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Shapiro says Wolf got it wrong with his pandemic mandates and shutdowns.
Shapiro says Wolf got it wrong with his pandemic mandates and shutdowns. Photo: Nigel Thompson/AL DÍA News.

Shapiro says PA got it wrong with school and business lockdowns amid COVID

The Attorney General had to defend Governor Tom Wolf in court from legal challenges as a result of his COVID lockdowns and mandates.

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One of the key races on a national scale in 2022 is the gubernatorial contest in Pennsylvania where Democratic nominee Attorney General Josh Shapiro, faces off with PA State Senator Doug Mastriano. In a recent shift of position, Shapiro has come out in opposition of current Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 pandemic decisions, a surprise break from his Democratic colleague. 

Before committing to a governor’s race, as Attorney General, Shapiro on multiple occasions had to defend Wolf in court over legal actions aimed at him as a result of his COVID-19 pandemic related mandates, and lockdowns. 

Now under much different circumstances, Shapiro is running to succeed Wolf as governor. Recent polls from FiveThirtyEight have Shapiro leading Mastriano after a recent string of controversies that include an old photo resurfacing of the GOP nominee posing in a faculty photo in a Confederate uniform. 

With Mastriano considered by some Republicans to be too far right to be elected, Shapiro’s latest comments could be a method for his campaign to get in better with the moderate crowd still on the fence. 

The Attorney General, if elected, would be the first governor to directly follow a two-term governor of the same party in the state’s history. 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Shapiro revealed his feelings on Wolf’s mandates that saw the shutdowns of businesses and schools. 

“This is an area where I think folks got it wrong,” he said. 

When it came to mask and vaccine mandates, Shapiro said, and instead spoke on the need to “educate and empower” the community, local businesses, schools, and others on how to protect themselves and others. 

“And to me, that’s the approach we need to take more broadly as a public, which is to educate, empower and respect people’s personal decisions and respect their personal freedom to make those choices,” Shapiro said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic more than two years ago, Wolf has had to battle it out legally against Pennsylvania’s Republica-run legislature over his mask mandates and business shutdowns. COVID-19 has killed over 46,000 Pennsylvanians. In addition to other COVID-19 related mandates, the governor also ordered the over 25,000 city workers in their prisons and care facilities to not only get vaccinated, but comply with weekly COVID testing for work. 

Again, Shapiro is the Attorney General (and was in 2020), and were responsible to defend the state in courts. During the pandemic, he went to state and local federal courts for Wolf over legal challenges to Wolf’s pandemic handling. 

In one of the filings dated back to 2020, Shapiro and his office wrote in response to a federal judge who filed a decision to block Wolf’s order of shutting down non-life sustaining businesses and limiting the size of group gatherings, “will undoubtedly cost lives.” 

In another suit from last Fall, Shapiro’s office argued that the mask mandate in schools was needed “to protect the health and lives of Pennsylvania’s school children and their families, and to prevent schools in the Commonwealth from becoming Covid-19 super-spreader sites.” 

This is not the first time Shapiro has been in opposition to one of Wolf’s policies and actions. 

Since Shapiro’s announcement for governor, he has since also come out in opposition to Wolf’s main policies relating to climate change and transportation funding. This includes an incident in which he argued against Wolf’s climate change policy that would have charged power plants for planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the wake of Mastriano’s extremist shadow that continues to grow, Shapiro continues to gain support from the left, central, and now the right. Last month, he garnered over nine Republican endorsements and now this month, an additional seven Republican endorsements.

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