As fellow Republicans Paul Mango and Scott Wagner have pummeled each other on the campaign trail, in debates, and especially on television in the race for the GOP nomination for governor, Laura Ellsworth has, for the most part, stayed out of the fray.
When visiting with The Daily Item last month, the Pittsburgh litigator said “a little bit of grunt work works better than pontification.”
Those words rang true with us that day and even more so as the battle between Mango and Wagner has dragged on toward Tuesday’s primary.
While lacking the name recognition and the party endorsement — which go to Wagner, a state senator — we feel that Laura Ellsworth features the most coherent, achievable and specific agenda to challenge incumbent Tom Wolf in the fall as the Republican nominee for governor.
Ellsworth leads the Pittsburgh office of Jones Day, a global law firm with 43 offices. She’s also served on the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and she was chairwoman of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the youth policy council chair for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
She has experience working with a wide range of groups, across various businesses and industry, which would serve her well in Harrisburg.
While her opponents have pounced on the popular “eliminate property tax” platform, Ellsworth understands cutting the program cold turkey comes with its own set of issues and a state already fighting school funding should be careful about what it wishes for. Her plan is to freeze property taxes for Pennsylvanians who have payed property taxes for 35 years — particularly older residents on fixed incomes — while keeping the current system in place.
“I’m not in favor of eliminating property taxes entirely because if you have market based taxes only, whether it’s sales or income tax, when you experience a crash like we did in 2008, the whole market collapses,” she said. “You can’t have education collapse at the same time. You have to provide a little bit greater stability for education because that may be when you need education the most.”
Ellsworth has laid out similar common sense, specific and realistic plans in other key issues facing Pennsylvania, including budget woes and the pension crisis. Her plan to restore the Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is timely and necessary. Through Ellsworth’s work in various industries, she understands the importance of private-public partnerships.
Republican voters would do well to choose Ellsworth, whose level-headed and compassionate approach to the campaign would make her a formidable foe for Wolf in the fall.