Russ Diamond, who has served as state representative for the Lebanon area for seven years, is running for reelection to that seat, and he’s running for the lieutenant governor’s office, too.
With his name on the ballot for both offices in the May 17 primary, it’s possible Diamond could win two slots in the general election in November. The Annville Township resident isn’t saying how he’ll deal with that contingency, however.
“I will cross that bridge when I get to it,” he told LebTown. “I learned a long time ago: We plan, and God chuckles. He has laid these opportunities to serve the people of Pennsylvania in front of me, and He has His own plan for my future. I will follow wherever He leads.”
Diamond, 58, owned a computer business and, later, a multimedia company in the Lebanon area and also worked as a truck driver before taking office in January 2015. He represents the 102nd State House District.
Besides running for reelection to the state legislature, Diamond explained in an email that he joined the administrative race “right around Christmas when I realized no one in the race was in as qualified as I am to help our next Governor defeat Josh Shapiro, to help our next Governor hit the ground running after the election, and to be prepared to be literally one heartbeat away from the governorship the moment they were sworn in as Lieutenant Governor.”
Securing a line on the ballot for the Republican primary required Diamond to collection 1,000 signatures from registered Republicans in Pennsylvania, including at least 100 signatures from five different counties. According to a press release, Diamond collected 3,386 signatures, with at least 100 signatures from 13 counties.
Candidates for lieutenant governor are not selected as running mates for gubernatorial candidates. In Pennsylvania, they run separate campaigns, and the winner of each campaign is linked as a team for the general election in November.
Diamond said the system is “like an arranged marriage with the voters serving as matchmaker.” He said he hopes Republican voters “nominate a team for November which will maximize voter enthusiasm for the Republican ticket.”
Although he said he’s willing to work “with whichever candidate the voters select to be my running mate,” Diamond said he is “uniquely qualified to help our next Governor defeat Josh Shapiro, hit the ground running in Harrisburg to turn this state around, and to step into the role of Governor if, God forbid, some tragedy occurs.”
Diamond noted that his platform in both campaigns is identical, “with the exception of the role of Lieutenant Governor being more of a support role for our next Governor.”
If he wins that election, he said, decisions “regarding my successor in the 102nd District seat would be made by the members of the Lebanon County Republican Committee.” He would not presume, he said, to try to “hand-pick” his successor.
His top priority for the state, Diamond said, is “establishing medical freedom as a fundamental individual right in Pennsylvania.”
“After the last two years of wrong-headed mandates, medical freedom is the seminal issue of our time,” he wrote in an email. “My HB2013 would establish medical freedom as a constitutionally protected individual right, and would protect Pennsylvanians from discrimination based on their exercise of that right. The only exemption you should ever need to use is the phrase ‘no, thank you.'”
Lebanon County voters, he added, are primarily concerned with “election integrity, medical freedom, educational transparency and choice, property taxes, a stable economy, smart growth within the county, and preserving our traditional values.”
Success & failure
Asked to name is proudest achievement in office to date, Diamond answered: “Shutting down Tom Wolf.”
“It took 462 days, multiple legislative floor debates, a Supreme Court showdown, and two constitutional amendments to finally bring Tom Wolf’s disaster emergency overreach to a halt,” he said in an email. “But it was my concurrent resolution (HR836) – first circulated on Day 11 of that disaster emergency – which started it all. And in the end, it was my floor amendment to a partial termination resolution (HR106) that helped finally bring it to a close.
“Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to so limit its governor’s emergency powers, due to my legislative efforts to intervene.”
He is disappointed, however, that he was not successful in “eliminating property taxes.”
“Despite introducing and supporting such legislation since I first arrived in Harrisburg, we have not yet cleared the hurdle of answering the question of replacing that revenue,” Diamond said. “I have learned that this is mostly because people are resistant to change of any kind, and eliminating property taxes would require changing some other system of taxation to replace the revenue. We need to work harder to convince people to get beyond their basic resistance to change so we can solve this problem, which really does require a major overhaul of other methods of taxation in Pennsylvania.
“As the next Governor’s working partner, I would be willing to barnstorm the state to generate support for a workable plan.”
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