Trump calls Mastriano and Oz vital to a Republican takeover in 2022 and 2024

WILKES-BARRE TWP., Pa. – Campaigning for Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial and U.S. Senate nominees on Saturday, former President Donald Trump cast Doug Mastriano and Dr. Mehmet Oz as vital leaders in a fight to take back the state and country starting with this year’s midterm election.

Trump spoke for nearly two hours at the rally outside Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, at the heart of a region Trump carried handily over President Joe Biden in 2020.

In his rambling and invective-studded style, Trump cataloged what he said were Biden’s failures that reversed the gains of his administration, and repeated his baseless claim that he won reelection.

“We have no choice in 2022 and 2024. We have to smash the grip of this vile and vindictive Democratic administration,” Trump said.

Trump has not announced that he will be a candidate in 2024, but he riled up supporters musing that he should.

“I ran twice. I won twice,” he said, claiming to have received more votes than any sitting president.

“I may just have to do it again,” Trump said, repeating the words as the crowd cheered wildly.

Trump’s appearance in the nearly-full Mohegan Sun Arena capped a five-hour rally where Oz, Mastriano and Republican U.S. House nominees Jim Bognet and Dan Meuser also spoke.

The rally featured another star of the far-right, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who also made the baseless claim that Trump won in 2020.

In a theme repeated by several speakers, Taylor Greene referenced Biden’s speech Thursday in Philadelphia, where he warned that the politically extreme MAGA movement posed a threat to the country.

“Joe Biden has declared all of you extremists,” Taylor Greene said, drawing boos and jeers from the crowd. “Joe Biden has declared half of this country enemies of the state.”

Trump also seized on Biden’s criticism, calling it vicious and hateful, and noting that his choice of Philadelphia to deliver the speech was fitting, arguing that the state’s largest city has been devastated by rising crime under Democratic leadership.

“Instead of trying to demonize half the population, Joe Biden and the Democrats should vote to stop the bloodshed,” Trump said.

Trump also claimed the FBI’s execution of a search warrant last month at his Mar-a-Lago resort was an example of Democratic extremism and a weaponization of the U.S. Justice Department., Trump falsely accused agents of breaking into his home, and said they went through former First Lady Melania Trump’s drawers.

It was well into his speech before Trump began talking about the Pennsylvania candidates, using a derogatory nickname to describe Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro, and falsely stating Shapiro would allow abortion after birth.

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano speaks on stage with former President Donald Trump at rally Saturday, 9/3/22 near Wilkes-Barre, Pa (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall).

Trump likewise criticized Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman, saying that “he dresses like a teenager getting high in his parents’ basement,” and argued that Fetterman’s policy positions on legalizing marijuana and immigration would bring “death and despair to every community in Pennsylvania.”

Trump delivered a tepid endorsement of Oz, beginning with a story about appearing on Oz’s TV show, where the doctor said he should lose some weight.

“He’s going to be great,” Trump said.

Speaking about May’s Republican gubernatorial primary, where Mastriano, a state senator, emerged as an unlikely victor from a crowded field, Trump praised the GOP nominee for his U.S. Army service, and suggested that he is the most respected person in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Trump took a swipe at Bill McSwain, the former U.S. attorney from Philadelphia who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor. Trump refused to endorse McSwain, and called him a coward during the primary for failing to act on Trump’s claims of election fraud in 2020.

“He was a nice guy but he wouldn’t do anything about election fraud,” Trump said. “He said [former U.S. Attorney General] Bill Barr won’t let me do anything about it.”

Speaking earlier in the evening, Mastriano, and his wife Rebbie, delivered a version of the stump speech they have given together at campaign stops across the state.

Mastriano spoke of a “filthy stinking laundry list” of issues Democrats don’t want to discuss, including critical race theory, transgender women playing women’s sports, and pandemic closures and mandates.

Dr. Mehmet Oz waves to a supporter Saturday during a rally near Wilkes-Barre on 9/3/22 where former President Donald Trump spoke (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall).

He also spoke about a day-one agenda if he is elected that includes ending mask and vaccine requirements as a condition of employment, and developing Pennsylvania’s energy resources.

“On day one we are going to roll back regulations and drill and dig like there’s no tomorrow,” Mastriano said.

Addressing the crowd before Trump’s appearance, Oz introduced himself as the son of immigrants, and used his credentials as a surgeon to attack Democratic policies on vaccines, energy and gender theory as weaponized science.

