State Sen. Dan Laughlin announced on Friday he is forming a working group to explore a run for Governor of Pennsylvania.
The Erie Republican returned to office last year with nearly 60 percent of the vote in a predominantly Democratic district.
“If Republicans are to restore common sense conservatism to the governor’s office, they need a candidate capable of reaching across party lines with an agenda focused on practical solutions and fiscal sanity,” Laughlin said in a press release on Friday.
A self-described center-right conservative, Laughlin was first elected in an upset victory in 2016 over one-term incumbent Sean Wiley. He then defeated Democrat Julie Slomski in November in the state’s single most expensive legislative race of 2020.
During his first term of office, Laughlin secured additional yearly funding that prevented the closure of Erie City’s high schools. He became an advocate for outdoors enthusiasts by passing legislation to phase out prohibitions against Sunday hunting.
Laughlin has also advocated for a higher minimum wage pegged to inflation, an end to criminal prohibitions against marijuana, and economic development programs targeted at economically distressed communities. He has been prominent in the call to reopen the state’s economy and end the current administration’s secretive practice of government by emergency decree.
“Leaders like Bill Scranton and Dick Thornburgh showed us that Pennsylvanians are less concerned about strident ideology than about policies that work for people,” Laughlin said. “My conservatism guides me, but I’m less interested in fighting culture wars than I am fixing the roads and building an economy for our children.”