JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate John Shapiro visited Johnstown Thursday to kick off his General Election Campaign.
Shapiro spoke on a range of topics that included education funding, school safety, policing, abortion and affordable internet access to underserved communities.
Ahead of his remarks, Johnstown Mayor Frank Janakovic introduced Shapiro to the podium in front of the Firefighters Memorial Bridge on Franklin Street saying he will help rebuild and provide much-needed funding for the city.
“We really feel Attorney General Shapiro will also find that funding that we need to bring our schools back into safety, our police officers, our support systems, our mental health systems and all the things that are lacking out there so we can all in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States feel safe again sending our kids to school and going out and shopping,” Mayor Janakovic said.
Shapiro echoed the Mayor’s remarks on funding and highlighted the need for better education in schools by providing necessary resources and vocational education opportunities. He continued by saying as Governor he would work to provide mental health counselors in every school in the state for students looking for help.
“Our kid’s mental health challenges are real and its high time that we address that in our schools,” Shapiro said.
The Attorney General expressed the importance of safe communities and said he would hire 2,000 more police officers in communities across the state as Governor. He also added that it’s important for law enforcement and the community to be brought closer together to build a relationship.
“When you hire more police officers, that’s an opportunity for that police officer to get out of the patrol car and walk the streets and see the humanity in our children and know their names and listen to the people who really run the neighborhoods,” Shapiro said. “That is a critical thing that government must do, that is keeping people safe.”
Shapiro turned to the topic of the economy saying too many people in underserved communities across the state are being left out and said the solution begins with being connected to affordable and high-speed internet. He also said that he would be an ‘all of the above’ energy governor and will help grow the energy economy by creating more green energy jobs.
The gubernatorial then spoke about his Republican opponent Doug Mastriano saying he has no meaningful plan to help improve the state and claimed he will work to take away Pennsylvanians’ rights citing abortion, jobs, unions, education and voting. He continued saying it’s up to the citizens of the commonwealth to defend their freedoms.
Shapiro closed his speech by saying people have the power to defend democracy and to help communities like Johnstown from being forgotten. He also expressed optimism for the future saying that while there are many challenges that surround politics, there are brighter days ahead.
“We will rise up together, we will meet this moment, we will do our part, we will meet our responsibility, we will win an election and we will have brighter days tomorrow,” Shapiro said before thanking the crowd and walking off the stage.
The 48-year-old visited 19 counties across the state two weeks before the Primary Election. He was last in Central Pennsylvania on May 13 when he campaigned in Bedford County alongside Lieutenant Governor candidate Austin Davis.