BY: JON DELANO
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Joe Rockey, the Republican candidate for Allegheny County executive, says he is the centrist the county needs.
Rockey knows he’s in an uphill battle but says he’s the most qualified candidate to lead the county.
Rockey ran unopposed for the GOP nomination two weeks ago, so most people don’t really know much about him, but he hopes to become a household name before this campaign is over in November.
Born on a leap year on Feb. 29, 1964, Republican county executive candidate Joe Rockey says his roots in this region are very modest.
“I grew up on the North Side in some challenging times. My father got sick. He was a UAW worker and he got sick when I was 5 and was unable to go back to work. So we had some really challenging financial times. I’m a young man who grew up using food stamps,” Rockey said.
With a degree from Duquesne and a job at PNC Bank, Rockey worked his way up to the senior management ranks of PNC before taking an early retirement.
“People describe me as an executive, a businessman, but really at my core I’m a kid who grew up on the North Side making sure that the people around me have the same chance to do the things that I did,” he said.
Unlike his opponent, Democrat Sara Innamorato, Rockey has no experience in politics but says he has the experience, unlike Innamorato, of running large entities like Allegheny County.
“I’ve actually managed larger teams than what the county employment is. I’ve managed bigger budgets than what the county is in my career,” Rockey said.
Rockey says job one for the next county executive is to grow the economy.
“The county executive is the lead salesman for Allegheny County. And in my first year, I will be in a hundred companies around this country talking to them about the advantages of bringing their supply chains to Allegheny County,” Rockey said.
Rockey says he’s not into party politics and is right in the middle on the political spectrum.
“Both the left and the right have a fringe on the far side that are preventing us from moving this country forward and will prevent us from moving the county forward. My opponent is from that far-left wing. I am truly a centrist. I’ve been a centrist all my life. I believe in getting things done, working with people regardless of their background,” Rockey said.
Delano: “Are you going to endorse Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee next year?”
Rockey: “I will not support Donald Trump. Donald Trump is an example of the divisiveness I just talked about before.”
For Rockey to win county executive, he will need to attract Democratic voters who voted against Innamorato, along with Independents and Republicans. It won’t be easy, but the North Side native is confident he can do it.