Vote responsibly: Shapiro for governor, Fetterman for Senate

York Dispatch editorial board

While he may not come across as a textbook politician, U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has a traditional sense of the role: that of public servant rather than partisan provocateur.

That’s a result of a lifetime devoted to serving others in his native Pennsylvania, from his work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to his time with AmeriCorps in Pittsburgh, to his success in bringing new life and opportunity to Braddock in his decade-plus term as mayor of that western Pennsylvania borough.

After winning a five-way primary and the general election in 2018, Democrat Fetterman ascended to the lieutenant governor’s office, where he has advocated for criminal justice reforms and rights for LGBTQ and other marginalized Pennsylvanians.

Former President Barrack Obama, left, finishes his remarks and welcomes Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, to the stage during a campaign rally in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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A serious stroke in March has impeded Fetterman’s communications abilities, but have in no way changed his positions on issues he would tackle in Washington, including protecting women’s rights, opposing election-denial efforts, and expanding access to quality health care.

His opponent, longtime New Jersey resident Dr. Mehmet Oz, is part of a class of 2022 Republican candidates who seem to believe achieving a level of celebrity in the public eye entitles them to high political office. Like writer J.D Vance, former NFL star Herschel Walker, and onetime TV news anchor Kari Lake, Oz hopes to ride name recognition and an endorsement by former President Donald Trump to public office.

This presumption insults voters. Oz has failed to demonstrate a connection with, or understanding of, Pennsylvania, its issues or its citizens.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is the clear choice to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate.

Shapiro for governor: It would be difficult to endorse Republican candidate Doug Mastriano for governor even if he were running unopposed. Not just difficult, but irresponsible.

The two-term state senator’s embrace of Donald Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election has grown tiresome. Worse than that, it’s dangerous. His stated intention to appoint “a voting reform-minded individual” as secretary of state who would be empowered to decertify the state’s voting machines is an indefensible assault on state residents’ voting rights. And his cocooned campaign, in which he ignores legitimate media and more than half of state residents (those who are not enrolled Republicans), ought to frighten every right-minded Pennsylvanian, regardless of political persuasion.

Fortunately, Mastriano is not running unopposed. Voters have a reliable, responsible and accessible alternative in Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro.

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's Democratic nominee for governor, speaks to the crowd during a campaign event at Adams County Democratic Party headquarters, Sept. 17, 2022, in Gettysburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

As a state representative, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and, since 2017, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Shapiro has amassed an impressive record of defending the public’s fiscal, civic and political interests.

He has repeatedly shown himself willing to take on entrenched interests – from elected officials to corporate CEOs to the Catholic Church – in defense of state residents. And recall, it was Shapiro who successfully defended the state in several court battles following the 2020 election from efforts to nullify the ballots of some 6.8 million voters.

Unlike his opponent, he has a laid out a comprehensive and inclusive platform that make priorities of expanding access to quality healthcare, safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ residents and those with disabilities, and protecting women’s reproductive rights – a vital position given the Republican legislative majority’s eagerness to restrict those rights in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to rescind Roe vs. Wade.

As even many Republicans in the state have made clear, Josh Shapiro is by far the best choice to serve as Pennsylvania’s next governor.