Pa. Gov. Josh Shapiro stumps for President Joe Biden on trip to New Hampshire
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro received a rousing welcome from New Hampshire Democrats Saturday as he stumped for President Joe Biden and a pair of Granite State gubernatorial candidates ahead of next year's election cycle.
Speaking from a high school theater stage to a convention of about 500 party officials, volunteers and candidates, Shapiro painted political action as a moral imperative and a civic duty. Democrats need to fight against extremists who are pushing strict abortion bans, attempting to limit voting rights and denying the scientific reality of climate change, he said. And that means Democrats need to get to work to ensure Biden is elected to a second term and support whoever earns the Democratic nomination for New Hampshire's governor next year.
"It's up to each of us to get off the sidelines, to get in the game and to do our part — to stand up for our rights, to defend our democracy. It's up to all of us to break down arbitrary barriers to entry and create real opportunity for the good people of this country," Shapiro said.
Shapiro brandished his own credentials as an example of what's possible when ordinary people get involved in the political process. While talking about the need to support voting rights, he highlighted his record as attorney general when he successfully defended the state in 40 lawsuits challenging Pennsylvania's returns in the 2020 election. When speaking about creating good-paying jobs, he pointed to his executive order that removed a requirement that candidates for most state jobs require a college degree.
Biden, he said, has also delivered. He credited the 46th president with creating more than 13 million jobs nationally since taking office and making a historic investment in the nation's infrastructure. When a tanker truck crash destroyed an overpass on Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania, the Shapiro administration found a way to reopen the highway in just 12 days. But that wouldn't have been possible without the financial support of the federal government. Biden, Shapiro said, personally checked in to make sure the state had what it needed to get the job done.
"When the nation's eyes were on Pennsylvania, we showed we could do big things again. That's who we are as Democrats," Shapiro said.
Shapiro repeated an emerging motto of his administration — a focus on "getting s*** done." He was confident that the 2024 Democratic nominee for New Hampshire governor — candidates Joyce Craig and Cinde Warmington also addressed the crowd Saturday — would carry that mindset, too. They each support building a stronger, more inclusive New Hampshire, and they'll be a better candidate than whoever emerges on the Republican ticket, he said.
"She will make New Hampshire a leader in economic development and job creation. Now, listen, you'll be second to Pennsylvania, but it's fine. It'll be good for you guys," Shapiro said, drawing good-natured laughs.
Cindy Raspiller, a Mont Vernon Democrat who graduated from Lehigh University, said she has been keeping tabs on Shapiro and the political happenings in the Keystone State. The convention was her first opportunity to see him in person and she came away impressed with how he seemed to speak from the heart, she said.
"I thought he did a great job. I was impressed before and I'm more impressed now," Raspiller said.
Listing out his own accomplishments may have been a subtle way of laying the groundwork for his own run for president. Political observers have pointed to Shapiro as one of the party's rising stars and a potential candidate in 2028. New Hampshire is an early primary state, and generations of ambitious politicians have made frequent trips to the Granite State to engage in its unique brand of retail politics. Shapiro, however, denied he's kicking the tires on a presidential run.
"I'm just happy to be here to support the party and to share our message of progress in Pennsylvania," Shapiro said during brief remarks to reporters afterward.
It wasn't an entirely warm welcome for Shapiro. Protestors who appeared to challenge him on Pennsylvania's record on fracking and climate change attempted to interrupt the speech by chanting and shouting. Shapiro tried to speak over them, but everyone was drowned out by the booing of the large crowd who wanted to hear Shapiro. Security eventually escorted the group of about a half-dozen people out so Shapiro could deliver the bulk of his remarks.