Interview with Congressman Jim Gerlach

In the political climate of today, with conservatism becoming  quite the mainstream, it is going to be difficult to examine candidates’ platforms based on their campaign speeches, sound bites, photo ops, and press releases.  Running a campaign for those in the “industry” is seemless and well-funded.  Answers to questions flow off the tongue, sometimes all too easily, causing a voter to question the authenticity of the candidate.

In Pennsylvania, the race to the governor’s mansion should be quite intense.  There are several candidates throwing their hats into the ring, one being Republican US Congressman Jim Gerlach.  I had the opportunity to speak with Congressman Gerlach regarding his run for governor of Pennsylvania.

We spoke of issues on the state and national front.  First, I addressed the fact that we’re seeing the agenda of this administration to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” (candidate Obama, October 31, 2008) continually stress social and economic justice. I asked the congressman, is the premise of constitutionality ever discussed; because these pieces of legislation have a strong tendency to redistribute wealth and for most Americans these bills should never even make it to the floor of either house of Congress because of the apparent overreaching role of the federal government .

Congressman Gerlach acknowledged, “Certainly there are a lot of people who are very concerned about the President’s agenda with regards to healthcare, energy, and economic policy.  He’s certainly taking us in a direction that many people don’t want to go and could be very costly to us as a nation relative to what the tax burden will have to be pay for the increase in size and scope of government.”  Gerlach continued, “The policies are very far-reaching and are going to have a dramatic impact on our ability to grow the economy, sustain our quality of life, increase our quality, and to provide opportunities for people to earn a good living the way the Founder’s anticipated.”

I asked Gerlach about the political climate of conservatism and its mainstream rise.  I also cautioned that voters are very skeptical of candidates branding themselves conservatives because of the misrepresentation.  Gerlach is perceived to be a centrist, but his voting record is fairly consistent with those on the right. He is pro-life, pro-business, and has a common sense approach to fiscal policy, including low taxes.  He does understand that families are stretched and does not want to strain that more.

At the state level, I asked the Congressman Gerlach about the privatization of the state liquor stores.  Yes, PA has state stores.  Gerlach acknowledged, “It’s an issue that’s been around for decades.  I would like to see Pennsylvania  voters have more power to direct policy through a ballot initiative and I would like to amend the Pennsylvania  constitution to allow Pennsylvania voters to have the power.”  Power to the people.  That would be very welcomed in Pennsylvania.

Gerlach continued, “ We have an agenda that appeals to Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters.  Common sense ideas and initiatives, lower business taxes to expand job creation, putting a cap on spending, cap state spending, changing to a two-year budget process,  improving the transportation infrastructure, and for  transportation getting rid of state no-bid contracts to be open and transparent, increased competition.”

 If he adheres to this agenda, it will be a winning agenda because Pennsylvania has seen enough of the business as usual and it is time for someone to inject purposeful reform in Harrisburg for the benefit of the people–by the people of Pennsylvania and for the people of Pennsylvania.  Congressman Gerlach has the perfect political stage set to clean up the state and prove once and for all that conservative principles work for the greater good.   He also has an interesting career—starting in the PA state legislature, then the US Congress, and now onto Governor.  Voters cannot take that for granted.  Congressman Gerlach has a birds-eye view of the current administration’s agenda and what the consequences could be.  He also knows what needs to be done stateside to offset them.

I have been using the term common sense conservatism (CSC) for some time now—before it was “mainstream” –and that is the approach Gerlach is taking.  Whether it’s the tea parties, DC marches, telephone calls, or emails, it does have a sense of awakening to Gerlach.  He is hearing his constituents.   He has been fair in voting and has sided with his constituents—especially voting no on the stimulus, cap and trade, Obama’s budget, and, most recently, healthcare.  He has remained unified with the GOP minority in the House and appears to understand what’s at stake—our freedom—the way the Founders intended it.

Will PA voters look at his record for either what it is or see that there are some veteran politicians who do get the big picture—from all sides of the aisle?   Only time will tell.  But, I can guarantee that the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race will be one to watch.

 More information can be found at: www.gerlach4pa.com