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Gov. Josh Shapiro visits Local 13

“He understands that we have to have a fossil industry, too.”

John Bland, BM-ST L-13

While at L-13, Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis heard for the first time about Helmets to Hardhats and the excellent work opportunity the program offers former service members. From l. to r. Shapiro, L-13 Apprenticeship Coordinator Matt Fink, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and L-13 BM-ST John Bland

Members at Local 13 (Philadelphia) hosted a forum for candidates running for positions in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 4, with a prestigious guest, Gov. Josh Shapiro, joining them. Along with giving local democrats a platform, the event provided an opportunity for members to keep the conversation going with newly elected governor on energy concerns. In addition to the governor, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and three state senators attended the event along with the public.

“The Democratic Party asked if we could host an event,” said L-13 BM-ST John Bland. He said any time the local can get facetime with the governor, it’s a good day, and another reason to host public-facing election events.

“We also wanted to have more conversations with the governor,” Bland said. “The biggest push we have is CCUS.” He said it’s important to keep Shapiro and his team apprised of some of the projects that are coming to Pennsylvania.

Bland said that Shapiro, on the campaign trail, said the right things about concerns facing Boilermakers and other trade unions. The previous governor, Tom Wolf, supported RGGI—the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—and even implemented an executive order to enact it. The initiative has cost jobs and does little to mitigate greenhouse gasses in the 11 other Northeast states where it’s been enacted. In the Commonwealth, it’s tied up in the courts but it’s still a looming threat hanging over the state.  

“I’d met Josh a couple times on the campaign trail, and he said he couldn’t support RGGI as it stands,” Bland said.

He’s hopeful that the new governor is going to support the trades and bring back industry to the state. So far, he has expressed balanced views on fossil fuels. “He understands that we must have a fossil industry, too.”