Scott Wagner: “My Job Is To Protect Pennsylvanians’ Paychecks And Make Sure Tom Wolf Doesn’t Take Them Away”
This morning, 2018 gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner did his first major television interview since winning the Republican primary election. Wagner appeared on ABC27’s This Week in Pennsylvania to discuss the contrast between his mission to protect the paychecks of the people of Pennsylvania, with Governor Wolf’s inability to reduce the commonwealth’s unemployment rate and desire to raise taxes.
Watch the interview HERE.
DENNIS OWENS: What would you say was the key to your victory?
SCOTT WAGNER: We were able to connect with people all over the state, Dennis. I’ve been out across Pennsylvania campaigning for this victory for 17 months. I’ve been in truck stops, diners, coal mines, plants, and construction sites, just talking to people, the average people in Pennsylvania who make things work.
OWENS: The campaign, the GOP campaign got a little chippy, it was a little nasty, especially between you Mango. Have you spoken with Mango or Laura Ellsworth?
WAGNER: They both called me on Tuesday evening and congratulated me.
OWENS: The fact of the matter is the majority of Republicans who voted did not vote for Scott Wagner. Is that a problem, do you anticipate?
WAGNER: I look at in another way, Dennis. I’ll turn the numbers around, I was six points away from two to one.
WAGNER: Listen, at the end of the day Pennsylvanians want something different. And they are not happy with the direction of Pennsylvania. Listen, we have crumbling roads and bridges, but Governor Wolf’s out giving out more money to build more bike trails and more parks, I mean what’s that all about? People, they want to see change.
OWENS: Paul Mango got especially aggressive attacking you with some negative ads. A number of Republicans fear that Governor Wolf is waiting to do the same thing, that he kind of softened you up and more is going to come and it is going to help Wolf to victory. What do you say to that?
WAGNER: I don’t believe that. Listen, Paul ran his campaign and we were victorious, and the past is the past. I expect, honestly I do expect a very nasty campaign coming from Governor Wolf.
OWENS: You do?
WAGNER: I expect it to be exceptionally nasty because he has unlimited resources when it comes to special interest money, the public sector union money and George Soros. It is going to be ugly and I think Pennsylvanians are going to get to see that.
OWENS: The day after your primary, in fact, moments after you won and were declared the Wolf campaign was already putting out some negative invectives toward you, including blasting you for your – they blame you for blocking a tax on the extraction of natural gas and say that you are beholden to the gas interests in this state, that the majority of Pennsylvanians want to see this extraction tax but you specifically have been very instrumental in blocking to help them. What do you say to that?
WAGNER: Well I look at it this way. What industry is next? Is it going to be the waste industry? Is it going to be the construction industry? Is it going to be the blacktop industry? It just doesn’t stop there. But here is where I have an issue, I’ve been in the state senate for four years, I serve on the Appropriations Committee, I take my job very seriously, I’ve sat through four years of budget hearings, and we haven’t balanced our checkbook in 30 years. We shouldn’t be asking for additional tax money from anybody until we balance our checkbook. And listen, Dennis, this has been going on for 20 or 30 years, Republicans and Democrats. The budget process, there’s so much secrecy. It’s hiding money here and hiding money there, and that’s wrong. But seriously, what’s going to be next? Maybe we should tax TV stations?
OWENS: Please, no.
WAGNER: The bottom line is we need to balance our checkbooks and get our financial house in order and zero-based budgeting is going to help us do that.
OWENS; But popularity wise, polls show that a majority of Pennsylvanians do support that issue. Aren’t you on the wrong side of that?
WAGNER: Not necessarily. Listen, Governor Wolf believes that what is under the ground belongs to everybody. And I got to tell you something, as I talk to people around Pennsylvania that bought large tracts of property 20 or 40 years ago, scraped together down payment money, made the mortgage payments, struggled to pay their taxes, and now all of the sudden everybody is their partner? I don’t think that’s going to work.
OWENS: You are a Donald Trump supporter. Many call you Pennsylvania’s version of Donald Trump. Is that going to hurt you in the fall, do you think? Is that an issue? If there is a referendum on Donald Trump, and there possibly is with the Lou Barletta race as well in the Senate, is that a good place to be or a bad place to be?
WAGNER: Well, listen, I think number one this race isn’t about Donald Trump, this race is about Pennsylvania. But I will tell you that one thing Donald Trump has done for the people of Pennsylvania, and Dennis, this would include you, in the last eight weeks Pennsylvanians are seeing between 1.5 and 4 percent more in their paychecks. There was a Wall Street Journal article two weeks ago that said the average American family will receive somewhere between $2,800 and $2,900 more in their family bank account. My job in Pennsylvania is protect Pennsylvanians’ paychecks and make sure that Tom Wolf doesn’t take it away.
OWENS: Well let’s talk about that for a minute, because Donald Trump is going to try to say that, because his brand is going to be that it’s a referendum on him across the country in these various elections, he’s going to say that things are going great. What you just said – you got more money in your pocket, taxes are down – that’s thanks to me. How do you convince Pennsylvanians, because Tom Wolf right now could take advantage of that and say things are going great, why do you want to throw me out. Don’t you, Scott Wagner, have a very difficult message there? Because if things are going great, then why should we change governors.
WAGNER: My message is easy, it’s real simple. If things are going so great, Governor Wolf, than why is Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate at 4.8 percent and the national is 3.9 and Erie is 6.8? We have a lot of issues in Pennsylvania, but the bottom line is President Trump has rolled back a lot of regulations, and he deals with more federal issues, but here in Pennsylvania there is a tremendous amount uncertainty. We have a skilled labor crisis, Governor Wolf really hasn’t done anything to correct that –
OWENS: It wouldn’t be a This Week in Pennsylvania appearance for Scott Wagner if you didn’t bring props with you. You got props with you. Quickly –
WAGNER: Well this is Governor Wolf’s – this is what he does in Pennsylvania. He has candy for everybody, he just wants to hand out more and more candy. I’m going to hand out paychecks. And these paychecks are going to get fatter when Governor Wagner is in the governor’s office. We’re running out of – after a while, Dennis, there is a bottom to the candy bucket. We’re out of candy, it’s candy or paychecks.