Welcome to Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series! Each week, we reach out to candidates all across the Commonwealth up for election to public office — an equal number of Democrats and Republicans; incumbents and challengers. We ask one question per week about public policy pressing to you. Those answers are shared on our website every Wednesday.

If you are a PA candidate interested in participating, please reach out to lsattler@broadandliberty.com.

This week’s question: Why are you running for public office in Pennsylvania? If elected, what would be the top priorities of your administration?

Broad + Liberty thanks the following candidates for their reply. Click below to jump to responses from your district’s candidates!

Mehmet Oz (R), Running for U.S. Senate

Like many Americans, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night throughout the past two years and thinking, “What happened to our country?” We are supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave — but the radical mandates and lockdowns supported by my opponent, John Fetterman, took away our freedom and cost us too many lives, jobs, and opportunities. Washington and career politicians like Fetterman got it wrong on Covid just like they continue to get it wrong on inflation and gas prices, on crime and on our border, and in our schools. This is what I have heard across Pennsylvania, and it’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate.

I have fought on the biggest stages for everything from healthcare to national television on behalf of my patients and viewers. In the Senate, I would like to continue doing so in the areas of healthcare, education, and foreign relations. As a cardiac surgeon and television host, I have empowered individuals and fought against the special interests controlling our health-care system. I have also performed thousands of heart surgeries and invented medical devices that have saved lives. I will use my experience to fix our broken healthcare system by ensuring that Pennsylvanians have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Regarding education, I believe our tax dollars are going to school systems intent on pushing values that run counter to parents’ beliefs. This is an attack on families and is destabilizing the building blocks of our society. We need to redirect funding to go to students, not school systems. This begins by narrowing down the Department of Education’s control over local school systems and ensuring the funding follows the student.

I will also make sure America is respected again. Our adversaries, namely China, are watching our actions very closely, whether it’s the debacle in Afghanistan or our trepidation to sanction Russia. Pennsylvanians are concerned about our reliance on China and about Washington’s desire to ship jobs overseas. We must create jobs here in Pennsylvania and rebuild our supply chains so we can better respond to crises like Covid without relying on the Chinese for things like PPE or other critical infrastructure.

Mehmet Oz’s opponent, John Fetterman, did not respond.

Carrie Lewis DelRosso (R), Running for Lieutenant Governor

I am currently a state house member in PA-33 representing Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. I’m running for Lieutenant Governor for the same reason I ran for local government and state house: to serve my community.

In December of 2021, after the Democrats tried to sideline me and drew me into another district, I saw an opportunity to represent the entire state and run a statewide campaign. I was the last of nine candidates to join the race and I worked very hard to win the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

As Lieutenant Governor, I will continue to work and have our Governor nominee’s (Senator Mastriano’s) back. He and I are a TEAM. His priorities and mine align: protect our economy, create better jobs, lower energy prices, restore faith in elections, support small business and the jobs they create, and provide an equitable education for everyone — parents need options without increasing cost. As a working professional mother of three, I know how hard it can be to multitask and I want the best future for our children so they stay in PA to live and work. 

Last and certainly not least, I find it fascinating how diverse Pennsylvania is after running through the state. I was born in Scranton and moved to the Southwest at age seventeen to attend Pitt. Whether it be energy, manufacturing or agriculture, our Keystone State is the absolute best. As Lieutenant Governor, I will proudly promote PA.

Austin Davis (D), Running for Lieutenant Governor

I’m running for Lieutenant Governor to be a strong governing partner for Josh Shapiro, and to be a champion for working class families here in Pennsylvania. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania — in a longtime industrial center outside of Pittsburgh — as the son of a hairdresser and a union bus driver, so I’ve seen the struggles of working families firsthand. I watched my parents juggle raising a family while putting food on the table. My family, just like millions of families here in Pennsylvania, worked hard every day to get ahead and their support allowed me to become a first-generation college student. It was these experiences that inspired me to get into politics at a young age, because I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to helping working class families like mine. 

As Lieutenant Governor, I’m going to be a governing partner for Josh Shapiro, working with him to grow our economy, cut costs, and create ladders of opportunity for working class Pennsyvanians. We’re going to improve our schools, invest in public safety and make our communities safer, and protect our fundamental freedoms. 

I’ve witnessed firsthand the challenges working Pennsylvanians — so I’m running for Lieutenant Governor with Josh Shapiro to make sure that the government works for all Pennsylvanians. I know together that we can take on the big fights and deliver real results.

Christian Nascimento (R), Running for U.S. House, 4th Congressional District

I am running for Congress in the PA 4th because I love America, but I hate to see what American families and small businesses are going through right now. We have not been so divided, nor seen our economy struggle like this, in decades. Entrenched politicians and special interests are damaging the America we know. One party rule in Washington is making us less safe, less secure, and less prosperous.

