Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Pittsburgh, Pa. Friday for a rally in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
Before the rally, Mastriano spoke with The Epoch Times about the powers governors have and do not have.
“My goal is to model my leadership as governor of the state in the fashion of Ron DeSantis, where it’s for the protection and the betterment of people, and actually upholding their constitutional rights, instead of treading upon them,” Mastriano told The Epoch Times.
Things in Pennsylvania would have been dramatically different if he had been governor during the pandemic, Mastriano said, adding that it is easy to say that in hindsight, but the bills he proposed and actions he took as a state Senator proves it.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mastriano took to Facebook live most evenings, chatting with thousands of Pennsylvanians—hearing their concerns in real-time. He called mandatory masking and unequal application of business closures unconstitutional, and he reminded people that to be free of restrictions, they must take it upon themselves to “walk as free people,” which is now a key phase in his campaign.
When a barber and a few restaurants decided to defy the governor’s pandemic orders to close, Mastriano and a few other state lawmakers visited them and offered support.
Unable to maintain business during the shutdown, some businesses remained closed after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
“We would have notified people of the threats, as delineated by the CDC and Department of Health, and then leave it up to the people themselves to decide whether to keep the mask on. We’d leave it up to the people themselves, whether to take the jab or not. We’d leave it up to the businesses, whether they wanted to remain open, and what that would look like, being open or not,” Mastriano said.
“It would be completely in their hands, as it always should have been, and so it would have been modeled after what we saw down in Florida.”
The governor only has limited powers during an emergency shutdown, and the rest of the policies must come through the General Assembly, Mastriano said.
“The dangers of having a governor that’s out of control during an emergency as we saw [in Pennsylvania] is probably personified between the difference of Gov. Tom Wolf and the DeSantis.”
A year into the pandemic, Mastriano said, the Senate Education Committee held hearings, and worked to remove the mandated mandatory masking of school children, and put the decision in the hands of parents.
As Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, the Democrat running for governor, went to court to keep masking in place, and the decision in the hands of elected officials, Mastriano said.
“What a difference a strong, good leader can make at the state level. We saw it not only in Florida, but also in South Dakota, in Texas, and a few other states. And we saw it for ill, in Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, and California,” he said.
“That’s the power of the executive right there. And my goal as governor is to use those powers to the benefit of the people and not to their detriment,” Mastriano said.
‘Unite and Win’
Some 1,500 supporters attended the “Unite and Win” rally. It was one of three this week, sponsored by Turning Point Action.
DeSantis also stumped in Phoenix, Arizona for Blake Masters, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and Kari Lake, Republican candidate for governor; and in Girard, Ohio for J.D. Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
“Gov. DeSantis is America’s Governor and one of the most popular leaders in the country,” Charlie Kirk, founder, and president of Turning Point Action said in a statement.
“He has become the model for a new conservative movement that is willing to stand on principle and to actually fight on behalf of the values of his voters. That he is willing to throw the full weight of his support behind Kari, Doug, Blake, and J.D.—tells you everything you need to know about these incredible candidates who I endorse and support 100 percent,” Kirk said.
“We believe Kari Lake will be the Ron DeSantis of the West, Doug has become a true grassroots champion for the people of Pennsylvania, and Blake and J.D. will help break apart the uni-party consensus in Washington, D.C. to stop the endless wars, the runaway spending and put an end to the cocktail party Republicans who seem to be good at one thing only, betraying their voters.”