You wouldn’t know it from reading most mainstream news sources, but there are a few candidates running for governor of Pennsylvania whose names aren’t Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett.
They are Robert Allen Mansfield and Marakay Rogers. The candidates, who are running on smaller-government platforms, are running campaigns well below the radar. One of the candidates—the least likely, according to many news reports—even identifies with the Tea Party.
It should be noted that we contacted all of the candidates for this article but could only reach Rogers.
The “Inner-City Conservative”
Robert Allen Mansfield is an African-American from North Philly whose Facebook page lists his political affiliation as “very conservative.” Born to a heroin-addicted mother in 1971, Mansfield was immediately put up for adoption. He spent his childhood in and out of foster homes and with a family in Easton, then spent the late ’80s living on the streets in Philadelphia. He got back on his feet and became a small-business owner. He currently discusses “America’s Exceptionalism and the Army’s Core Values” as a public speaker, often at Tea Party protests, where he describes himself as an “inner-city conservative.” On March 8, he dropped out of the Republican primary for governor to run as an independent, claiming both parties “have been infiltrated by progressives.”
Mansfield divides human beings into two categories—assets and liabilities.
Recently retired from the Army National Guard, he uses his experience with the VA system to explain his opposition to health-care reform, as well as his idea of liberalism, or, as he’s called it, “entitlement mentality.”
“The VA system is a rationed system,” he told Marie Stroughter of African American Conservatives on Blog Talk radio. “Our veterans get rationed health care. Any time you use the same colonoscopy tool on 10,000 people and you don’t sterilize it, that tells you the state of the Veterans Administration health-care system.”
He believes the liberal mindset boils down to this: “Liberal-minded people will walk up to a stand of fruit, and the owner is selling it for 15 cents. The liberal-minded person thinks they can get it for free, not thinking that person who is selling that fruit had to get that fruit from somewhere.”
Mansfield also feels strongly about dress codes. His campaign site explicitly proclaims: “I believe that the state must have a statewide school uniform policy to include the following: Every male must wear their pants properly and every male must wear a belt.”
Talking to Stroughter about the issue, he said: “I can’t understand for the life of me any male that would go on national TV with his pants hanging so far down [that] you can see his underwear … That’s a mating call. I’m sorry for being so graphic but I told a father some months ago—he’s having a problem with his son—[he said] ‘I tell my son to pull his pants up.’ I said: ‘When you get done hitting him in the sternum and making sure he’s urinating and defecating at the same time, tell him that if it’s not for sale, don’t advertise it.’”
The Civil-Rights Libertarian
“I feel strongly about all civil-rights issues, especially as they pertain to myself,” says Marakay Rogers, regarding her long devotion to gay rights. “Most people will tell you that they don’t see any issues with regard to race, they don’t see issues at all as far as gender and religion. But they still have that, ‘Oh my God, God’s going to strike everybody dead!’ as soon as anyone says ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ ‘bisexual.’”
Rogers is currently working with the Libertarian Party, collecting signatures for her gubernatorial run. She’s an attorney in York, Pa., and has run for many-a-political post in her day. That includes a 2006 Attorney General campaign and a 2009 Superior Court judge run from the Libertarian Party. Anti-death penalty, the former member of the Green Party says she left the party partially due to some of its progressive stances pertaining to monetary and tax issues and the government’s general “over-creation of—too many programs to achieve goals.”
“[Government programs are] not so much successful,” she says, “as budget-draining. And I finally had to ask, with the programs we have, where does the money keep coming from and how do we justify it?”
And while Rogers certainly stands for—and likely believes—in these issues, she offers little of substance to justify them and won’t explain how new legislation won’t help the LGBT community. “I don’t want to go over everything right now because this is a short interview piece,” she says. Though she believes “there are areas in both—in everything from state police to human services that can be trimmed or reshaped.”
“Do you want to pass laws or do you want to make real changes?” she rhetorically asks. “We wait around for people to give us rights rather than being able to sit there and say, ‘I have these rights, I’m going to go out there and use them.’ We make the assumption that because someone says we don’t have the right, on paper, that we don’t have it. “I want to change the paradigm.”