Austin Davis announces campaign for Pa. Lieutenant Governor

STATE REP. AUSTIN DAVIS announces his candidacy for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, Jan. 4, at Kennedy Park in McKeesport. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

 

If he wins, he’ll make history by becoming the state’s first African American to hold the position

 

History is being made all over the place these days. Ed Gainey became the first Black mayor in Pittsburgh history a few weeks ago, and Kamala Harris is the first Black vice president in U.S. history, so why wouldn’t state Rep. Austin Davis, who made history a few years ago by becoming the first Black state Rep. in Western Pa. outside city limits, want to make history by becoming Pennsylvania’s first Black Lieutenant Governor?

The 32-year-old heart and soul of McKeesport announced on Jan. 4 his campaign for lieutenant governor, with a big endorsement by his side —Josh Shapiro, the current state attorney general who is also running for governor of the state.

In May’s primary election, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run independently, meaning that Rep. Davis could win the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and Shapiro lose the Democratic nomination for governor, or vice versa. But obviously, the two want to win the Democratic nominations in a few months, and then they’ll be paired as a duo in the November general election to battle the Republican candidates.

STATE REP. AUSTIN DAVIS announces his candidacy for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, Jan. 4, at Kennedy Park in McKeesport. He is endorsed by Attorrney General Josh Shapiro, who is running for governor. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

“I’m running for lieutenant governor because I think I can be a strong governing partner for Josh Shapiro,” Rep. Davis told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview, Jan. 14. “He has often said that he wants to build an administration that is diverse, people that come from different walks of life other than his own, so I think I bring a unique perspective to the ticket, both as a Southwestern Pennsylvania Democrat but also someone who comes from a strong working-class background. I’m the proud son of a union bus driver and a hair dresser and I want to be a strong advocate for working-class families in the lieutenant governor’s office.”

“Pennsylvanians – from Westmoreland to West Philadelphia – deserve leaders who understand the issues they’re facing and can bring people together to get things done. Throughout his career, Austin Davis has fought for the people of Western Pennsylvania, standing up for families who work hard to make ends meet and communities that have been forgotten,” Shapiro said in a statement to the Courier and other media outlets. “Whether it was leading Montgomery County or now as attorney general, I’ve always surrounded myself with people who bring different life experiences to my team – and I’m proud to endorse Austin Davis because I know he will make my administration stronger as our next lieutenant governor.”

Committed to public service, Rep. Davis told the Courier he’ll be on the ballot for both lieutenant governor and state representative. A successful run to the lieutenant governor’s seat, and he’ll relinquish the title of state representative.

STATE REP. AUSTIN DAVIS announces his candidacy for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, Jan. 4, at Kennedy Park in McKeesport. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

Representative Davis stays active in fighting for his constituents in the 35th House District, which includes Clairton, McKeesport, Duquesne and other areas of the Mon Valley. His office announced a $1.25 state grant to jumpstart a major redevelopment project in Clairton on Dec. 6, 2021. On Dec. 2, 2021, his office announced $1.8 million in state funds to go towards combating violence in the Mon Valley via on-the-ground programs. Representative Davis helped give 400 turkeys to Mon Valley families this past Thanksgiving holiday with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and he forever continues fighting for more affordable housing in the Mon Valley.

“I’ve been fighting for family-sustaining jobs to improve our education system and make sure we’re creating ladders of opportunity for folks,” Rep. Davis told the Courier exclusively. “I would continue to fight for those things as lieutenant governor, just on a bigger scale. Josh and I had a number of conversations and he really wants a lieutenant governor who’s active in the day-to-day governance of this commonwealth, which would be different from previous relationships between governors and lieutenant governors. I plan to take a very active role in the day-to-day operations of a Shapiro/Davis administration.”

While there are more than 10 candidates vying for the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania, Shapiro is by far the leading candidate on the Democratic side. His endorsement of Rep. Davis could go a long way towards Rep. Davis securing the party’s lieutenant governor nomination. While not looking too far ahead, Rep. Davis is well aware of the significance of his campaign, as he could become the first Black lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania history.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility to continue to break down barriers so that people who come behind me have a little bit of an easier path to walk through the trails that I’ve blazed,” Rep. Davis told the Courier. “It would be great to be the first Black lieutenant governor, but it won’t mean anything if there’s not a second or a third or if we don’t elect a Black governor ever. It’s a humbling responsibility that I have to the generation that comes behind us, but I think I show them what you can achieve through hard work and perseverance.”

 

 

 

 

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