Jason Richey, 49, a native of Aliquippa, Beaver County, and partner of Pittsburgh’s K&L Gates law firm, has entered the 2022 GOP Pennsylvania gubernatorial race to succeed the current Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, who is in his second and final term.
Richey has never held public office before. He told The Epoch Times, “We need to have a political outsider like myself, who has had 25 years of law experience. [I am known] as an expert in state law. I’ve spent my time representing energy construction, in addition to doing state law issues in 40 different states and finding corruption. I’ve represented the energy industry, construction industry, and manufacturing industry.”
Government Mismanagement During the COVID-19 Crisis
When asked what prompted him to run for governor, he said, “Well, I was initially very upset by our government’s response to COVID. … there were nursing home patients that were sent to the hospital, and they were COVID positive. And Governor Wolf ordered those patients back into the nursing homes, which was very dangerous for all of the elderly that were still in those nursing homes that didn’t have COVID.”
He continued, “It’s one of the reasons I’m running for governor because we have to have good people that care about the health and safety of everyone when you have that kind of power.”
“We had a governor that was picking winners and losers, letting some businesses go forward … his own cabinet company was allowed to proceed with the business, but his competitors were denied exemptions. And then he took over dictator powers, under the Emergency Powers Act, which is something that never should have happened.”
“With the legal cover of [Attorney General] Josh Shapiro, the Wolf administration’s arbitrary COVID-19 policies significantly damaged Pennsylvania’s economy in the short term.”
Richey’s 12-Point Plan: A Contract With Pennsylvanians
The “Keystone State” is incredibly rich in natural resources, but according to Richey, the Commonwealth is growing slower than most other states, and economic productivity remains on a downward spiral, while taxes and government continue to grow.
He said, “Pennsylvania’s lack of long-term economic and population growth has been caused by Harrisburg’s failed leadership and its archaic laws.”
Richey said that if elected, he will initiate his “Contract with Pennsylvanians,” a 12-point plan for “The Great Pennsylvania Comeback.”
“The Contract with Pennsylvania is a contract with our citizens to renew their individual rights and make their government accountable to them. It’s a contract to energize the growth and prosperity of the citizens of this great state, well into the future,” he said.
The points of the contract are: Ensure Liberty and Transparency; Increase Wealth & Create More Jobs; Responsibly Shrink Government, Spending & Property Taxes; Election Integrity; Fund the Police and Ensure Security; Support the Development of All Types of Energy & Manufacturing; Improve Education Choice and Competition; Reduce Health Care Cost and Protect Life; Improve a High-Speed Rail System and Infrastructure; Eliminate the Turnpike Commission; Eliminate the Liquor Control Board; and Improve the Election Process & the Judiciary.
Abating the Uncontrolled Growth of Government and Taxes
The need to trim the size and scope of government is very obvious to Richey.
Pennsylvania has the most expensive and largest full-time legislature in the country, with 253 legislators. Conversely, the most populous state, California, only has 120 legislators. The state executive branch is also bloated with too many departments, he said.
“We have 2,563 municipalities, which is the third most in the country. And we have 500 school districts, which is the seventh most in the country.”
If municipalities and school districts were to be consolidated, Richey said that would result in lower local property taxes for Pennsylvanians.
He also noted that excessive regulations plague businesses that try to operate in Pennsylvania.
To make Pennsylvania competitive again, increasing wealth and creating more jobs, he stressed the need to eliminate both the state personal and business income taxes and establish a 0 percent income tax rate.
“The moment this change becomes effective, Pennsylvania will instantly be competitive again with other states. Such change will unleash the economic power Pennsylvania is capable of.”
He maintains that all Pennsylvania tax revenue could be effectively collected through sales taxes and consumption taxes imposed on people who do not live in the state.
These fiscal changes would thus “accelerate the state’s economic recovery from decades of decline and create tens of thousands of new jobs.”
He believes that with a “laser focus,” integrity and trust can be restored in our elections and government institutions.
Richey and his wife Melissa are raising three teenage sons.
In addition to Richey, four more Republicans have declared for the Republican primary’s nomination: former congressman Lou Barletta, restaurant owner and former Corry Mayor Jason Monn, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, and cardiothoracic surgeon Nche Zama.
To date, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro has been the only Democrat to express interest in running for the position.
Lily Sun contributed to this report.