"Far better for one governor to support the dreams of 12.7 million Pennsylvanians than for 12.7 million Pennsylvanians to support the dreams of one governor."
That's the message that Max Myers, a Democrat running for governor in the primary election, brought during a visit to the Warren County Fair on Saturday.
"The role of governor and the office of governor has the capacity to set the tone for the Commonwealth," Myers said. "(It) has the capacity to make a difference. I'm wired as a leader, gifted as a leader (and) leaders like to be in a place where they can make a difference."
Myers does not have any previous elected experience coming into this election. "This is not something I've aspired to," he said of pursuing political office. He explained that he has been reading extensively about William Penn and about his intentions for the Commonwealth.
"I began realizing that his intentions for Pennsylvania, we haven't come close to fulfilling them. For me somebody ought to become governor and pick up what he felt Pennsylvania could really become and run with it."
That's where Myers, an Assemblies of God minister with community and business experience, realized that maybe he was that person.
"I just realized that I was no longer in the position to read a book and say somebody ought to," he said.
While his experience is unique to the race for the nomination, Myers said that "if you're going to see different results down the road for Pennsylvania, things moving in a healthier direction, (it) takes a different kind of leadership than those that have come up through the (political) ranks."
Myers acknowledged that the field is crowded but "being, to anyone's recollection one of the first ministers to run for governor in Pennsylvania, taking a different life experience what I bring to the plate is a passion for a people group that haven't had a political leader take up the mantle for them for a long time. Those in poverty.
"I didn't choose this because it was an important voting group," he added. "My passion is for a people group that has been neglected and needs someone to represent them and speak for their cause. (I'm) not talking about trying to get them more benefits. (We) can find answers to poverty in Pennsylvania to move people out of poverty.
Myers explained that it is important for the next governor to "access the people of Pennsylvania and empower them." To accomplish that, he proposed the development of a Pennsylvania People's Commission, a group of non-politicians and non-lobbyists who represent various issues across the Commonwealth. "This commission would then be tasked with issues" including poverty, education, jobs, crime and cultural issues "that we try to address with legislation but are ultimately community issues.
He claimed that, should he lose in the primary, the next governor will continue in traditional political fashion and "will consume the people of Pennsylvania for their purposes. What I will do is if I become governor, turn the role around. What can I do to help you be successful empower you. It's about shifting and changing the atmosphere and by all means we could use an atmosphere change here in Pennsylvania.
"When you begin empowering people, (it) changes the atmosphere," Myers said. "Things begin happening that you can't make happen by legislation. I'm running because I know I carry something different, a leadership style that's different, and this is an opportunity for Pennsylvania to say 'are we ready for a change or do we want to stay on the status quo of political leadership?'"