Congratulations to Rob Gleason and other Republican Party leaders and volunteers for a resounding triumph at the polls this week – a product of their hard work across Pennsylvania and here in our region.
The work to connect with voters and drive turnout carried Donald Trump to the White House, buoyed by the first Republican presidential victory in Pennsylvania since 1988, and retained Pat Toomey’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
Turnout in Somerset, Cambria and Bedford counties was very high – an amazing 82 percent in Bedford – and lifted U.S. Reps. Bill Shuster and Keith Rothfus to re-election in the 9th and 12th districts, respectively, and Wayne Langerholc to a seat in the state Senate. All three are Republicans.
Trump held large, enthusiastic rallies in Cambria and Blair counties, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence visited Johnstown in the weeks before Election Day.
This a great moment for Gleason and his team at the state and county levels.
Gleason said he will serve on Trump’s transition team and may stay with the president-elect after he assumes office in January.
“It was a clean sweep for the Republicans,” said Gleason, a Westmont resident and the state GOP chairman, who characterized the Republican response at the polls in Pennsylvania as “a tsunami.”
“I guess people are now starting to call it a red state,” the state GOP chairman said.
For Pennsylvania and communities across our region, red must mean “go.”
Shuster was a vocal supporter of Trump and Toomey. After winning on Tuesday night, Shuster said “the message” of the election is “Republicans working together to get things done.”
That must be what happens to validate the faith placed in these leaders.
Local Republicans – party leaders and elected officials alike – must now follow through on their promises to work with Trump and make a difference in our communities.
The agenda must include:
• Easing regulations and balancing the playing field for manufacturing and energy jobs that are so crucial to our region.
• Enhancing transportation to and from our region, led by completion of
Route 219 south into Maryland and the expansion of passenger rail service through Johnstown and Altoona.
• Reducing federal spending and bringing down the deficit to ease the burden on middle-class taxpayers.
• Slowing the flood of dangerous drugs into our country and communities and working to provide local police with adequate resources to fight crime.
• Supporting local communities in their efforts to erase blight, tackle their pension concerns and rebuild their economies.
• Giving rural America – rural Pennsylvania – a seat at the table as these and other important issues are addressed.
The Republican movement of 2016 energized and mobilized working-class voters who believed government had failed them and their dreams of good jobs and a voice in politics.
The job before Republicans in Washington, Harrisburg and here in our region for 2017 and beyond is clear:
Don’t let the same people get left behind again.