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Republicans Dowling and Porupski to face off in next week’s primary | Election

Second Amendment


The Republican nomination for the 51st Legislative District will be decided Tuesday, when a three-term state representative faces off against the president of the Albert Gallatin Area School Board.

Matthew Dowling, 37, of Uniontown currently represents the Fayette County district. Ryan Porupski, 25, of Smithfield, is a four-year member of the school board and has served as its president for the past two years. He works as a farmer raising beef cattle.

Dowling said his recent accomplishments in the legislature include fighting against Gov. Tom Wolf’s waivers and shutdowns, and working to address election issues.

“As the House State Government committee, we held more than a dozen meetings last year into election integrity and subsequently passed House Bill 1300, which provided revisions to the election code, including requiring voter ID,” Dowling said, noting the bill that was vetoed by Wolf.

Dowling said he’s adamantly pro-life, and voted “no” on a 2021 appropriation for the University of Pittsburgh due to the school’s continued tissue research on aborted fetuses.

He also cited his pro-Second Amendment beliefs, noting his sponsorship of House Bill 979, which dissuaded individual municipalities from passing their own gun laws. The bill passed, but was vetoed by Wolf.

“House Bill 979 would have provided citizens the ability to recover damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs if a court finds that a local ordinance violates the state firearms preemption law,” Dowling said. “With over 2,500 municipalities in Pennsylvania, it could be dangerous to otherwise law abiding gun owners who may not know which jurisdiction they are traveling through.”

For his work with groups like Firearm Owners Against Crime, the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, Dowling said he was made the chairman of the Second Amendment caucus.

He also said he recently joined his colleagues in voting for a cut in the corporate net income tax rate from 10% to 9%.

“If the state’s revenues are sufficient, the rate would fall again to 8% by 2025,” Dowling said.

If reelected, Dowling said he would push to address the employment needs of local businesses through vocation education programs.

“The 51st Legislative District struggles with problems similar to other rural areas of Pennsylvania,” he said. “On the heels of the pandemic, our region is still overcoming issues that resulted from Gov. Wolf’s shutdowns.”

Dowling said many parts of Fayette County have aging infrastructure, specifically water and sewage.

“My office has worked with multiple municipalities on grant requests that could help with these much needed upgrades,” he said. “I will continue to work on behalf of the region to support infrastructure upgrades.”

He added that a key focus moving forward will include broadband expansion in rural areas of the district.

As Porupski met with voters during his campaign, he said he found many residents of the district who want to see Act 77, the mail-in ballot reform law, repealed. He said he supports requiring identification for voters, and wants to see election integrity return.

He also expressed the need to support energy, health, diversified manufacturing and agriculture in the district by having young people enter the labor market through effective vocational education programs.

“In my heart, I’ve always been a conservative Republican and a Christian who’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment,” Porupski said.

If elected, Porupski said he would work to lower the state’s corporate tax rate for small businesses and make the 51st Legislative District competitive in attracting new businesses. He would also like to focus on making Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA), a state tax abatement program for the redevelopment of aging or deteriorating properties, more simplified for businesses to use.

Porupski also wants to see state government become more cooperative in tackling blight in communities, which he said will help with historical preservation and create a stronger economy in the district.

“People are overburdened with taxes, and nobody is happy with the gas prices and the state’s gas tax,” he said, adding he would like to see the development of natural resources that are already here. “There’s energy right beneath our feet. Let’s make Pennsylvania more energy independent.”

Porupski said his time on the school board and as its president have given him the opportunity to propose policies that have helped to improve the district’s credit rating and reduce its debt. He’s also worked toward reducing the costs of services, which has allowed the district to undertake needed maintenance projects.

“These policies allowed the district to afford metal detectors and bag scanners, keeping the school district safe and secure,” Porupski said. “I work hard to get things done.”

As an auxiliary fireman in McClellandtown and a member of the advisory board of Penn State Extension Council, Porupski said he values giving back to the community.

“Public service has always been important to me,” he said.

Porupski formerly worked for the Applied Research Lab at Penn State, as the university contracted with the U.S. Department of Defense for Navy contracts. He also worked as a human resource specialist with UPS and presently works as a part-time agriculture instructor at Fayette County Career and Technology Institute.

The winner of Republican nod in the primary will go on to face Democrat Richard Ringer in the fall.

In Fayette County, the 51st District is comprised of the city of Uniontown, the boroughs of Fairchance, Markleysburg, Masontown, Point Marion and Smithfield and the townships of Georges, German, Henry Clay, Menallen, Nicholson, North Union, South Union, Springhill and Wharton.



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