Episode 7 - Commonalities - Rep. Aaron Bernstine


Episode 7 - Commonalities - Rep. Aaron Bernstine


This week on Commonalities we talk with State Representative Aaron Bernstine, an American politician and current representative-elect for the 8th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Bernstine is a member of the Republican Party, having previously represented the 10th District. Tuesday, December 20th at 11:15 A.M.


Episode Transcript
Starting now. Commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations, politics, religion, finances, all the topics your grandmother told you not to discuss with friends. And now your host, Matthew Dowling, and today's guests on commonalities. Well, welcome to another episode of Commonalities. I'm your host, Matt Dowling. And, uh, I have. A, a guest with me today that is, uh, not just a former colleague, but a former friend, or actually, I guess we're still friends. We're current friends, buddy Stein. Yeah, we're a current friends, uh, former colleague, uh, representative Aaron Bernstein, north of the Pittsburgh area in, uh, the district that he represents. And I believe your district number just changed with reapportionment, is that. Correct? It did, Matt. Yeah, it was, uh, we were previously the 10th legislative district, and that had areas of Beaver Butler and Lawrence Counties. And now we are in, uh, just Lawrence County and Butler County. And we're currently the eighth district. So, um, you know, uh, a little bit of the district change, and obviously that happens every 10 years as you're well aware. Uh, constitutionally required where the districts change and we kinda re even up across the board and across the commonwealth and across this country. So, uh, we're really excited about our new district, a lot of agriculture areas, which, as you know, I have a background in and really excited to be there. Now, in addition to, uh, you know, being a farmer and, uh, and things like that, you've also had success in business. You've, uh, taught, uh, at the collegiate level. Why don't you give us a little bit of your personal background before we get into, uh, any of the politics of. Today? Yeah, absolutely. And thanks Matt. And obviously, thank you so much for having me on this show. I, I love podcasts. Uh, the only thing I was disappointed was you said I had to put my camera on, and I know I have a face Greek for radio, so, uh, hopefully most people are listening just to the podcast piece and not the actual, uh, picture of me. But, um, yeah, so my background is, I was actually born and raised in Minerva, Ohio, a little farm town, uh, in Stark County. Uh, very close to the football Hall of Fame for those that are familiar. And by the way, from, if you're on Western pa, you ought to take a trip over there. It's a real short trip. My little guy loves it. And, uh, ultimately moved whenever I was a freshman in high school to Newcastle, Pennsylvania. I graduated from Union Township, uh, union school district in Union Township. Went on to Penn State, uh, graduated. Uh, then I went, I really worked in, uh, human capital management in which we worked with companies. I worked for a company called a D p and that company, we worked with company, we worked with them on issues like payroll, tax filing, any compliance issues, employees clocking in and out. And I always tell people it was the, it was the craziest job I ever had. They throw you to the wolves, about 15% of people make it. Uh, you either sink or swim and you're out knocking on doors with companies that have between one and 10 employees and the people you're trying to get them to fire their mother from doing their payroll and their small business and hiring you. Uh, so if you can do that, you, you're doing okay. Uh, rose through the ranks there at ADP, left for a short period of time to go to a startup company. Uh, we grew that company from about 80,000 in revenue to about 800,000 in annual revenue over a 20 month period. Came back to ADP in which I worked with, um, very large companies, US Steel, 84 lumber companies like that on their human capital management services. And then Matt, I said, you know what? I want to do public service. I'm interested in some of these different things. And I, I, I went to a, and I'll shorten the the story for you, but I went to a, uh, small municipal building of where I'm at, which is New Beaver Borough in a meeting. And I said, Hey, maybe I wanna run for council or local town mayor. Right? Obviously not a full-time thing. And I went there, I came home and my wife said, Hey, you think you're gonna do it? I said, no, these guys are doing a great job, right? They're doing a really good job at the stuff they're doing. So I started just peeking around and I said, you know what, maybe I'll run for state representative. Uh, they told me I could never win the Republican nomination. The party was, uh, squarely behind another person. We went on in a three-way race, and we were victorious in that race. 60, uh, 75 to 16 to nine. And then they said, well, no way you can beat the incumbent. He's been here for a decade. And we went on to win that race by 16.9%, and that was in 2016. And I'm really fortunate, um, that my 65,000 bosses, and