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Pennsylvanians Are Worried About The Economy, But Remain Hopeful That Prosperity Is Possible

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From left: Kent Strang, managing director of Americans for Prosperity; Pete Linko, director of Grassroots, AFP-PA; Mary Beth Cirucci, coalitions director, AFP-PA; Jezree Friend, Manufacturer & Business Association; Peggy Grande, former executive assistant to President Ronald Reagan; State Representative Rob Mercuri; State Senator Devlin Robinson; and, Emily Greene, deputy state director, AFP-PA.
Mary Beth Cirucci is the coalitions director for Americans for Prosperity PA, a premier grassroots advocacy organization transforming policy around the country

It’s little wonder Pennsylvanians sometimes worry that high prices and a stagnant economy are here to stay. CNN recently reported that “the typical American household spent $709 more in July than they did two years ago to buy the same goods and services.” Analysts expect the economy to “flatline” for the next year, followed by a return to higher inflation.

But not everyone is so pessimistic.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has launched a nationwide “Prosperity is Possible” tour dedicated to changing the policies that have brought on inflation and stagnation.

Pennsylvania is the centerpiece of that tour.

This tour will focus on empowering individuals and businesses to achieve their full potential by reducing the size and cost of government and promoting policies that reward hard work and innovation. The campaign’s goal is to make the American dream a tangible reality by advancing three key policy issues: supporting a flexible workforce, abundant affordable energy, and responsible fiscal spending with regulatory policies that slow inflation and promote growth.

The RV tour made 11 stops across the state in the first week of August, stressing the need to reverse federal policies that restrict energy production — a key component of the Keystone State’s economy — burden business with excessive regulation, and propel inflation by out-of-control spending.

The tour launched August 4 in Homer City, east of Pittsburgh, traveling through Saxonburg, Canonsburg, Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Slippery Rock, before concluding in historic Titusville, birthplace of the American petroleum industry.

Highlights of the tour included a Booze, Bands & Bidenomics Happy Hour in Washington, a $47 gift card giveaway at Sprankles Market in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to reflect the 4.7-percent increase in grocery costs in one year, and a panel discussion in Cranberry Township that focused on government spending and energy regulations.

“Since May 1, we have talked with tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians, right on their doorstep or over the phone,” said Emily Greene, deputy state director at Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania. “Sixty percent of Pennsylvanians believe that the country’s best days are behind them.”

Greene and the other panel members — Peggy Grande, former executive assistant to Ronald Reagan; State Representative Rob Mercuri, State Senator Devlin Robinson, and Jezree Friend, assistant vice president of External Relations at the Manufacturer & Business Association — do not believe that. But changing federal energy policy is key to any success. “Pennsylvania, and especially Western Pennsylvania, has an abundant amount of natural gas underneath our feet,” Robinson said, “and doing away with the regulations and the misinformation war that’s coming from the left is paramount to reducing inflation and getting people to be able to feed their families.”

The MBA’s Friend pointed to Pennsylvania’s lack of competitiveness with its next-door- neighbors as a crucial challenge. He also expressed concern that if Pennsylvania joins the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, that the energy industry will simply move to West Virginia and Ohio, costing the state dearly.

That kind of economic dislocation caused by the indifference of politicians is one thing the tour is designed to counteract, according to AFP’s Greene.

“This campaign is really about reaching those who feel disenfranchised and feel their voice doesn’t matter when they’re turning on the TV and seeing partisanship in Washington,” she said.

It’s also about reaching Pennsylvania’s elected officials in Washington who are standing in the way of legislative solutions.

HR 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, is a bill that would boost energy production, lower prices, and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The bill already has been passed by the House, but the Senate won’t consider it.

As AFP Pennsylvania coalitions director, I want to challenge the Senate on that. We need our U.S. Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman to side with Pennsylvanians instead of their party’s leftwing leadership and help get H.R. 1 passed.