Hempfield resident John Ventre announces bid for Pa. governor

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Jun. 30—Hempfield Republican John Ventre said he's been stewing for years, believing Gov. Tom Wolf's "one size fits all and scorched earth policies" hurt state residents.

Ventre, 64, announced Wednesday he is running for governor in 2022.

Wolf, a Democrat, will leave office in 2023 because of term limits.

"You don't have to be an established name... just have the right platform and values. And I think I do," Ventre said. "President Donald Trump and (59th District State Rep.) Leslie Rossi (of Unity) proved that."

Ventre said he has supported Trump "since Day 1," even funding a billboard along Route 119 with the moniker "Never Socialist" for more than a year to show his support of the former president.

In fact, "Never Socialist" will be the retired UPS security and public affairs executive's platform for his gubernatorial bid.

If elected, Ventre said hopes to reduce the size of the state legislature; reduce business taxes with what he terms a "fairer" two-tier system; eliminate yearly registration fees along with a 30% reduction in turnpike toll fees that will be offset by a small increase to 6.5 % in sales tax; a return to voter ID with the repeal of Act 77; and the removal of race and gender from all applications.

Ventre made an unsuccessful run for Westmoreland County commissioner in 2019, finishing third in the Republican primary behind Sean Kertes and Doug Chew.

He also served as a state director of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, an organization that investigates and researches reports of suspected sightings of unidentified flying objects. He left the UFO group before making his unsuccessful bid for commissioner.

Ventre becomes the sixth Republican to announce his candidacy for governor. Others include Lou Barletta, a former congressman and mayor of Hazleton; Corry councilman Jason Monn; Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale; Charlie Gerow, the owner of a Harrisburg communications and marketing firm; Pittsburgh lawyer Jason Richey; and Dr. Nche Zama, a cardiothoracic surgeon from the Poconos.

More information on Ventre is available at www.vote4ventre.blogspot.com

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@triblive.com or via Twitter .