He also mocked Fetterman as the “poster boy of the radical far-left arm of the Democratic Party,” and took a shot at Fetterman’s health.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, and was absent from the campaign trail until last month.

“I’m a doctor, I understand how difficult it is when you have had a stroke,” Oz said.

Fetterman also declined to debate Oz, saying that his recovery was not complete enough for him to put forth his best performance.

Oz sketched out a “pretend debate” in which he predicted Fetterman’s response to questions about his push for legalized marijuana, and clemency for those charged with marijuana possession.

“He’d probably say it sounded good on Twitter,” Oz said

Fetterman’s campaign spokesman Joe Calvello responded to Trump and Oz’s remarks in a statement.

“More and more lies from Trump and Dr. Oz; another day, but it’s the same crap from these two desperate and sad dudes,” the statement read.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

Steelers star and other veterans highlight impact of closed primaries on those who served

An effort by the Committee of Seventy to pass legislation that would open Pennsylvania’s primary elections to all registered voters is enlisting prominent veterans to highlight the disproportionate impact of closed primaries on former service members.

About half of Pennsylvania’s 800,000 veterans are registered independents and the Keystone State is one of nine that do not allow third-party voters to participate in primary elections, according to Ballot PA, a coalition of civic, community, and business organizations committed to open elections and good government.

A project of the nonprofit nonpartisan good government group Committee of Seventy, Ballot PA announced this week it is launching “Ballot PA Veterans to Repeal Closed Primaries” to educate the public about the need to open primary elections to veterans who are independent and third-party voters.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers halfback and Vietnam War veteran Rocky Bleier and retired Brigadier General Wilbur E. Wolf III will lead the effort, the group said.

Two bills that would end closed partisan primaries have been introduced in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1369 was the subject of a House State Government Committee hearing last week at Villanova University. Rep. Chris Quinn, R-Delaware, is the bill’s prime sponsor.

Lawmakers heard testimony from veterans including former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, who served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam war, and Marilyn Kelly-Cavotta, a U.S. Army veteran and director of veteran and military services at Moravian University in Bethlehem. Both are among the co-chairs of the project.

Kelly-Cavotta told the committee that before every primary she finds herself explaining that independents cannot participate. It’s especially difficult for veterans who have made sacrifices for their country.

“You must follow the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, but you cannot select the one that you want to see on the ballot,” Kelly-Cavotta said.

Also pending is Senate Bill 690, which, like the legislation in the House, would allow independent registered voters to choose to cast their vote on either the Republican or Democratic ballot in a primary election. Sen. Daniel Laughlin, R-Erie, is the bill’s prime sponsor.

Bleier was drafted into the Army a year after he started his career with the Steelers. Wounded in combat in Vietnam, Bleier returned to the United States where he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star and began rehabilitation that would allow him to return to professional football.

The Vietnam War made clear the injustice that 18-year-olds fighting for their country were not permitted to vote and led to the rapid ratification of the 26th Amendment.

“How can we explain to a young man or woman returning home from a deployment that they have no voice in a primary election? It’s wrong – and downright un-American,” Bleier said.

Wolf served in the Army and Army National Guard for more than 30 years retiring as the director of joint staff for the Pennsylvania National Guard and deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.

Also named as co-chairs of the mission are former Cumberland County Commissioner Barbara Cross, who served as an officer in the Marines, and Patrick Murphy, who was the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress and served as an under secretary of the Army.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

Mastriano’s religious values resonate with supporters, but poll shows him down among Republicans

Supporters who attended Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano’s campaign events in suburban Philadelphia this week said his campaign messaging hits all the right notes for them.

But a poll of registered Pennsylvania voters released Thursday shows Mastriano lagging behind Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro among undecided voters and in support from members of his own party.

A supporter who attended an event Wednesday in Pennsburg said he’s concerned Mastriano isn’t doing enough to reach beyond those who already agree with his staunchly conservative platform.

“I’d like to see him talking to more than just Republicans,” said the Montgomery County resident who asked to be identified by his first name, Bob, because he was concerned that sharing his political opinions could affect his professional relationships.

“If he doesn’t get out and talk to more people in Pennsylvania, he’s gonna have a hard time of it,” Bob said.

Mastriano has largely walled himself off from local print, digital and television news outlets, preferring to appear on conservative talk radio and right-wing sources such as Breitbart.

