PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Chances are good you’ve never heard of Josh Wander, the Republican candidate for Mayor of Pittsburgh.
“What I am doing by running is giving a voice back to the people,” Wander said.
Some may have seen him in a National Geographic series called “Doomsday Preppers” that featured Wander in one episode.
“I am preparing for a series of catastrophic terrorist attacks that will fundamentally change our lives as we know it,” Wander says in the series.
Wander says that show made him out to be nutty when he’s a regular guy who just wants to protect his wife and six children.
“Most of the people who appeared on that show, including myself, do not believe in a Doomsday,” Wander says. “That’s not why we’re prepared. We believe that it’s important to prepare. Emergency preparedness is something I believe very strongly in.”
Wander — an Orthodox Jew who holds both American and Israeli citizenship and served in the Israeli army in southern Lebanon– says his religion is key to his life and politics.
“It’s not something we reserve for synagogue or church,” Wander says. “It’s something that involves every aspect of our life, from the minute we wake up in the morning to the minute we go to sleep.”
And as mayor, Wander says his first obligation will be to show up for work.
“I don’t think people understand how important the role of mayor — unfortunately, we’ve spent the past seven years having an absent mayor,” Wander said.
But in a city that is five to one democratic, Wander knows the battle to win is uphill. He says democrat Bill Peduto may have some good ideas, but:
“With all these great ideas, the bottom line is how you’re going to pay for it all,” Wander says. “You can have all the ideas in the world but if you don’t have the funds to pay for it, then it’s really worthless.”
And Wander says it’s time to end the democratic dynasty.
“If you have a long time, a century of single party rule, regardless of which party it is, it’s going to be unhealthy to the city,” Wander said.