As a first-generation American, I understand how precious the American Dream is. As a former school board president and corporate executive, I understand how to bring people together towards a common goal. And as a father of four, I know how important it is to keep our streets safe and our schools open.

Once elected, my priority will be righting the ship on our economy and building a pro-growth economy that works for all Americans and will help address the very real crime problem that is being ignored by the liberals in charge.

We can build this economy by increasing domestic energy production while also investing in renewable and alternative energy sources, easing the regulatory burden on small businesses and franchisees, expanding the R&D tax credit to encourage innovation, and smashing China’s stranglehold on the global supply chain by bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. These are the areas of legislation I would champion as a member of Congress.

Christian Nascimento’s opponent, Madeleine Dean, did not respond.

David Galluch (R), Running for U.S. House, 5th Congressional District

Public office should be synonymous with public service. Too many elected officials have forgotten a fundamental truth: the higher you rise, the more people you work for. When you are elected to serve, you are elected to lead, not go along to get along. Having served in the military, I know what it means to serve and to lead. I have commanded our nation’s finest in harm’s way and spent years of my life defusing bombs to protect others. I have made tough calls and experienced firsthand the importance of selfless leadership.

Americans should feel confident that those who occupy our nation’s highest offices will deliver for them. The last two years have shaken that confidence. Millions of Americans are less well off and less safe than they were before.

My father was killed by a drunk driver before I was born. I was raised by a single mom, and I watched her sacrifice and fight to give us — to give me — a good life. Families like the one in which I grew up are being left behind – buried by inflation, endangered by spikes in neighborhood violence, and ignored by those in government. I am getting off the sidelines to fight for those who need a voice — who need a leader who will fight and deliver for them.

I have spent a life stopping bombs from going off. Too many people in Washington are all too eager to let them go off. I want to defuse our explosive politics and solve the great challenges that lie before us.

Economic turmoil is crushing the average American. Soaring gas prices, historic inflation, shortages, and a chronic lack of labor across many industries have made families more vulnerable than they have been in years.

I am focused on making the economy work — and making life affordable again — for every family. Initiatives to protect working people are a top priority. That starts with restraining the historic inflation we are experiencing through efforts that restore fiscal discipline, expand domestic energy production, encourage Americans to save, strengthen our supply chains, and generate meaningful economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.

It also means creating jobs and career paths that allow families to stand on their own with dignity. I come from a family built on industry. Many of my family members were proud tradesmen. They were skilled laborers who helped build modern America and win World Wars.

Our region, like many areas across the United States, has seen good-paying, skill-enhancing labor depart overseas over the last half century. Revitalizing careers outside of those that require a college degree is essential to our economy and the well-being of many families right here in our backyard. Attending a four-year institution of higher learning should not dictate whether one will thrive economically. I will be an advocate for industry, alternative forms of education and skill enhancement, and, most importantly, growth that makes families more self-sufficient.

Combating crime is also a top priority of mine. Safety is the most essential public good. Without it, we cannot develop or sustain communities. I will support and fund law enforcement and speak out when public officials like District Attorneys fail in their basic duty to keep innocent Americans safe. I will advocate for holding lawbreakers accountable, preventing repeat violent offenders from going free, and prioritizing the enforcement of laws that broad majorities see as foundational to public safety and stable communities. I will pioneer innovative solutions like mobile crime labs that will help deliver justice for those left waiting for it and stem the wave of violence we are experiencing.

I am honored to be in the arena fighting for my family, friends, and neighbors in PA-05. I know our best days lie ahead, and I am dedicated to securing them for all of us.

David Galluch’s opponent, Mary Gay Scanlon, did not respond.

Guy Ciarrocchi (R), Running for U.S. House, 6th Congressional District

Almost everything in our lives, in our nation, is heading in the wrong direction. Gas has more than doubled, inflation is eating away at our paychecks and savings, violent crime is on the rise and we fear our kids aren’t learning what they need to succeed. Congresswoman Houlahan has either voted for or supported every single policy that put us in this horrible position. She has voted with Biden 100% of the time. She promised to be an independent problem-solver; instead, she’s part of the problem.

I’m stepping forward to help fix the mess. I’ve dedicated my life to growing small businesses, creating opportunities for everyone, empowering parents to be involved in their children’s education and fighting against crime and violence. I want to use my lifetime of experience to ensure Congress focuses on what matters to us — and fixes this mess.

I will pressure Biden to change his policies to bring-down inflation, make America energy-independent, support and train our police to protect innocent victims of crime, and ensure parents are involved in their children’s education. Our community and our nation are much safer and more secure when we focus on what’s important and approach problems with common-sense solutions — and the world is a safer place, too. I will push the President to partner with us, and push my fellow Republicans not to lose sight of what’s important.