“He already has those people,” said Mariana, Bob’s mother, who also asked to be identified by her first name. “So he has to go out and get the independents, and even some Democrats.”

The Franklin and Marshall College Poll released Thursday shows Shapiro ahead of Mastriano 44 percent to 33 percent. Shapiro is also ahead of Mastriano among undecided voters 40-24 percent, according to the poll which includes the responses of 522 registered voters.

Shapiro has support from 76 percent of Democrats polled compared to 66 percent of Republicans who support Mastriano.

In his stump speeches Wednesday, Mastriano spent much of his time painting Shapiro and outgoing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf as “extreme” for policies including pandemic restrictions on business and mask requirements for students.

Mastriano also touted substantive policies to expand fossil fuel extraction in Pennsylvania, ending caps on greenhouse gas emissions, allowing parents to choose where to send their children to school using tax dollars, and banning a number of hot-button conservative topics from public school curricula.

But some supporters mentioned Mastriano’s evangelical Christian values as the primary reason they find him to be an attractive candidate.

Susan Curley, a retired teacher from Pennsburg, said she sees Mastriano as the right candidate because, “he’s a believer in Jesus Christ.”

“We need a believer in Christ as the head of state government,” Curley said.

Curley cited the discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools and abortion as major issues in which faith should play a role in state government.

Todd Johnson, the Republican candidate for Philadelphia’s 4th state Senate District seat, also said Mastriano’s values send the right message to him as a pastor.

“I like his stance on biblical issues. He’s pro-life,” Johnson said after Mastriano’s Montgomery County event. “I believe that, at the moment of conception, that that is life.”

Mastriano, a vocal opponent of abortion access, once called abortion his No. 1 issue, introducing a proposal banning abortions after six weeks, which is before most people know they’re pregnant.

Since the primary election and the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Mastriano has been largely silent on the topic in campaign speeches.

Since winning GOP primary, Mastriano has kept silent on abortion. Physicians urge him to break it

The Franklin and Marshall poll included questions about respondents views on abortion. The results show a shift since May. The number of people who said abortion should be legal under any circumstances increased 6 points to 37 percent while those who favor a total ban declined from 14 percent to 11 percent. More than half, say abortion should be legal with some restrictions.

Some Mastriano supporters attending Wednesday’s events said they don’t support abortion rights, but would support some exceptions to a ban.

“The mother’s life would be the only exception I would make. Because you can’t say one life is more important than the other,” Curley, the retired teacher said.

Helen Andersen of Macungie, Lehigh County, said she only objects to publicly-funded abortion, which Pennsylvania law already prohibits except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Andersen added that she believes people should take care to avoid the need for abortion, having seen its effect on friends’ mental wellbeing.

“It’s not good for a woman. I know. It’s psychologically very, very bad,” Andersen said.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

Pennsylvania Republican removes social media profile pics after warning from US Army

Doug Mastriano’s campaign took down social media profile pictures of the Republican gubernatorial nominee in his U.S. Army uniforms after learning they violated a Department of Defense policy, an Army spokesperson said.

The pictures showed Mastriano on Facebook smiling in a dress uniform and beret, and in camouflage fatigues on Twitter. Pittsburgh NPR station WESA-FM reported they were removed last week.

Mastriano, who was a strategic intelligence officer in the Army for 20 years, has incorporated his military background into his political career.

But the use of those photographs and others showing Mastriano interacting with Afghan orphans or posing with fellow soldiers ran afoul of armed service restrictions on the use of such images in political campaigns, Army spokesperson Matthew Leonard told the Capital-Star on Monday.

“Any military information posted by a military member not on active duty, must be accompanied by a prominent and clearly displayed disclaimer that neither the military information nor the photographs imply endorsement by the Army,” Leonard said.

The profile pictures on Mastriano’s campaign pages on Facebook and Twitter had been replaced Monday afternoon with an image of Mastriano in fatigues captioned “Afghanistan 2006.”

The image includes a disclaimer that is partially cropped out on the Facebook page. Mastriano’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Leonard said the Army was contacted by a member of the news media about Mastriano’s use of the images. In a report Monday, WESA-FM said it asked the Army last week whether the images violated the Department of Defense policy.

“The Army contacted Mr. Mastriano’s campaign and advised it of the rules for imagery use contained within the DoD Directive and Army Regulation. At this time the matter is closed,” Leonard said.