you and I have talked about this, I call my constituent, my bosses. My 65,000 bosses have continued to elect me in not only 16, but 18, uh, 20, and then just recently in 2022. Well, congratulations on the, uh, the reelection and, uh, the new district that you have through reapportionment. Now, this has been quite an election cycle because if you asked me before we went into things, how things would end up shaking out for the Democrats and the Republicans. Yeah. Uh, looking purely at party politics, um, in this year's election cycle, I would've thought that the Republicans would've come out, um, strong victors. Uh, I wasn't sure that we had the ability to pull off, uh, the governor's mansion win here in Pennsylvania, but I did think that we would have a US Senate seat. Um, you know, I thought that race would go a little bit differently. And what really shocked me was what's happened in the Pennsylvania House. And, uh, and that continues to kind of be a point of discussion because, you know, things aren't settled. So let's talk the numbers and what's going on in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Sure. So 203 members are in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Uh, you and I have worked on a bill when we were there. I think we both think that's far too many. Um, and, uh, in, in my world, less politicians you have out there, the better. I think that's a, that's a big win, uh, if we could ever get that reduced. But, um, it's tough to get people to vote themselves out of a job, although you and I tried very, very hard to, to make that happen. And we've. Voted for it before, uh, both of us. But <laugh>. Uh, Matt, you there? Yeah, I'm here. Okay. Sorry. Something tripped over on my, uh, on my phone there. Um, oh, that's okay. But, uh, yeah, so, so 203 elections there. The Democrats won 102 of those election. The Republicans won 101 of those elections. Now, interestingly enough, although they won 102 of those elections, one of the individuals, uh, is deceased. He, he was dead when, when he ran, um, because he, he, he died of cancer. Uh, very good fellow, by the way, and Tony. DeLuca. Great guy, great guy, great guy. Uh, by the way, we, we, we agreed on about nothing on policy, uh, but about everything, I think, in terms of life. And, uh, he's, he's a good man and very good man. Um, so that makes it 1 0 1, 1 0 1. And then two other Democrats were elected that will never be sworn in. And those two Democrats were a person that won for Congress and then a person that won for Lieutenant Governor. So in summary, now Republicans have 101 members. Democrats have 99 members with three special elections coming up. Now, we could spend the next hour talking about how many of those special elections are gonna be and what's the situation with that. Um, but basically ours have 1 0 1, theses have 99 Republicans will have a majority for a period of time. Whether that period of time is about one month or whether that period of time extends to as much as four months, we don't know until those special elections, the courts determine when those special elections will actually happen. So what we do know is that out of 20 months or 24 months, that Republicans will have that, you know, one or two months or as many as four months out of that 24 month period. And then we're gonna have a change in power in terms of who's in the majority. And, you know, I, I think that, uh, the point that I wanna make is that I feel that the Democrats are being a little bit presumptuous. Now that being said, I think that, uh, this, if it wasn't, I don't know what would be a wake up call for the Republicans, uh, that are in leadership, both in the house and in the state party. Um, because the, the special elections that are out there, if we had to throw darts at a board right now and pick who would win, would probably go to the Ds. And so it's, it's likely, and, you know, I'll say this, you don't have to agree with me, but it's likely that the Democrats will be in the majority in the Pennsylvania house. Um, but I do think it's a, a little presumptuous without seeing what the final numbers, uh, come down to, uh, that the Democrats are, are claiming victory and, uh, ready to name a speaker and. So forth. Yeah. So if I could, let's address those three things separately, because I think we talk about why did it happen. And that was one of the things you talked about. You talked about the three elections, uh, or I'm sorry, that, um, you talked about the Democrats being presumptuous and saying that they're in the majority. And then also you talked about the three elections that are out there. So let me handle the easiest one first. Uh, there are three special elections that are gonna happen. Republicans have absolutely zero chance to win two of those. Uh, the other one, they're a very, very, very strong, uh, underdog. A very, very major underdog. Listen, at the end of the day, um, you're not winning. Two, we know that. Um, the other one, I think it'd be very, very difficult to win. I don't see it happening, but it could happen. So, you know, ultimately we're gonna end up with a 1 0 2 to 1 0 1 majority, uh, with either Republicans or Democrats being in charge of that. And that's