Tim McMaster thinks the 48th Senate District needs a fresh perspective.
The Libertarian candidate from Conewago Township, York County, hopes to fill the seat vacated when Republican Senator Dave Arnold died Jan. 17 from brain cancer. He is running against Republican challenger Christopher Gebhard, Democrat Calvin “Doc” Clements and Independent Ed Krebs.
“I would say, honestly, there isn’t much about me, or my positions that mirrors Mr. Arnold,” McMaster told LebTown.
He noted that Arnold died after serving just about one year in office, filling the seat after a special election in October 2019 after his predecessor, Senator Mike Folmer, resigned amid charges that he possessed child pornography.
“From what we saw, the bulk of Mr. Arnold’s time in the Senate was spent re-litigating the 2020 election,” McMaster said. “So, times are quite different now.”
“As that fight is long over, I feel that I can focus more on the issues facing the 48th and Pennsylvania,” he explained in an email. “I want to start by re-opening PA with no mandates from the government. None. Business owners in Pennsylvania are smart and have enough ingenuity to be able to keep their customers, staff and families safe without the risk of closure by an over-reaching bureaucratic mandate.”
McMaster said the “outcome of the referendums on the ballot on May 18 will determine how much of a fight that will be.”
The referendums in question ask voters to consider two constitutional amendments that would limit the governor’s emergency powers and empower the Legislature to extend or terminate an emergency declaration.
Secondly, he added, “We need to get folks tax relief. The fact that Pennsylvania has among the highest paid legislature in America while the 4th highest overall tax burden in America is shameful. I would also work to eliminate the prohibition of cannabis and focus (on) drug addiction as the medical and sometimes mental condition that it is, and stop treating it like a criminal issue, which it is not. I will be working, also, to make Pennsylvania the 18th Constitutional Carry State in the nation.”
The 48th District includes Lebanon County and parts of York and Dauphin counties. According to statistics provided by the Pennsylvania Department of State, party affiliation among registered voters in the district is 50.5% Republican, 33.9% Democratic and 15.6% others.
Arnold’s unexpired term runs through November 2022.
McMaster, 46, works as an IT infrastructure analyst in the healthcare field, which he said has “taught me how to think outside of the box, be a problem solver and always be solution-oriented, while never losing sight of the ultimate end goal.”
He lives with his wife and two teenage boys on a family farm, raising meat and milk goats and Irish Dexter cattle. That, too, has helped prepare him for a career in politics, he said.
“My work on the farm has taught me how to convince large, unruly animals how to do what’s right, rather than what they want in that moment,” he said. “That may come in especially useful in the General Assembly.”
McMaster, who serves as vice chairman of the York Libertarian Party, isn’t happy with Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he said he will act quickly to try and reverse some of the actions taken over the past year.
“I think PA is quickly becoming a national punchline because of the way that Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine botched the response to this pandemic,” he said in an email. “Closing everything in the state down for a virus with an incredibly low mortality rate unless you had multiple co-morbidities, shoving COVID positive patients into Elder Care facilities—only after removing their own loved ones first, I might add—and threatening the livelihood and wellbeing of any business that dared oppose you is not the behavior of a level-headed and empathetic governor or legislature.”
Rather, McMaster likened steps taken in Pennsylvania to “those… of a dictator or king.”
“Businesses know the risks, and know far better how to mitigate those risks to keep their customers and staff safe,” he said. “And the decision to open or not open should rest solely on them, just as the consumers can make an educated choice to patronize that establishment or not.”
While Gebhard has campaigned on a promise to limit the governor’s emergency powers, McMaster believes that’s not a big enough step.
He would like to see action taken “limiting all powers of every member of government,” he said.
“Without question, the legislature in Harrisburg is too bloated, too wasteful and far too powerful,” McMaster explained in his email. “The governor is too powerful. Any legislative power out of Harrisburg to impact the lives and freedoms of Pennsylvanians must be limited and narrowly defined.”
“I am certain that my desire to make Harrisburg less powerful will make me more than a few enemies in the General Assembly,” he said. “That doesn’t bother me, I am not there to make friends, I am going there to protect and defend the rights of the people.”
Also on McMaster’s agenda, if elected, are reducing, “on a path to total elimination,” the state income tax. Pennsylvania, he said, has the fourth highest “overall tax burden in America,” and he believes that “needs to change and fast!”
He also said he will work to eliminate qualified immunity, which can protect government officials – including police officers – from civil suits in some cases, and end civil asset forfeiture, which can allow police officers in some cases to take assets from people suspected of illegal activity without charging them with a crime.
He believes he is the best candidate for the job, he said, because he’s not beholden to the two-party system.
“I am not a career politician,” McMaster said. “I want to get in there, mix it up with them and fight for real changes and for (the people’s) liberty, then get out before the stink of corruption gets all over me. And, if I am lucky, hopefully inspire someone else with a head full of ideas and heart full of liberty to take up the fight after me.”
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