By VAL DiGIORGIO
Regardless of where I go, I will always be a South Philly kid at heart.
I loved growing up there, and I was saddened as I watched our neighborhood decline. Schools got worse, crime increased and taxes went up and up.
I asked my father at a young age: Why do we keep voting for the same people over and over and expect things to get better?
That South Philly kid was inspired to get into Republican politics by leaders such as Jack Kemp. Leaders who believed the Republican Party needs to have a message for inner-city America of all colors and creeds.
It’s for this very reason that I am excited about Scott Wagner’s candidacy for governor.
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania endorsed, and Republican voters across Pennsylvania nominated, a candidate that has a history of engaging with voters that Republicans don’t traditionally win over and talking to them about their issues.
Whether it’s discussing criminal justice reform with reformed gang leaders in Philadelphia’s 16th Ward or talking to workers in small western Pennsylvania towns about work-force training and developing skills for a modern economy or increasing the minimum wage, Scott has the ideas and the willingness to reach a segment of voters at once courted by President Donald Trump and also forgotten about by Republican candidates for decades.
Scott also has a message that can appeal to all corners of Pennsylvania.
While his proposals for respecting taxpayer dollars, bringing fiscal accountability to Pennsylvania, enhancing school safety, and combatting the opioid crisis have universal appeal, he also has proposals that would appeal outside of the traditional conservative box.
In his support of criminal justice reform, raising the minimum wages, and anti-discrimination measures related to housing and employment, Scott Wagner has developed proposals and forwarded legislation will appeal to many voters in the Southeastern part of Pennsylvania.
In pushing concepts to enhance Pennsylvania’s skilled workforce depth and reduce red tape for entrepreneurs and the Pennsylvaniamade energy industry, Scott has the ability to appeal to more rural voters who are looking to find jobs in the growth industries that the Wolf administration has sought to keep at arm’s length.
By advocating for investment in workforce training, Scott will appeal to union workers all across the state and to workers in Pennsylvania who need family-sustaining jobs.
This is why I am excited every time I leave a meeting with Scott. He has something for everybody and he will not only be willing, but is ready and able, to go into places Republicans have not been for a long time and send a message of hope and selfrespect that people have been looking for.
Gov. Tom Wolf, who has no real record to run on (other than the Republican reform bills he signed), has already resorted to trying to assassinate the character of Scott Wagner.
I’m sure you will see more of that along the way.
But the Scott Wagner being portrayed by the Governor is not the Scott Wagner I know voters will come to know. That’s not the Scott Wagner who has built his businesses — and himself — from the ground up. That’s not the Scott Wagner who wants to help every Pennsylvanian find the same kind of success he has.
I look forward to working with Scott as he takes his message to every township, city and borough in Pennsylvania. Let the campaign begin!
Val DiGiorgio is the chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.