probably the Democrats, right? That's what you just said. So secondly, let's talk about the presumption. And this makes no sense to me, Matt, listen, you and I aren't the smartest guys in the world, and I can say that cuz we're really good friends. Um, and you know, we, we've had a lot of conversations over our, our time of being together. And I really enjoy you and your friendship. Um, you know, me, I'm a pretty straight shooter. Uh, I don't know how in the world that anyone can think that the number 99 is greater than the number 101 that just doesn't add up to me. So Democrats saying that they're in the majority is clearly inaccurate. Uh, we don't elect parties in this country. So they say, well, the party won a hundred, two 11, it doesn't matter. We elect people in this country, and you can, if you don't want to do that, you can go ahead and move to England. Then they basically elect parties in that, in that country. So Republicans are gonna have the majority for a short period of time, and then more than likely Democrats will have that majority. Uh, you have Joanna MCC Clinton that's going around saying, look, I'm the acting speaker, I'm the acting speaker. Uh, there's no such thing as an acting speaker. It doesn't exist. And, and I think one of the things that, uh, I've always been passionate about since I very first started is we're gonna tell the truth. And sometimes that truth makes people uncomfortable, and sometimes that people don't like that, but we're always gonna tell the truth. And the truth is that there's no such thing as acting speaker. The truth is that Republicans currently have the majority. Then the truth is that very, very soon the Democrats will have the majority probably, uh, in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives. So that covered one and two, if I could go into number three of what the heck happened, I, I'd be happy to. Is that where you'd like me to go next? Sure. Yeah, yeah. Let's take. It there. Yeah. Well, I know this is only a 40 minute, uh, show. So, um, <laugh>, but, uh, listen, I, I think twofold on that, uh, number one, I'm gonna, I'm gonna talk about the way that things are done in Harrisburg. And if you get elected to run in Harrisburg and you get elected and you run on certain things, you ought to be telling people the truth about what you're about. And so many times you and I have been in the caucus room for those that are listening that don't know what this is, uh, the caucus room is where a particular party gets together at this case with, with Matt and I was the Republicans, and we talked about bills that were coming up and when we should run 'em and how people are gonna vote and things like that. And you basically hash it out amongst your, you know, amongst your teammates, right? Matt, how many times were you in that room? And people would stand up consistently and say, well, this is a tough vote for me. And, and, and you know, you mentioned that, and I don't mean to veer off of where you were going, but I remember a particular time when you got up following someone saying that and said, we get paid to take tough votes. Okay? So, and you know, that's something that I always believed as. Well. So it, if I get pushed back, I said a little bit different. I said, we get paid to take votes, not to take tough votes cuz there's no such thing as a tough vote. Because at the end of the day, what, what people mean by a tough vote is this may make someone angry at me. This may make somebody upset. My phone may ring. Matt, you got 65,000 bosses, okay? They elected us, they elected you, they elected me to go to Harrisburg and do something, darn it. And, and they elected us to take votes. We were paid to take votes, and that is what we receive our salary of what, a hundred thousand dollars or whatever it is, right? Which is pretty darn good to go and do the job of. And, and, and if you remember, I didn't make too many friends after that speech. Uh, and if I remember correctly, I believe that I got a text message from you that said, that was really great, or thanks for saying that. And, uh, now that you're gone, I can tell people that you said that. So, um, but you know, and that's the truth, right? We are paid to do the job of taking votes and we are sent there to execute on an agenda. And what happens is people shy away from actually doing things because, and now I'm gonna roll into part two of this. The truth is that the general public, the vast majority of the general public is very happy having a representative or a center senator. They don't say they're happy, but the data proof, so of saying, Hey, just show up at my little fire hall event and send me a Christmas card and I really like you and you do a great job. Okay? And I can give you a great example of that here in Lawrence, Lawrence County until he got beat this last time is Chris Sonata. I don't know that Chris Sonata has ever actually been involved in any single piece of legislation, but he did call old people on their birthdays, okay? And they thought he was doing a great job because of that. Well, you know me well enough, that's not my style. And, and, and I've told people, they're like, well, hey, why don't you do some of those things? This