Adams County Dems welcome Shapiro

Gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro visited Gettysburg Saturday afternoon to rally county Democrats for his campaign to win governorship of Pennsylvania in November. More than 150 supporters filled the new county committee headquarters at 52 Chambersburg Street.

Outside the venue, a handful of so-called MAGA supporters mounted a mini demonstration touting State Senator Doug Mastriano, the conservative candidate for the commonwealth’s top administrative post. County Democrat Committee Chair Marcia Wilson said the event had been kept as quiet as possible at the request of the Shapiro campaign to limit possible violence or other interference by Mastriano supporters.

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“We do not want to call attention to ourselves … not at this moment,” Wilson said while waiting for Shapiro to arrive. “This is our reception for Josh Shapiro.”

After brief introductory remarks from Wilson and state representative candidate Marty Qually, Shapiro offered a fiery commentary beginning with, “Our rights and our freedoms are being taken away from us.”

Among the changes he hoped to make as governor, he listed better education funding, ending reliance on standardized testing, and increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Shapiro also promised to make the state’s communities safer with “2,000 more police officers on the streets all across Pennsylvania.”

He pointed an accusing finger at drug companies which he said had caused the opioid crisis that “kills 15 Pennsylvanians every single day. Drug addiction is a disease and not a crime, and we’re going to treat it that way,” he said.

Shapiro said the state’s “next big fight … comes in 52 days and it comes when we defeat Doug Mastriano,” who he characterized as “the most dangerous and extreme person to ever run for governor in Pennsylvania,”

Shapiro acknowledge the current conservative composition of the state legislature, noting it likely would “put a bill on the desk of the next governor to take away a woman’s right to choose.” Mastriano would sign the bill into law, Shapiro said.

“Let me tell you what I will do,” he said. “I’ll invite you all to Harrisburg (for) a veto signing ceremony.”

He encouraged his supporters, describing U.S. history as a series of chapters marked by threats to the nation’s continuance. But, he said, “Every chapter ends with us making forward progress … more freedom.”

Qually, of Gettysburg, is making a run to oust Representative Dan Moul, who for the past 15 years has held the District 91 post in the state House of Representatives.

“I only run to win,” Qually said. He has run previously in this heavily conservative district, where voter registration in his home county of Adams is weighted about 2-to-1 in favor of Republicans.

Moul “still has no record to stand on” after a decade and-a-half in office, Qually said.

Of Moul’s recent support of Mastriano, Qually said the Conewago Township native “has always been an extremist. Qually said Moul lacked the courage to act until Mastriano appeared on the political scene to replace then Sen. Rich Alloway, who, in 2019, had announced his resignation from the District 33 seat.

“The tide has turned for me,” Qually told the assembly Saturday. “For me the tide was 10 days before the Primary (election in May).”

Wilson said the voter numbers appear to be changing as Republicans unhappy with recent party directions become libertarians and independents, and as more liberal voters move to the area from other states.

During her opening remarks, Wilson said efforts are underway toward “expanding our committee in the county.” She called for party members’ assistance in encouraging participation among the county’s voters.

After the event, she explained most of the committee’s 32 members are from the county’s southern region, centered on Gettysburg and Littlestown, but that the county’s 50 voter precincts are entitled to two committee members each.

“That leaves a lot of people who are not represented,” she said.

“It’s not going to happen with just one person,” she said of Democrat efforts to win the upcoming gubernatorial and legislative contests.

All the contests are scheduled to be decided in the Nov. 8 election.

Featured image caption: Gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro, center, greets some of more than 150 Adams County Democrats who welcomed him to the party’s county headquarters Saturday afternoon. [John Messeder]

John Messeder is a freelance reporter and photographer who resides in Cumberland Township. He may be contacted at john@johnmesseder.com

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Laurel Thrasher
Laurel Thrasher
1 year ago

Kudos to Gettysburg Connection for joining ranks with Patriot News, PBS Spotlight, and the New Yorker to cover the Josh Shapiro Meet and Greet yesterday. Sadly, our own Gettysburg Times was not there to cover this important event.

Laurel Thrasher
Laurel Thrasher
1 year ago

The address of the new spacious Adams County Democratic HQ is 24 Chambersburg St, not 52.
I was happy to see a contingent of students from Gettysburg College in attendance. Josh Shapiro gave an inspiring speech listing his accomplishments as well as his agenda if elected. He’s a fighter and winner, having defeated Trump’s lawyers 43 times. There could be no better candidate to fight the dangerous agenda of Mastriano than Josh Shapiro.

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