Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, visited Milford Borough on Sunday, meeting and greeting constituents as he campaigned for U.S. Senate.
The gathering was hosted by Tracey Vitchers and her partner, Anthony Bielefeld, Milford Mayor Sean Strub, and Milford resident Xavier Morales.
Vitchers told the Courier that the lieutenant governor’s visit to Milford “demonstrates the power of the collective effort of progressive organizers in our county. Pike is and will continue to be a barometer of progressive values in the Commonwealth. Any viable Democratic candidate for statewide office should know it isn’t enough to simply carry Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. If you want to win Pennsylvania, you need to win counties like Pike. We are the litmus test for viability.”
Strub introduced Fetterman and his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, former Dreamer, activist, philanthropist, and non-profit executive, to the gathering.
The couple, their three children — Karl, Grace, and August — and dog, Levi, live in a converted car dealership. The family has chosen not to live in the State House, the official residence for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor.
Fetterman, a Democrat, is running in a crowded field for one of the two U.S. Senate seats in Pennsylvania up for grabs in 2022. Pat Toomey, the Republican incumbent, is not running for re-election. Fetterman told his Pike County supporters that Toomey has “perfected the art of being hated by both sides.”
He supports the governor’s mask mandate for schools. “We square up over the dumbest things,” he said. “Mandatory masks are not an overreach.”
He said he would never attack a fellow Democrat. Citizens must be relentless in the “competition of ideas,” he said.
Fetterman has supported Gov. Wolf’s platforms while taking a special interest in his own campaign to legalize recreational marijuana for recreational, raise the hourly minimum wage to $15, undo unduly punitive prison sentences and laws that unfairly target racial minorities, and outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender people. He supports abortion rights and has signed the “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge.
He was one of the first elected officials in Pennsylvania to officiate at a same-sex wedding – when it was still illegal.
“As a lifelong resident of Pike County, I have been deeply attuned to the political atmosphere of our area,” said Vitchers in an email. I am proud that today, Pike County is a truly purple county. Long gone are the days of a Republican stronghold. This can be a Democratic-leaning county.”
She said John and Gisele Fetterman “are the best of what Pennsylvania has to offer. They are kind, caring, and committed to equal opportunities for all. They understand the needs of real people.”
Fetterman has so far raised more money than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican, according to the Associated Press.
As lieutenant governor, Fetterman has forged a symbiotic relationship with Wolf.
The 6-foot-8, bald and tattooed Fetterman typically sports a goatee and lives in a restored car dealership in Braddock with his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, and three young children. He prefers short-sleeve work shirts, cargo shorts and high-top shoes.
He is tattooed with Braddock’s zip code — 15104 — on one forearm and, while he was mayor, the date of every slaying in the town as he worked to prevent crime in the town.
For months around the Nov. 3 election, he has been a regular face for Democrats on cable news shows and the campaign trail. On Twitter, he is plainspoken and ever-present, accusing Trump-supporting Republicans of “simping” for President Donald Trump’s approval and lying about the validity of Pennsylvania’s presidential election.
Editor’s note: The Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story.
“As a lifelong resident of Pike County, I have been deeply attuned to the political atmosphere of our area. I am proud that today, Pike County is a truly purple county. Long gone are the days of a Republican stronghold. This can be a Democratic-leaning county.” Tracey Vitchers