guys, I'm busy. Like I'm, you know, if, if I showed you today the stuff that was on my computer and everywhere else, and I have a million things going on, well, we're trying to move a real agenda, uh, to get things done. This is my binder right here. Um, you can probably see it here in the background for those that are actually watching with all these papers in here are bills that we're running and we're doing, and we're moving an agenda. So the general public wants people then all mo it's acceptable for them to not be really aggressive. I'm very concerned about that because they don't say that's what they want, but they vote that way. The last part is this Democrats outspent Republicans seven to one and State House races across Pennsylvania. I don't know if you're aware of that or not. Uh, but it was seven to one, Matt. And here's the truth, that Republicans go to the polls and vote and think they're doing a great thing. Then once in a while they'll get on Facebook. Never, not so much Twitter, but maybe more now with, uh, with Elon taking over and Instagram once in a while. And then they'll troll a Democrat. Okay? Democrats do this. I talked to one of our colleagues that is extremely liberal, okay? I like her. I don't like her policies, but I like her as a person. And she laughed and she goes, you guys, she goes, she is. Your people don't get it. I said, what do you mean? She goes, you're conservative people. You guys don't get it. She is, they're cheap. She goes, it's all about them. I said, what are you talking about? She goes, Erin, I, my volunteers and the people in my campaign that make $10 an hour go to their boss and say, I wanna work two extra hours a month. And then for that two extra hours a month that they made their $20, they contributed to a campaign and they contribute to my campaign so I can get our message out and make sure that we keep winning. Your people make 50, 60, $70,000 and you can't get 'em to write you a hundred dollars check. My people are doing these things each and every day. And that's how we outspend you. That's how we out, uh, maneuver you. And oh yeah, by the way, in addition to that extra time that they're doing, they're also writing postcards, asking their friends to get involved. They're working polls, they're doing all these things. So one, we're being outspent by the big, by the big donors, right? Cuz the big lib donors come in. Secondarily, the small donors, people are really working hard. The Democrats are working hard on that. I'm actually starting a pack to do that as well on the Republican side. And then third, we're being out hustled, uh, by the regular rank and file individuals who are putting forth the effort of knocking on doors. I don't know if you know this, Matt, but around here and around in my area, Democrats are already knocking on doors for 2024 races. Okay? Volunteers are actually out knocking on doors. I, in last week I got a report. So that was what, the 12th, 13th of December for 2024 for candidates. Well, and, and I've started now to consult with candidates for future elections. And, uh, and we're looking at that cycle at this point in time too. Uh, but you know, if someone doesn't already have some claim to fame or name recognition for 2024 right now, at this point in time, it's almost too late, uh, to, to outwork the Democrats. Yeah. And you make a great point about those small 20, $40 donations that come in. You know, sometimes that $40 is, uh, more of a sacrifice for that individual than the $500,000 check that you get from, um, a small business owner. Uh, albeit they're struggling as well. Um, but, you know, those people take great pride and they want that candidate to have their financial support and their contribution, and that makes all of the difference, uh, when we get to that. Yeah. Matt, what, what. We have to get a, oh, go ahead, Aaron. Yep. Sorry. I was gonna say, you know, I'm moving to a model with a new political action committee. I'm starting calling called Accountable Leadership Pack, where we're asking people to contribute monthly. And I don't care if that's $3 a month, I don't care if that's $10, whatever it is. But we're asking them to contribute monthly because we want to go out and help those other candidates be successful. You know, Aaron, we gotta get a quick break in. Uh, when we come back, I want to talk about, uh, kind of the core values of this show. And that's one of the reasons why I had you on to discuss these important political issues. Uh, when I, uh, dreamt up the show commonalities, I could have had, uh, just a right wing, uh, podcast and, and done my best rusher Hannity, uh, impersonation. And, uh, and you know, you know, I was in the top 10% of conservative members of, of the Pennsylvania House, uh, and my votes prove that, that being said, what's even more important to me than my personal agenda or the Republican agenda or the conservative agenda, is the fact that people follow the rules and follow the laws. And that's what government is here, uh, for us, us to do. And if you're not, uh, following the legislative process correctly, uh, you can get into some real problems. And that's why I wanted to talk about the makeup of the house between the Democrats and the Republicans, and the fact that, uh, we have these rumors that, uh, that one party's in the majority, and there's an acting speaker. Uh, when we get back, I want to touch on just briefly even the fact that, uh, that we had an issue with the chief clerk, uh, and we will explain the chief clerk's position, uh, here in the Pennsylvania House recently, um, where she actually cited with one party over the other, uh, and over the law. So we'll get all that in when we get back after this brief break. