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Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro is stressing the need for safety in the commonwealth and insists abortion will play a factor in the state’s upcoming midterm election.
Speaking to Fox News Digital in an interview on Wednesday, Shapiro, the current attorney general in Pennsylvania, outlined the motives behind his campaign and said that his travels throughout the state have taught him that voters are concerned about safety, the economy and their child’s education.
“I travel all across Pennsylvania, rural, urban, suburban districts,” Shapiro said. “I hear about folks wanting to make sure their kids get a good quality education, their communities are safe, that we can actually grow our economy and cut costs, and that we can protect our fundamental freedoms, whether it’s the right to vote or the right to be able to make decisions over your own body.”
In response to statistics from Pennsylvania’s Uniform Crime Reporting System that revealed murder and non-negligent homicide increased nearly 38% in Pennsylvania from 2017 to 2021, Shapiro said that if he is elected he will hire thousands of police officers to safeguard communities in the state because a lot of areas in the state “don’t have adequate policing.”
Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro said Wednesday that abortion is “on people’s minds” ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
“First and foremost, the good people of Pennsylvania have a right to both be safe in their communities and also to feel safe in their communities,” Shapiro said. “We have a number of ways we’re going to do that. First, as governor, I am going to hire more than 2,000 police officers for the Commonwealth. We have too many areas that don’t have adequate policing,” he said.
“Look, law enforcement trusts me to get the job done,” he asserted.
“We also have to acknowledge that in order to address some of this violence, you got to make underlying investments in things like mental health and poverty, create more jobs and invest in our infrastructure,” he added. “Those are things that are also going to help us mitigate some of these safety issues. But the bottom line here is we need to make sure that we have adequate law enforcement in our communities.”
Regarding abortion and what role it will play as voters begin filling out their ballots for the November general election, Shapiro said he thinks “it’s on people’s minds” and will ultimately sway people to vote for him over his Republican opponent, Doug Mastriano.
“I can tell you it’s on people’s minds, Republicans and Democrats,” he said, and claimed that GOP women have hosted an event for him because of his pro-choice positions.
“A group of Republican women hosted it for me [and] told me they’d never voted for a Democrat before. But because of the Dobbs decision, because of the fact that they felt the Supreme Court took away a right and that my opponent is just so dangerous and extreme on this issue — I mean, by far the most extreme in the nation, leaves no room for exceptions — they felt that it was time to cross party lines and support me.”
Abortion activists rally on July 4, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Hannah Beier/Getty Images)
Shapiro was also asked whether he agreed with recent rhetoric from President Biden that claimed “MAGA Republicans” are a threat to America’s democracy and insisted it’s not his “approach” to handling things and affirmed that he has “no patience” for those who question the legitimacy of elections.
“I think it’s important that we treat all Pennsylvanians with respect, all Americans with respect,” he said. “I recognize that in a commonwealth of 13 million people, not everybody’s going to vote for me. I may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but the bottom line is, it’s my responsibility now as attorney general, and God willing as the next governor, to represent all 13 million people, to treat folks with respect, to bring people together, to recognize that there may be an issue we have profound disagreement on, but then there may be another issue where we can find some common ground and work together.”
Pressed on whether he believed Biden’s remarks were divisive, Shapiro stated, “It’s just not my approach.”
Shapiro, who has received numerous endorsements from prominent Republican leaders throughout the state, said he is focused on “trying to bring everybody in to try and see where we can find some common ground to try and protect our freedoms and protect our democracy” and claimed he has “no patience for folks who would, you know, lie about our democracy, who try and compromise our freedom, who don’t understand, of course, that we did have a free and fair, safe and secure election the last time.”
Shapiro told Fox News Digital “it’s not clear” to him whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis acted lawfully by flying illegal migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for SEIU)
Briefly discussing the crisis along the southern border, which is continuously pressured with a constant flow of migrants trying to enter the country, Shapiro offered his take on the decision by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to fly illegal migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts — a move he suggested could be unlawful.
“I think as governor, it’s my responsibility to obviously follow the law,” he said. “It’s not clear to me that Governor DeSantis is doing that.”
“It’s clear that the federal government needs to get its act together and have comprehensive immigration reform,” Shapiro added. “Respectfully, this has been an issue through Republican and Democratic administrations. I think there’s bipartisan blame to go around. Washington, D.C., needs to get its act together and do something about this issue.”
Shapiro will go head-to-head with Mastriano in the state’s Nov. 8 gubernatorial election. The campaigns have not agreed to any debates ahead of Election Day.
Kyle Morris covers politics for Fox News. On Twitter: @RealKyleMorris.