State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) formally launched his campaign for Pennsylvania governor, joining a crowded GOP primary field.

The state lawmaker on Saturday announced his intentions to a room of hundreds of supporters in Gettysburg.

In his address, Mastriano bashed “establishment Republicans” and a potential general election opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Previously, the state lawmaker hinted at a run and suggested former President Donald Trump asked him to seek the position.

The list of declared candidates continues to grow. More than a dozen contenders have launched efforts to win the GOP nomination: former U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, businessman Shawn Berger, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, State Senator Scott Martin, former county commissioner candidate John Ventre, businessman Dave White, Chester County Chamber CEO Guy Ciarrocchi, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, attorney Jason Richey, former Congressman Lou Barletta, former Mayor of Corry Jason Monn, surgeon Nche Zama, and conservative activist Charlie Gerow.

In recent weeks, the legislator generated headlines by introducing new legislation, which aims to protect the rights of parents throughout the state.

“The liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, care and welfare of the parent’s child is a fundamental right,” the legislation explains. “Neither a Commonwealth agency nor a non-Commonwealth agency may infringe upon the right… without demonstrating that the law or ordinance is narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental interest by the least restrictive means.”

According to Mastriano, the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the need for legislation.

“This statute is needed now more than ever after the constant eroding of parental rights over the past two years,” said Mastriano. “We saw instances where parents were labeled as domestic terrorists simply for advocating for what they felt was best for their child. We saw schools shuttered and parents left without in person learning alternatives.”

Mastriano has served in the state senate for approximately 2 years, after winning a special election to replace former Senator Rich Alloway.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Doug Mastriano” by Senator Doug Mastriano. Background Photo “Pennsylvania State Capitol” by Kumar Appaiah. CC BY-SA 2.0.