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, gleaming hardwood floors, and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. 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Believe in the political don't have any commit crimes. We live in a political. World. Well, you're listening to commonalities. I'm your host Matt Dowling here on W N B S five 90 am 1 0 1 0.1 fm, and as a podcast downloadable every place you find your favorite podcasts. With me today is a great friend, former colleague, representative Aaron Bernstein. And, uh, before we went to break, uh, representative Bernstein, we were talking a little bit about, uh, about things that have happened, uh, since this election cycle that maybe haven't been completely kosher or that would give us some pause or worry as we look for, uh, the way that, that the next two year session will be run, uh, in the Pennsylvania House in Harrisburg. And I know that I had brought up the situation where the chief clerk sided with the Democrats over the law, and, uh, I actually saw that a co-sponsorship memo was put out by another friend of mine, uh, and a friend of yours, I'm I'm sure as well. Yeah. Uh, representative Don Keefer, uh, that would actually remove the chief clerk from office. The Chief clerk, of course, is, uh, hired by the Bipartisan Management Committee and is a paid employee that is there to uphold the integrity of that chamber, uh, and to uphold the law. And in this case, uh, it doesn't look like that was done. And I'm not sure how familiar you are with that situation, Aaron, but if you'd like to talk about that, I'd like to go there for a. Minute or two. Yeah. So, um, you know, a lot of folks working very closely on that one. I'm focused on a couple other things, but you know, clearly I'm well aware of what's going on. Some of my things, different court things that I'm focused on as, you know, you only do so many things at once. And, uh, but what I do know about that is as follows. And I know that the, um, the clerk said that she acts literally as, um, almost like a passthrough, okay? Like, yes, this did happen. And yes, I'm sending this along to the Department of State, uh, and you're talking about what, what you're discussing is that the Ritz, uh, for the special elections were sent over from the Democrats. Uh, the Republicans did those same bricks as well, and those were also sent over by the chief clerk. And, uh, so listen, I think this is something that the courts are ultimately going to decide on who had the authority to do that. I'm a firm believer that the Republicans had the authority to do that, and, and we'll ultimately see what transpires with that. I think one of the things that I get very concerned about is this is when people don't have, or there isn't a direct answer, and there's ambiguity in someone's role. And in my, in my, uh, assessment, uh, there's ambiguity and the chief clerk's role, and I'll tell you, you know, I don't know how this hasn't happened in the last <laugh> long time, 250 plus years that, uh, that Pennsylvania has been around. But, you know, the, these are the types of things that we need to have really smart folks looking at for each of these official roles and making sure that we have as little ambiguity in these particular roles as possible, and that we understand what the role is actually supposed to do. And Matt, Matt, Matt, if I could add to that, I don't think that's any different in politics or business, right? Um, you know, whether people should have clearly defined roles and, and what authority they have in order to perfor perform those duties. Absolutely. And, uh, and that that's something as a business owner and as someone who's worked for other organizations that, uh, that I've believed as well, you know, I never thought it was fair to, uh, to terminate or give a bad review to an employee that didn't know what the expectations of their jobs were. And if coaching wasn't put into place, uh, at some point in time going through the process. And, uh, and so having those clearly defined roles is something that I know is, uh, is extremely important. Yep. Um, you know, and, and, and we do have these people that, uh, that work in, um, in a position of authority where they're safeguarding for the, uh, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, uh, the integrity of a chamber of, of the House or the Senate. Um, and they really have to be bipartisan. And, and, and that's a difficult thing to find, um, because as you well know, and as our listeners would probably agree, um, if you have someone who's interested enough in politics to get involved, they generally lean one way or the other. Yeah. Um, but what's important is that we keep the, the, the playing field fair. And we don't use any, um, any advantages that we may see out there. The, there's no room for power grabs, um, that are not legal within our institutions. Of government. