Wagner brings his campaign to the Northeast

Republican candidate for governor Scott Wagner stopped at the Dining Car to talk to Northeast residents.

On the campaign trail: Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for governor, smiles with Dining Car owner Nancy Morozin during a visit to the Northeast on Wednesday, July 18. SOURCE: SCOTT WAGNER CAMPAIGN

Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for governor, campaigned last week in the Northeast.

Wagner spent two-plus hours at the Dining Car on the morning of July 18, speaking with customers, staff and owner Nancy Morozin.

Next, he headed to Delaware Valley Sports Center, 101 Geiger Road, talking to customers, visitors to the shooting range and owner Tony Filippello.

Wagner was joined on the campaign trail by city Republican boss Mike Meehan and ward leaders Chris Vogler, Joe Giedemann, Ruth Birchett, Matt Wolfe and Ross Wolfe.

Also joining the Republicans was a tracker from American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal political action committee that records audio and video of GOP candidates.

Wagner enjoyed breakfast at the dining car, picking up the check for several customers, and bought a Smith & Wesson 380 EZ, ammunition and a holster at Delaware Valley Sports Center.

Wagner grew up on a York County farm and built a waste business. He won a state Senate seat in 2014, beating Republican and Democratic candidates with a write-in campaign. He resigned from the Senate last month to focus on the campaign for governor.

His lieutenant governor running mate is Jeff Bartos, a businessman from Montgomery County.

The Democratic ticket is Gov. Tom Wolf and John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock.

Though a recent Suffolk University/York Daily Record poll gave Wolf a lead of 49 percent to 36 percent, Wagner said he would rather spend his time and money traveling to meet voters than conduct expensive polls. He believes he is relating to voters and has a lead of 2 percent to 6 percent.

“This is where the action is,” he said at the Dining Car. “This is ripe. I’m a blue-collar guy. I grew up on a farm. I know how to work hard. I’m a high school graduate. I didn’t go to college. I went one year to tech school. Seventy-five percent of Pennsylvanians are blue collar.”

Meehan told Wagner he’ll need to limit his losses in Philadelphia. Wagner expects to do well in the city, at least a lot better than Gov. Tom Corbett did when he lost to Wolf in 2014. Corbett earned a little more than 45,000 votes, less than 12 percent of the citywide total.

“My personal goal is 150,000. I think I can get it,” Wagner said.

If he wins, Wagner will form a crisis team to address the opioid epidemic. The morning after the election, he’ll send “save the date” cards to district attorneys, coroners, county commissioners and others and have a summit within 30 days.

“It requires swift action,” he said.

In office, he would implement zero-based budgeting for departments and put metal scanners in schools for safety reasons. He’d also encourage schools to put a focus on students who might have a mental illness.

“It’s time for action. It’s touching everybody,” he said.

Another focus of schools, he believes, should be on identifying students who could have a future in skilled labor. He said there are a lot of those positions available now, and that they pay well.

As for the state’s high gasoline tax, he said people aren’t getting their money’s worth, contending that Pennsylvania’s highways are full of potholes, trash and high grass.

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On the same day that Wagner campaigned in the Northeast, the state Supreme Court upheld Philadelphia’s tax on soda and other sweetened beverages.

Wagner released the following statement:

“Now that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has made it clear that they will not step in to block Philadelphia’s soda tax, I think the people of Philadelphia deserve to know what their next governor will do on the issue,” he said. “It is my belief that this tax places an unfair burden on hardworking Philadelphians and is not even being used appropriately. As governor, I will work to end it.”

Wagner, a former state senator, criticized the soda tax during a town hall meeting that night in Glenside, referencing complaints he heard from people he met that morning at the Dining Car.

In June 2017, Wagner tried to hold a Senate Local Government Committee hearing in City Council chambers, but the hearing was shut down by noisy protesters.

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Mayor Jim Kenney will headline a fundraiser for state Rep. Jared Solomon on Aug. 15 at Buccann, a Caribbean restaurant at 7254 Castor Ave.

Tickets range from $100 to $2,500 and include dinner and drinks.

Solomon was unopposed in the primary and has no opponent in the general election. ••