On Nov. 8, the Penn and Philadelphia communities will head to the polls and vote for Democrat Josh Shapiro or Republican Doug Mastriano to become their next governor. But in this race, there is one clear candidate who best fits the interests of our community — Josh Shapiro.
Since 2011, Republican lawmakers have dominated the Pennsylvania state legislature with a voting majority to pass harmful legislation attacking reproductive rights, democracy, and marginalized communities.
To that end, whoever is elected governor has immense power to veto or pass every bill the state legislature sends to their desk. And, for the last eight years, our current governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, has acted as the only safeguard against the Republicans’ harmful agenda. At a time when our most fundamental rights are in question with a partisan Supreme Court, exemplified by their recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade and blocking access to healthcare for millions, the person who sits behind the governor’s desk is more important than ever.
Meet Josh Shapiro
Inspired by his parents’ careers in public service, Josh Shapiro has tirelessly pursued a career as a public servant and has upheld values of equality and justice. Shortly after graduating from the University of Rochester, Shapiro simultaneously worked in government while attending Georgetown University Law Center at night. When he was first elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, Shapiro helped oust corrupt legislators and supported legislation strengthening Pennsylvania’s hate crimes laws. He continued to further progressive causes in his role as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners in Montgomery County and was later elected to a state-wide seat as Pennsylvania's attorney general in 2016.
In these roles, working with Democrats and Republicans alike, Shapiro ensured economic stability, advocated for LGBTQ marriage equality, and assisted in the exposure of the Catholic Church’s history of sexual abuse. Additionally, during his tenure as attorney general, Shapiro negotiated an agreement with two of our state’s largest insurance companies to protect healthcare access for 2 million Pennsylvanians. Shapiro’s record continues to show his support for expanding healthcare coverage and unwavering defense for those most disenfranchised in our state.
As governor, Shapiro is determined to improve mental health resources in public education, support unions, end capital punishment, raise the minimum wage to $15, invest in clean energy, and expand protections to issues affecting marginalized groups, including an individual’s right to choose.
Meet Doug Mastriano
Doug Mastriano, unlike Shapiro, has a long history of attacking marginalized groups and upholding far-right, extremist views. Earning four master's degrees and a Ph.D. in history, Mastriano is also a veteran, having served in the United States Army. His military career and education, however, are largely undermined and disgraced by his extremist views and hateful rhetoric toward Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable.
Mastriano subscribes to a plethora of dangerous and baseless conspiracy theories — including The Big Lie, defying the election of President Joe Biden. He held prayers for people to “seize the power” days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, later attending the insurrection. This stands in stark opposition to Shapiro, who is committed to protecting and expanding voting rights across the state. As attorney general, he oversaw and won cases against baseless voter fraud claims, upholding truth and democracy.
Mastriano was elected to the state senate only three years ago, yet has an exhaustive background in supporting anti-abortion, anti-working-class, and anti-democratic legislation. As a state senator, Mastriano led the fight against the right to choose, proposing a bill that would charge someone with murder if they received an abortion. All the while, Mastriano has continued to target the working class by voting against a minimum wage increase of $9.50 and advocating for reducing per-student school funding by $10,000 annually.
As governor, Mastriano will restrict access to abortion, increase access to firearms, invest in fossil fuels, lower taxes for corporations, and ban transgender students from using the restroom of their preference. From school boards to members of his own party alike, many concede Doug Mastriano’s agenda does not match that of Pennsylvanians. All this is further confirmation of the damage he will cause to Pennsylvania if elected as our next governor.
Last month on Locust Walk, students, faculty, and community members expressed why they will be voting this November in our #WhyIVote campaign. From upholding democracy to protecting reproductive rights and the planet, our community reflects the values of equity, equality, and justice consistently upheld by Josh Shapiro. We encourage you to vote blue — for Josh Shapiro and for Democrats down the ballot.
We join the United Steelworkers, the Human Rights Campaign, CeaseFirePA, Black Economic Alliance, and many, many others in endorsing Josh Shapiro as Pennsylvania’s 49th governor.
If you want Pennsylvania to uphold your right to democratic elections, right to choose, and equal rights regardless of background, then make sure to have your voice heard on Nov. 8. Let’s elect Josh Shapiro and other Democrats to move Pennsylvania forward.
PENN DEMOCRATS is a student-run political organization dedicated to promoting progressive political values on and off campus. For more information on voting, please visit penndems.org. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.