PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – D. Raja is the Republican candidate for Allegheny County Executive and he said he is focusing on the issues.
However, he believes one issue dominates all the others in the campaign.
“I’m doing town halls, 45 town halls all across the county. I’ve done 10 of them so far, and I tell you the number one issue that I am seeing so far is clearly jobs,” Raja said.
Raja said his background as a software entrepreneur makes him the right candidate because he built his business from scratch to several hundred employees.
“I never took any kind of a government handout. There was no handout, either public sector or private sector, not even a bank loan to bootstrap and grow. So, I know what it takes to grow a company organically,” Raja said.
He also said most net new jobs come from start-up companies like his and the county should do more to keep these start-ups in the area.
“Where there is a fit, I’d like Allegheny County to be the first customer, particularly in the [medical] sector because we do a lot of health services. What a great way to get innovation into county government,” Raja said.
A strong supporter of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, Raja said the Port Authority can save money by piggy-backing on this growing industry.
“Why not change all the buses to run on natural gas. What a great — it’s less than half the price — and if you get these stations, we’d start to be a world leader,” Raja said.
Raja said the county should lease airport lands to Marcellus Shale drillers as well.
“We are sitting on some of the richest deposits of Marcellus Shale. Why not get that revenue and build an innovation zone, where companies from Pitt and CMU can be there and grow?” Raja said.
Raja’s Democratic challenger is former County Council President Rich Fitzgerald, who issued a statement on Thursday accusing Raja of outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries.
Fitzgerald said Raja’s company had to pay $133,000 in back pay because it would not pay its workers even a minimum wage or overtime.
The general election is just under 14 weeks away.