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What would a week be like under Mastriano?

To the editor:

In a previous letter to the editor I wrote of gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s version of Christianity and how he is using it in his campaign for governor. I would like to comment today on Sen. Mastriano’s plans for Pennsylvania if his is elected.

On his website (https://www.doug4gov.com/plan), Mastriano posts a video entitled “My First Week in Office as Governor.” In this video he repeats the word “freedom” or “freedoms” many times, aligning with his campaign slogan, “Walk as Free People.”

He states in his video that Gov. Wolf has stripped away our “God-given freedoms.” His reference to our freedoms being ordained by God relates to his Christian-nationalist viewpoint. As I stated in my letter of June 21, the founding fathers did not intend to write a constitution centered in Christianity. The “God-given freedoms” that Mastiano refers to in his video are primarily related to the so-called “medical tyranny” that he believes Gov. Wolf instituted.

The senator believes that Gov. Wolf’s mandate of March 16, 2020, closing all non-essential businesses, and his mandate of Aug. 31, 2021, mandating masks in all Pennsylvania schools and day care centers, were unduly onerous; he speaks of nursing home residents fail(ing) away … with neglect and abandonment” and special needs students being “cut off from their care providers.”

Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, writes of our “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life …” Nursing home residents and special needs students being among our most vulnerable citizens, may we assert that Gov. Wolf in his mandates was protecting his fellow citizens’ right to life? As a resident of Mifflin Co., I know that nursing home residents were NOT abandoned and neglected, but were given excellent care by committed staff who kept them free for many months from COVID infection.

It is not a given that parents of special-needs students in Pennsylvania prefer them to be free of masks: parents of special needs children sued the Central Bucks School District outside Philadelphia over its refusal to mandate masks. That case was pending when word of the impending statewide mandate emerged.

Critics of Gov. Wolf’s COVID policies will assert that he sent COVID-positive citizens into Pennsylvania nursing homes, thereby causing nursing home epidemics. According to the Associated Press (July 22, 2021), the Justice Department told Gov. Tom Wolf’s office that it had decided not to open an investigation into whether Pennsylvania violated federal law by ordering nursing homes to accept residents who had been treated for COVID-19 in a hospital.

In Pennsylvania, the order was the subject of particularly sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers and candidates, but it is far from clear that the policy led to an outbreak or death. A Dec. 10, 2021, report from FOX43 news reported that nursing home staff were the source of severe COVID-19 infections in long-term care facilities, according to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found hundreds of nursing home deaths could have been prevented had more staff been vaccinated. FOX43 Reveals combed through data from hundreds of nursing homes in South Central Pennsylvania. They found nursing homes with the lowest staff vaccination rates had twice as many resident deaths due to COVID-19 and more than four times the number of coronavirus cases compared to nursing homes with the highest staff vaccination rates.

In Mastriano’s video he says that he will repeal all mask mandates and vaccine requirements in his first week as governor. If we consider the information above concerning nursing home infection, and remember that, according to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health, 69% of reported COVID-19 cases were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people, 81% of COVID hospitalizations were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people, and 77% of COVID-related deaths were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people, then we can conclude that repealing vaccination requirements is not in the best interest of Pennsylvania citizens.

Mastriano also states that he will repeal Act 77 of 2019, which expanded mail-in voting to all Pennsylvania voters, a bill that had the backing of Mastriano and almost every Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled legislature when it was passed.

Now lawmakers assert that the act encourages election fraud. During the 2020 campaign our household, which has a Republican voter, received mailings from the Pennsylvania Republican Committee urging us to register to vote by mail, telling us that it was “easy and safe.” The senator should be pressed on what exactly has changed since the passing of this act.

Mastriano says that he will encourage school choice in Pennsylvania by repealing the property tax, resulting in an approximately $10,000 decrease in funding per pupil, and using any remaining money for school-choice vouchers. He believes that funding students rather than schools will result in better education in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011 cut $1 billion in education funding, resulting in 70% of Pennsylvania schools increasing class size, 44% slashing extracurricular activities, and 35% eliminating tutoring programs. We can assume that the same problems will result from Sen. Mastriano’s plans.

Suffice it to say that Doug Mastriano’s plans for his first week in office will not benefit Pennsylvanians.

Joan D. Loewen

Lewistown

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