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, and I would even go further, I think people even that aren't in politics still have some leanings one way or the other. Right. Uh, naturally you're going to be biased in some sense, and I think that's normal. Uh, the, the question is, do you have the ability and the, um, I wouldn't even say the integrity because sometimes it's not even a bi integrity, but do you have the ability to be completely nonpartisan, not bipartisan, but nonpartisan in your decision makings that impact policy? And, and I'll tell you, to be honest with you, Matt, like, I don't, okay. So I wouldn't apply for a job like that. I know that, uh, I know that about myself. I'm, I'm getting a con, I'm gonna side with the conservatives on issues and, um, you know, so I think I, I think that's something that's, that's, uh, that's why you have to have those very clearly defined roles of not, of, of, of those that are unelected and not elected. Yeah. Of those that are unelected. And for those that are elected, and you touched on this earlier, uh, it's important for them to be transparent about who they are with their voters. Um, you know, there's always the old imagery that people joke about that, you know, if, uh, we as politicians wore, uh, racing jackets like, uh, like they do in nascar, you would know exactly who was, uh, who was backing us and what we were supporting and what we didn't support. Um, unfortunately, sometimes you have to read between the lines a. Little bit. Yeah. So, one thing, if I could on that, and I think this is kind of interesting where, and I've been hit on this, and I'm sure you, you've been hit on this too when you were in office, you know, say, oh, this person gave you money, so you're doing X, y, Z. Right? Um, first off, listen, I, I don't, that's just not the way I live my life. Um, you know, I, I don't live my life in a way that somebody, you know, writes a campaign check. So I do X, Y, Z, but what does happen is this. And, and, you know, I'm a pro Second Amendment guy, right? Uh, you know, I constitutional carry, uh, we worked very hard on some of those pro gun bills together with you being the former leader of the Second Amendment caucus. Uh, thanks for all your your help on that, by the way. We were able to get that to the governor's desk. It obviously got vetoed, but secondarily on this, um, because of that, and because I push those issues, there are Pro-Second Amendment groups and Pro-Second Amendment individuals that contribute to my campaign because they want me to continue to do that Now because of that ceasefire pa, which wants to take away all of our guns and let you have no, uh, rights to anything in this country, is the deals of protecting yourself clearly donates to someone that I'm going, that, that runs against me. Um, that it's not, it's not because someone provides you compensation that you do a certain thing. It's typically that you did a certain thing or do a certain thing. So someone writes a campaign check to you to support you, to continue to allow you to, to move that for that policy forward. So, you know, I, I want to shift gears here a little bit, uh, in the second half of the show and talk about what the next two years in the Pennsylvania House is going to look like. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, if you and I had a crystal ball, where would we see it going? Obviously, we're going to see much closer numbers, uh, between the Democrats and Republicans. We've already lined that out. It's, uh, it is very possible that the Democrats will be in the majority and therefore will control the calendar, uh, which means they'll call up what bills, uh, get to be voted on, on the floor. Uh, they will have the chairman within the committees. So those committee actions, uh, could be slanted one direction mm-hmm. <affirmative> or the other. But we, we had a very wide gap in the number of members and, uh, a large majority, uh, for the Republicans, uh, for the six years that I was in office. Uh, and during that period of time, uh, I found that it was, it was hard to find common ground or consensus to work with the other party. And sometimes it was hard to find consensus within, oh, there are party, you talk about some of those conversations in the caucus room. Uh, some of those were a lot nastier than anything that we ever saw on PCN that happened on the, the house floor. Um, you know, because we, we've really got into it with each other. Yeah. We are now going to be so close in numbers. Do you think that that's going to force people to work together more than they did before? Or are we gonna see things come to a screeching halt? So, Matt, I, I do not think that it will get people to work closer together. I, I, I do not. I think that what happens is people will get even more d and well, when I say people to work together, I mean, of opposite parties. Okay. Um, I do not think that, I think that what you'll see is that Republicans will be dug in and Democrats will be dug in, and it will be