first day in office if he were to get elected. He cited that the 11 other states in the pact “do not come close to the number of electricity production facilities we have here in Pennsylvania.”
As a state senator, he introduced legislation to allow drilling in state parks, reduce permitting fees and exempt gas producers from state corporate income tax.
In March, Mastriano introduced the Pennsylvania Energy Independence Act which mandates the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to review natural gas and coal permits within 45 days or they would be automatically approved if they meet certain conditions.
Shapiro is also not committed to keeping Pennsylvania in the RGGI.
In 2020, the Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that found government agencies failed to properly oversee and regulate fracking. The office then recommended a series of regulatory and transparency changes.
If elected governor, Shapiro set a goal of generating 30% of Pennsylvania’s energy from renewable sources by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
Mastriano supports a ban on gifts to lawmakers and has floated bills to stop automatic pay raises for legislators and judges and ban state lawmakers from leasing state-owned vehicles.
He has also proposed bills that would expand open records laws and place term limits on school-board members.
Like Mastriano, Shapiro would also sign legislation barring elected officials and public employees from receiving gifts. He opposes term limits citing that restricting elected officials to a certain time in office empowers lobbyists and interest groups rather than voters.
He also advocated for more frequent and thorough reporting of campaign donations and expenditures and supports limits on donations to candidates.
He does argue though that this alone would be ineffective without a solution to “dark money,” which comes from nonprofits and other organizations that can accept unlimited amounts of money without naming donors.
In 2021, Mastriano introduced a bill that would bar authorities from enforcing federal gun laws. He is endorsed by the Gun Owners of America and voted in favor of legislation that would legalize concealed carry without a permit.
Shapiro supports stricter gun safety laws, enacting universal background checks and “red flag” laws that would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people deemed by a judge to be a risk to themselves or others.
Mastriano opposed marriage rights and adoption rights for same-sex couples. As a state senator, he voted in favor of a sports ban targeting transgender women and a ban on teaching sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Shapiro has said he would push to expand nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He also supports expanding hate crime laws to cover LGBTQ+ communities, and he wants to ban conversion therapy for minors.
Mastriano does not support legalizing recreational marijuana.
Shapiro formerly opposed legalizing recreational marijuana but would sign a legalization bill if elected. He would also support expunging nonviolent marijuana offenses from criminal records.
Mastriano wants to eliminate property taxes, lower Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax and lower the gas tax.
Shapiro would expand Pennsylvania property taxes and support reducing corporate net income tax and rent rebate programs that benefit the elderly, widowed people and residents with disabilities.
He also wants to give a $250 gas tax refund for every personal passenger car registered in Pennsylvania up to four cars per household.
Shapiro has also called to eliminate the 11% sales tax on cell service. His campaign said Shapiro would use surplus state dollars and other sources to pay for his tax plan.