Chris Munidath: A Latino candidate in Montgomery County
Chris Mundiath, a Peruvian-American Republican, is running for Pennsylvania’s 70th District in the House of Representatives.
Born in Peru, Chris Mundiath came to the U.S. at six months old after being adopted by his parents, who are immigrants as well — his mother is also from Peru and his father is from India.
“I’m very grateful to be in this country,” Mundiath said. “And the reason why I’m running for office is because I want to give back to the community. I want to help the immigrant community.”
“I think immigrants and all minority communities want a voice in Harrisburg,” he added.
Mundiath, 26, is the Republican candidate for the 70th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which covers neighborhoods in Norristown, East Norriton, Worcester, and Plymouth Township, where Mundiath grew up. Norristown, the largest jurisdiction in the district, has a significant immigrant population and, in 2010, nearly 30 percent of the municipality’s population identified as Hispanic.
In the November 6 election, Mundiath faces incumbent Democratic Rep. Matthew Bradford, who has served the district since 2009.
Mundiath, a 2015 graduate of LaSalle University, worked in marketing and consulting in South America after college. He returned to Pennsylvania in 2017 and became communications director for Republican candidate Beth Grossman during her campaign for Philadelphia District Attorney, which she lost to Larry Krasner.
Mundiath considers himself “a more moderate-center right Republican than a hardcore conservative.” He is anti-abortion, believes in small government, and aims to protect the Second Amendment, though he does support “common sense gun laws.” While the candidate does not approve of a ban on semi-automatic weapons or raising the purchasing age from 18 to 21, Mundiath does support legislation that would temporarily suspend an individual’s right to bear arms if that person is suspected of being mentally unstable.
Lowering taxes is a top priority for Mundiath campaign, particularly the property tax.
“School property tax right now is outrageous,” he said.
Rather than maintaining a higher property tax, Mundiath would aim to increase the sales and income tax “by one or two points” if elected.
“Basically, right now in Pennsylvania, the problem is a lot of our tax dollars, they’re not even going to our schools,” Mundiath said. “One of the things I want to do is hold government accountable so we control our spending.”
When it comes to education, Munidath believes the state should invest more in options like charter schools instead of the status quo.
“I’m all about putting more money into education system, I would like to continue to fund that,” he said. “But… We have a school like Norristown which is doing much more poorly than the surrounding school districts, like Upper Merion, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Methacton. I think it’s time to look for an alternative.”
To boost job growth in Pennsylvania, Mundiath said he wants to lower the state’s corporate tax rate, like many of Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature. The corporate tax rate in Pennsylvania is among the highest in the country. The candidate also aims to remove “unnecessary regulations” imposed on businesses.
“Obviously I don’t think anyone would disagree that we need regulations to control small businesses in terms of safety and everything like that,” Mundiath said. “But I think there’s just too much on the plate right now. It’s so difficult to start a business here in Pennsylvania.”
The opioid epidemic is another issue that Mundiath aims to address if elected. He said the crisis is one that transcends social class, affecting people who receive all levels of income, but he noted that the effects are more visible in lower-income communities like Norristown.
“We need to be investing more money into this,” Mundiath said. “We do have the money, and again, it goes back to controlling spending and holding government accountable.”
“I think the most important thing that I support is treating this as a public health crisis, not as a criminal enterprise,” Mundiath continued, clarifying that a drug dealer or a “doctor running a pill mill” should be prosecuted criminally, but not a person with addiction because “it’s a disease.”
While he supports funding certain programs to help treat addiction, Mundiath does not support the establishment of safe injection sites, where people could take drugs under medical supervision to help prevent overdoses. The implementation of the concept is underway in Philadelphia.
Mundiath said he does not believe that his opponent or “anyone else that I know” supports the idea of safe injection sites either.
On immigration, Mundiath said he is “100 percent against separating families,” the controversial practice that the Trump administration put into effect earlier this year. However, he does see illegal immigration as a problem.
“I am against illegal immigration, but it is our responsibility and I would say it’s our fault that we have so many illegal immigrants here,” Mundiath said. “We have not patrolled our borders. We have not secured the borders.”
While he supports increased border security, Mundiath does not support the president’s border wall idea. He also believes there should be a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that are already here, adding that these people should not be deported unless they have committed “a very serious crime.”
“I would never say we should have ICE go into all the cities and deport everybody. I think that’s wrong,” he said. “We’re not a fascist state, but we’re also a nation of laws and I think it’s important that we do secure the border.”
Despite his disagreement with Donald Trump on many immigration issues, Mundiath believes the president has done “a good job” with the nation’s military and the economy.
“Going around talking to people, a lot of people, even minorities — blacks and Hispanics — like the way the economy is going,” Mundiath said. “I think it’s hard to argue with that.”