Given the commotion surrounding the campaigns of Dave White, Jake Corman, Bill McSwain and Doug Mastriano to name a few, one name has been particularly inconspicuous – Jason Richey.
Richey, 50, entered the new year fourth among Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidates with nearly $1.5 million cash on hand. But unlike White, Corman and McSwain, you haven’t seen his name splashed over the airwaves. Yet.
Richey, who grew up in Aliquippa and attended Hopewell High School, is a partner and practices law at the K&L Gates firm in Pittsburgh, working on construction, energy and bid protest law.
His decision to run for governor came about from two factors – an “abuse of power” by Gov. Tom Wolf and the economic decline he feels the state has been in for years. He told the Beaver County Times that he was unsettled by Wolf’s actions in the early days of the pandemic and his belief that the governor acted like a “dictator” with emergency powers, ignoring pullbacks from the state legislature.
Then there is the economy. Richey said for the past half-century, Pennsylvania has been in an economic decline, noting places in Western PA such as New Castle, Waynesburg and Uniontown that are struggling economically. He is proposing a gradual reduction to a zero percent income tax to retain residents and attract new ones. Richey added that an income tax penalizes people who work.
His “Contract With Pennsylvania” is a 10-point plan that Richey says not only lets voters know what his views are, but also to ensure accountability on what he promised if elected.
The plan includes protecting Constitutional rights and freedoms; establishing energy independence; ensuring election integrity; and eliminating “worthless commissions” such as the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Liquor Control Board (PLCB).
“I want people to feel comfortable that I will follow through on the promises,” Richey said. “I think the Contract With Pennsylvania separates me in a lot of ways from other candidates.”
He also said he would like to change the Department of Environmental Protection to be more “pro-growth” and less restrictive, remove the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and implement a permitting system to where if no government action is done in 60 days, the permits are deemed approved.
Richey told KDKA he’s pro-life but would not enact Texas-style restrictions on abortion rights unless the Supreme Court gives the green light to do so.
“I’m running as a conservative political outsider who is not a career politician. I’m not connected to the political machine,” Richey said. “I’m someone who is running to become governor for the people, and to put Pennsylvania first for a change and not some political career.”
It was not lost on the former Allegheny College wrestler that since the 1960s, Pennsylvania has had four Republican governors – all from western PA. If elected, Richey would be the first Beaver County-born governor in Commonwealth history.
“I am a blue-collar kid from Aliquippa, Pa., worked in the steel mills, a three-time All-American academic wrestler, and I have never taken a taxpayer paycheck in my life. I have always worked in the private sector,” Richey said. “I don’t owe anyone anything, and I’m here to make a difference for the people of Pennsylvania.”