Leonard did not respond to a follow up question about whether the new images with the disclaimer pass muster.

Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, served in the Army from 1987 to 2017, retiring as a colonel, and serving in combat zones including the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

His campaign’s use of social media has come under fire for his association with the alt-right site Gab and its founder Andrew Torba. The site, to which Mastriano paid $5,000 for consulting services, has been criticized as a haven for white supremacists and anti-Semitic speech.

Mastriano has since removed his Gab profile and released a statement distancing himself from the racist and bigoted statements of its users and founder.


Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law survives constitutional challenge by GOP lawmakers

Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law has survived a constitutional challenge by Republican officials who voted for it three years ago.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state Legislature did not overstep its authority when it passed the 2019 law that permits anyone to vote by mail without an excuse.

The 5-2 decision reverses a Commonwealth Court order that would have invalidated the law.

Commonwealth Court declared the law, known as Act 77, unconstitutional in a 3-2 January decision, as it ruled on two challenges to the law — one brought by the Republican lawmakers, as well as a separate one from Bradford County Commissioner Doug McClinko.

It was approved in a deal between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf, in which lawmakers voted for no-excuse mail-in balloting and Wolf agreed to end straight-ticket voting, in which voters can vote for all of the candidates of a party together.

The Commonwealth Court, in a majority decision by Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt, found that the
Pennsylvania Constitution requires voters to appear at the polls in person unless they have one of a number of excuses specified in amendments that allow voting by absentee ballot.

In the opinion by the Supreme Court majority, Justice Christine Donohue wrote that the five justices found no restriction in the constitution on the Legislature’s ability to create mail-in voting.

Chief Justice Max Baer and justices Debra Todd, David Wecht and Kevin Doherty joined in the majority opinion. Justices Sallie Mundy and Kevin Brobson filed dissenting opinions.


Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

Mastriano courting voters on far-right Gab pushes the GOP further towards extremism: experts

Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano’s use of the far-right social media platform Gab.com to engage potential voters is a step toward extremism that more moderate members of the Republican Party have a responsibility to repudiate, experts on politics and the internet say.

Mastriano paid $5,000 for campaign consulting to Gab.com, according to his campaign finance reports filed in May. Gab was the site where a gunman posted anti-Semitic screeds before the October 2018 shooting when he allegedly killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The 49-year-old Allegheny County man, who faces federal hate crime charges, wrote on the site about the white supremacist conspiracy theory that white people are being replaced in American society by immigrants and people of color, a theme Mastriano also has touched on in public statements.

Libby Hemphill, a University of Michigan professor who studies political communication and social media, said Gab emerged as a refuge for hate speech after mainstream platforms including Facebook, Reddit and Twitter took steps to moderate and remove racist and bigoted content.

“When a mainstream politician says I want to reach hate groups where they meet, that’s scary to us,” Hemphill said.

Lara Putnam, a University of Pittsburgh professor who tracks disinformation on social media, said hate speech and conspiracy theories peddled on Gab and other sites breed political extremism and violence. The mainstream political parties set a baseline for what is acceptable and serve as a critical bulwark against extremism.

“Pushing back requires all political figures in all of the mainstream parties to say that is beyond the pale,” said Puntam, who is a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue’s Dor Hadash congregation. “We have not yet heard that from Doug Mastriano.”

Mastriano did not respond to messages left on his cellphone or with his campaign.

Gab founder Andrew Torba on Friday responded to reports of Mastriano’s association with the platform in a livestream in which he endorsed the state senator from Franklin County as a Christian nationalist candidate. In the 40-minute video, Torba said Christian nationalists would build a coalition of candidates at the local, state and federal levels.

“[Mastriano] is our guy, and this is Pennsylvania’s guy, and he’s going to turn this state around for the glory of God. And that is the mission here, folks,” Torba said.

Torba also dismissed right-wing activists who are gay and Jewish, saying they are not conservatives.

“They don’t share our values. They have inverted values for us as Christians, so don’t fall for the bait,” Torba said.

Torba continued, saying the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian country and that it would be the focal point of the Christian nationalist movement as it builds a parallel society and economy.

“We’re not going to, like, take over the country tomorrow, right? That’s not going to happen. Maybe it will. … You know, God works in mysterious ways,” Torba said.

“The way I see it playing out is we’re playing the long game. So we’re raising our kids with biblical Christian values,” Torba said.

Torba could not be reached for comment.