about how can I make the other side look bad? And, and I'm concerned about that. I think that's disappointing. Now, you know, um, remember, I think it's also my duty and what people have sent me to do here is stop bad things from occurring and stop bad things from happening. For example, anytime these gun grabbers come in and try to revoke our Second Amendment rights, I'm going to use every single tool necessary or possible that I can utilize in order to stop that from happening. So, you know, I think that what we're gonna see is we're gonna see dug in 203 members dug in instead of, uh, collaboratively working together to do things. So I think we're gonna see a screeching halt. So what do you see as being legislative priorities for both parties? Uh, and, and maybe more so, uh, for the Democrats moving forward as this will be their first chance to, uh, to have control, uh. Of the house? Well, I can tell you this. I, I think that there are, there are a great deal of Republicans that are gonna be, uh, the number one issues, the budget. Okay? Uh, we talk about that, and that's the most important thing that happens every year. I think you're gonna see Republicans that are absolutely thrilled when it comes to the Democrat budget. Uh, every Republican out there consistently says that they want to cut spending, they want to cut spending, they want to cut spending. But Matt, you and I have been in the room and we're smart enough to know and look around the table, and we see that although people tell their constituents they want to cut spending, they wanna cut spending for you, they wanna cut spending in Fayette County, they wanna cut spending in Lawrence County. They want cut spending in Butler County. They're not real interested in cutting any of their quote unquote pet projects. Now, I think the difference with me on that is this, I, I think we gotta cut spending across the board. Uh, I'm one of those guys that openly says that we spend too much on K through 12. Uh, we spend over $20,000 per student on K through 12, which as you know, is third highest in the entire country. Uh, I think that we, that we're sending money to Penn State who consistently raises tuition, we're sending massive amounts of money to pit that consistently raises tuition. We should get something back for that and make sure that our students are rewarded now. So to me, I think that there's gonna be a lot of Republicans that are very excited to spend even more money, uh, cuz that money will be dis distributed. And you talk about electoral issues like we talked about before, they get to walk around with those big checks, right? Those big checks and stand in front of fire departments. I, you know, that is incredible to me that these folks do that. You know, they, they stand in front of a park, they stand in front of a police car, they stand in front of these different things, and they say, well, I'm bringing money back. Well, first off, it never should have been sent to Harrisburg to begin with. And if it didn't go to Harrisburg and go through all the filters that took a cut out of it, we could have actually more money for these types of things. Um, this is, you know, it's a gimmick that's played, and it's a gimmick that's played solely for the purpose of getting politicians reelected. And I continue to be concerned about that issue. You know, you look at the power of incumbency, and I think this is one of the biggest reasons why incumbents have that power. You know, listen, I've been open about the, the problems that I had, uh, yes. You know, leading up to my decision to, to not run for reelection this fall. Um, that being said, because I was an incumbent, had I raised a little bit of money and kept my name on the ballot, there's a good chance that I would've been back regardless. Of, oh, listen, you don't want. You know what I did? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and, and, and, and if, if I could, I'm not gonna go too much into the detail on this thing, okay? But I, I told you I thought you should have stayed. Uh, you know, I don't, I don't deny about that. I, I really did. And I, because I think you did, uh, not, I think you did. I know you did one heck of a job for your constituents and, um, but that, you know, that's neither here, nor nor there. You may, you know, you, Becky and the kids all made a decision and, um, listen, I fully support that as your friend. Right. Um, but I'm telling you as a colleague, I, I think that was a loss. Um, and I think it's a loss for your. District, but it does, it does become scary that, you know, you can have people that have personal problems or, or things that are taking them away from their legislative duties, but because they are the incumbent, because they bring those big checks back and, you know, I feel like we're, we're picking a little bit on the fire and ems. Yeah. A lot. I just use that as an example. Those communities. Uh, but it is, they need funding. So, you know, if we can bring 500 bucks back to 'em, you know, that, that, uh, you know, secures you at least a few votes whenever you do that. And, uh, and you said there are gonna be Republicans that will be happy with a Democrat budget. Yep. Um, you know, I, I right now