Guy Ciarrocchi’s opponent, Chrissy Houlahan, did not respond.

Jessica Florio (R), Running for State Senate, District 44

I am running for office to be a responsive and responsible State Senator for the residents of Pennsylvania’s 44th District. As President of Honey Brook Borough Council, I have had the opportunity to be a part of government working for the people and making a positive difference in our community. I have seen when the higher levels of government don’t work for the people, and the hardships and frustrations that come along with that. Moreover, I’m a special education teacher and single mom who has experienced firsthand the difficulties families have faced in a struggling economy.

If elected, my top priorities would be energy reform to reduce the ever-increasing costs posing financial hardship to many families, improving our economy and helping it recover from the economic strains of the pandemic as well as historic inflation, and reforming our education system so all students in the Commonwealth have access to a quality education that prepares them for the future.

Jessica Florio’s opponent, Katie Muth, did not respond.

Edward Mongelluzzo (R), Running for State House, District 161

My decision to run for office surprised everyone, even myself. I never saw this as my path. But after watching the elected officials of Pennsylvania lock down small businesses and schools, and act too slowly — if at all — to respond to our pleas for help, I decided to take my own frustration and use it as a catalyst for change.

As a father, I watched as my children were kept home from school, and I saw the negative result of them being kept away from their friends, special education services, and the quality of education they need at this stage in life. I watched as we were all classified as “essential” or “non-essential,” as if that helped put food on the table for our families. I watched as people suffered with mental health issues from the lockdowns but were not offered help to address them.

Now, with record high prices due to inflation caused by big government policies, the time for watching from the sideline is over for me. As I knock on thousands of doors and listen to residents from every walk of life and every spot on the political spectrum, it is clear to me that we agree on more than we don’t. The things we agree on — fighting inflation, standing up to rising crime, improving education for our kids — are the things I will focus on in Harrisburg as your State Representative.

Edward Mongelluzzo’s opponent, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, did not respond.

Kenneth P. Rucci (R), Running for State House, District 163

As a lifelong resident of this community, I understand what a state representative can accomplish. My wife and I have raised our family here and have been active in advocating for families and children in many ways for years.

My advocacy has led to various wonderful opportunities to support students and families. Service through academic, scouting, athletic and community dedicated commitments led me to public service. Serving on the Upper Darby School Board was a sixteen-year family affair. In my nine years of service, I was appointed Legislative Representative and elected Vice President and also President of the Upper Darby School Board, overseeing responsibility for the district’s 12,000 students.

The divisive, partisan politics of our community, the struggles of our local businesses, the decline of our neighborhoods and the negative impact on our families is a large motivating factor in my decision to run. I want to continue to advocate, be a voice for my neighbors and fight for the citizens of the 163rd.

I am not running for office for myself. The 163rd District is ours. I am running for all of us living here. This election is for all of us. If elected, this office is yours. I am ready to put aside partisan politics and fight for the issues affecting our community.

My priorities are…

  • helping the community and businesses come back from the impacts of the pandemic, including restrictive mandates, unemployment, and rising costs,
  • supporting law enforcement, and
  • working for fair and equitable educational funding for students.

Kenneth P. Rucci’s opponent, Michael Zabel, did not respond.

Kristin Marcell (R), Running for State House, District 178

I never planned on running for State Representative, but when our current Representative announced her retirement, I was approached by people across our community asking me to run. They wanted me to bring the same commonsense, results-oriented approach to Harrisburg that I have been bringing to my local School Board since I began serving there.

If I am lucky enough to earn the position of State Representative, my plan is simple: focus on issues that affect everyone in our community. That means bringing fiscal discipline to Harrisburg to protect taxpayers and fighting the inflationary policies costing our families too much. It means standing up to criminals and keeping our communities safe. It means improving schools through investment, accountability, and innovation. And it means focusing on solutions that work rather than political games.

Ilya Breyman (D), Running for State House, District 178

I decided to run for office because I was concerned with our society’s deep polarization and inability to reach across the aisle to work together on issues that matter. Our elected representatives in Harrisburg have proved over and over that they are more concerned with meaningless partisan chicanery than working together to solve problems. The lack of motivation to generate real solutions for our communities seems to be the only bipartisan product coming out of Harrisburg nowadays. As a first-generation immigrant, I am grateful to the community that welcomed my family 21 years ago, and I would like to give back by ensuring everyone has the opportunity to pursue their version of the American Dream.

I would like to concentrate on two key areas. My first priority would be strengthening our democratic institutions. This includes protecting the rights and freedoms of all Pennsylvanians, repealing closed primaries and introducing ranked choice voting, and promoting fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency. Second, I want to level the regulatory playing field for small businesses and make smart, community-oriented investments in infrastructure, education innovation, and essential services.

Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty

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