Mastriano has also spoken about marginalization of Christians. At a Charter Day event at the state Capitol this month to mark the anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania, Mastriano compared himself to William Penn, a Quaker who left England to escape religious persecution.

“He was mocked in the media, ridiculed, castigated, as we’re seeing today. The religious freedoms that we’ve enjoyed over the past several centuries here have been an anomaly in American and world history,” Mastriano said during a speech in the rotunda.

“And we’re seeing that’s being swept away, where the media think it’s OK to attack Christians for their faith and mock us, castigate us, call us names,” Mastriano said.

The Tree of Life gunman, wrote on Gab about the replacement theory, a purported conspiracy in which Democratic donor George Soros is said to be smuggling immigrants into the United States to vote illegally and commit crimes against Americans. Soros is Jewish and is frequently the target of anti-Semitic attacks..

“The false claims about immigration mixed with the false claims about Jews have been a really potent false narrative that has been part of the political ecosystem for the last six years,” Putnam said.

While Putnam said there is a legitimate debate to be had about immigration and that politicians like Mastriano have a right to be as conservative as they want, they also have a responsibility to distance themselves from destructive conspiracy theories.”

“Doug Mastriano could be an important conservative voice by distancing himself from these conspiracy theories,” Putnam said. “He has not chosen to distance himself from Gab. He’s doing the opposite right now.”

Jennifer Stromer-Galley, a professor of communications at Syracuse University who studies online political communication, said politicians who use platforms such as Gab often say they value free speech and freedom from censorship.

“We just go to these tech platforms because they make themselves available as a marketplace of ideas,” Stromer-Galley said.

But the big question, Stromer-Galley said, is whether there should be limits.

“When these social media platforms become the public sphere, what role should they be playing in monitoring and moderating out hate speech? Stromer-Galley said.

It remains to be seen how voters will react to Mastriano’s association with Gab, Hemphill said, noting that it could motivate voters for or against him.

“For a statewide office, it’s a risky move,” Hemphill said.

As the number of voters across the country who identify as moderate becomes smaller, candidates such as Mastriano may make calculated decisions to engage with their party’s base. The effect on partisan politics is likely to be lasting.

“Even if this doesn’t work in 2022, if it moves the window of what is acceptable to include engaging with white supremacists, that is a significant push for the Republican party,” Hemphill said.

Stromer-Galley noted that in the past, extreme candidates such as Pat Buchanan, a Republican presidential candidate with anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic views, were repudiated by party leaders and lost the party’s support.

“As a scholar of democracy I do worry what it means for our society when mainstream Republicans are actively courting advocates of right wing extremism,” Stromer Galley said.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

Josh Shapiro emerges from primary season with strong fundraising advantage over Capitol protester Doug Mastriano

Heading into the November election campaign, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro had $13.4 million on hand while his Republican opponent had just under $400,000, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Department of State.
The reports, which were due last Thursday, reflect the candidates’ receipts and spending from May 3 to June 6, which includes the final weeks of the primary campaign.

Republican nominee Doug Mastriano, of Franklin County, who ran a grassroots campaign in a crowded Republican field, added only $162,092 to his campaign coffers with more than one-third in donations of less than $250 from individuals.

Mastriano, a state senator, spent $557,000 including $294,000 on advertising and $29,000 on text messaging.

Two of Mastriano’s donors made five-figure contributions: Benjamin Beiler, of Millerstown, gave $10,000 and Heller Capital Group, a Lancaster private equity firm headed by Daryl Heller, gave $15,000.

Doug Mastriano’s largest donor is Shake Shack’s bread maker

Shapiro, the two-term elected attorney general from Montgomery County, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, nonetheless spent $7 million. That included $4.4 million on advertising and $900,000 in donations to Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Austin Davis, and more than $600,000 to the state Democratic party.

Shapiro collected nearly $4.7 million in donations, mainly from larger donors who contributed at least $250.

Major individual donors included pediatric oncologist Jennifer Duda of Menlo Park, California, who gave $500,000; video game developer Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitetto of San Francisco, who gave $200,000; pediatric clinic director Lisa Mennet of Seattle, who gave $100,000; and Yakir Gola, founder of the online food and drink delivery service goPuff, who gave $55,000.

Shapiro also reported large contributions from the Democratic Governors Association, which gave $500,000; the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association PAC, which gave $100,000 and the United Food and Commercial Workers PAC, which gave $160,000

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.