If anyone was wondering what Paul Mango—one of four Republicans vying to unseat Democratic Governor Tom Wolf—thinks about his namesake fruit, wonder no more.
“Actually I don’t like mangos, I really don’t,” he told a group of reporters and other attendees at a Pennsylvania Press Club gathering in Harrisburg.
On a range of other topics, the retired health care systems consultant and former paratrooper from the Pittsburgh suburbs largely toed a line between outsider and establishment conservative.
Mango told the crowd he thinks sanctuary cities are dangerous, and expressed concern about an “erosion of core American values,” which he said is exemplified by college Republicans being “ostracized” on their campuses by liberal classmates and professors.
He full-throatedly opposed gay marriage, too, and promised to drastically reduce environmental regulations in the commonwealth.
Mango also called Governor Wolf a “liberal, progressive socialist.”
Many of his stances don’t differ much from his three GOP opponents.
But Mango aimed to distinguish himself by criticizing work by current members of the legislature—namely last year’s budget, which was balanced largely on borrowing.
“That’s not holding the line on taxes. That’s deferring taxes to the future with $400 million of interest,” he said. “I think that’s disgraceful.”
Mango said one of the big problems in Pennsylvania is a lack of growth, and touted the lofty goal of balancing the commonwealth’s budget largely through economic stimulus.
“Let’s bring back some skilled labor, roll back the regulatory state, get our corporate tax rate in line with our personal income tax rate—this economy is going to take off, absolutely take off,” he said.
“Now that’s going to take 12 or 24 months,” he added. “But so be it.”
State budgets have been consistently underfunded for nearly a decade, since the housing market crashed in 2008.
So far, attempts to tax-cut the problem away have seen limited success.
Two of the three other Republicans running for governor are members of the legislature—House Speaker Mike Turzai, of suburban Pittsburgh, and York County Senator Scott Wagner.
Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth is the fourth contender.