could make a list of at least a dozen, uh, of my former colleagues that will be happy to see spending, uh, in increase. And, you know, we all do have personal, uh, issues that we need to look at within our districts in, you know, in my district, there's one set of problems in Philadelphia, there's a completely different set. And so of course they're gonna fight for money for septa, for example, um, and for public transportation, where in my area, that's just not something that is necessary. But the only way to do this, um, fairly is to reduce, uh, the spend, the overall spend of the budget, um, on a universal level that, you know, equates, uh, with the number of people in a certain, uh, area or municipality, very much like we do Reapportion. Yeah. And, and you know, our good friend, um, good mutual friend, uh, Ryan Warner has the Bill Taxpayer Protection Act. I, Matt, if, if, and if you want to change Harrisburg overnight, like tomorrow, 12 20 22 <laugh>, right? If you wanna change it right now, very simply, you need to institute TPA or Taxpayer Protection Act. And for those that don't know what that is, taxpayer Protection Act limits the overall spending on, on the Pennsylvania state budget to inflation plus population growth and, you know, cpi. So it's, it's imperative that we lock in that spending number and say, and people say, whoa, we should cut spending guys, that's not gonna happen. Okay. We do not have the votes for that. Republicans don't even wanna do it. I wanna do it. Matt wanted to do it. Brian wants to do it, but Republicans, then I'll, we don't even have the votes for that. I don't, I I bet you we don't have half the Republican votes in order to get that done. So Taxpayer Protection Act is the most important thing that we could do in order to stop the spending, uh, that is happening in Harrisburg. Yeah. And if there's one thing that, uh, that I hope to work on one way or another, uh, now that I'm back in the private sector, uh, it, it would be to help as a private citizen advanced legislation like tpa. Not, not, because I think that is, that's so important and it's gonna be important for my kids and your kids. Yeah. We have young kids, right, that are gonna be left holding the bag years from now. A generation. From me, Matt, there is, I, I've said it before. I'll say it again. I've been saying it for the last six years. There is nothing more important than Taxpayer Protection Act, not, not lowering corporate net income tax rate, not lowering the gas tax, not the most important thing that we can do for the financial, uh, sanity of the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is tpa. Hands down. Well, uh, representative Bernstein, we gotta get one more break in and then we'll come back and, uh, give our parting thoughts. Uh, 40 minutes goes really quick when you got two people that don't know how to shut up. Like me, that's us. So, uh, last break, and then we'll say our goodbyes. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. 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Well, you're listening to commonalities on w Nmb, S five 90 am 1 0 1 0.1 fm, and downloadable any place you find your favorite podcasts. I'm your host Matt Dowling, alongside, uh, my friend and colleague, representative Aaron Bernstein. And Aaron, we just have about, uh, 90 seconds or less. So final thoughts for today's. Show? Listen, Matt, I think I love the show and what you're doing here. I think the most important thing that we need to do not only is, is uh, is a society here in our Pennsylvania area, but also across the entire Commonwealth or also across the entire country, is truly find commonalities that we can work together on. And you and I may have a different idea of an issue, but at the end of the day, people are just people trying to do the best that they can. And, and I think that we, there's so many commonalities that we have with each other and so many commonalities, even when you don't think you do, uh, with people that may currently view the world differently than you do. So, uh, I love what you're doing on the show. Always happy to be here. And my guess is, uh, with me and you and our Rattling Mouse, uh, we could probably do about an eight hour podcast and still be ready to go. So. <Laugh>, I don't, I don't know that anyone want, want to listen to that. They, they, they would not. I can tell you that show. <Laugh>, I wanna get you back on the show at some point in time, perhaps to go point, counterpoint with, uh, with someone like, uh, representative Jordan Harris. Yeah. Uh, who again, I don't agree with on politics, but, uh, love him as an individual. Yeah. Uh, the two of you would be great to, uh, to go point counterpoint with us and, uh, help us find some common ground. Thank you so much, Aaron Bernstein for being with me today. Thank you Matt. Here on w MB, S 5 91 0 1 1 fm. This has been commonalities, a show where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. Copyright 2022 coordinated 360. All public rebroadcast should be done with prior written approval from Matthew Dowling. All requests should be sent to [email protected] Thank you for listening to commonalities.

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