JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Dave White describes himself as a “blue-collar” guy who wants to bring a “businesslike mentality” to state government.
He is the owner of a HVAC and plumbing company in suburban Philadelphia. His background also includes serving for 18 years as a Ridley Township commissioner and for six years on Delaware County Council.
White, a Republican, is running for governor of Pennsylvania, having announced his bid last week. He said his candidacy is about “energy, enthusiasm and optimism for the future of Pennsylvania” during an interview at The Tribune-Democrat on Thursday.
When asked what inspired him to run, White said he became “frustrated” with how the state government handled the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically business closures.
“Just over the past 18 months, with the way government has really overreached and I believe has done things that they shouldn’t have, I believe they put so many businesses out of business that will never return – and these are businesses that could have operated safely,” White said. “We were all concerned about the COVID virus, but we could have opened safely, like my business eventually did.”
White talked about ways to build up communities such as Johnstown, which has been in the commonwealth’s Act 47 program for distressed municipalities since 1992 while dealing with poverty, drug issues and population loss for decades.
“We approach a town like Johnstown how we approach the state,” White said. “We need to grow jobs, grow industry in Pennsylvania. We have the resources beneath Pennsylvania to be the energy capital of the United States.
“I’ve said talking to many people across this whole state, ‘I don’t want to be like Texas. I want to beat Texas,’ and we can do that, and that’s going to help everyone throughout the state with wage growth, with opportunity, with job growth.”
He added: “We’re going to work and make sure the working men and women have an opportunity – the opportunity that I’ve had to get ahead and do better.”
White is one of more than a dozen Republicans who have either announced gubernatorial candidacies or started exploring the possibility of entering the race.
“I’m one of 14 kids, so I’m used to being at that dinner table with all these people and being able to eat, so I have no problem with a lot of candidates,” White said. “I’m used to it. I think they’re the ones that are probably a little uncomfortable with me.”