Republican Joe Rockey says his centrist views will help him win Allegheny County executive race

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While at least seven Democrats want to be Allegheny County’s next chief executive, only one Republican has stepped forward in this year’s election.

As KDKA-TV political editor Jon Delano explains, Republican Joe Rockey thinks he can attract moderate Democrats and independents to his campaign.

Rockey has never run for public office. A retired senior executive at PNC, Rockey says he will focus on job growth to keep our children and grandchildren from moving away.

“Allegheny County has lost more jobs in the last five years than any other county in Pennsylvania and in any other county in Ohio,” he says.

Rockey — who grew up on the North Side, lives in Ohio Township and is married with kids and grandkids — says he will reinvigorate economic development in the region.

“We have to bring together the impact of labor, our businesses, the universities, and our foundations to have a unified and concerted effort to bring employment to western Pennsylvania,” he said,

And the Republican says the next executive must work to remove the disincentives to come to this region like crime.

“It is not great for our city to have shootings at midday Downtown,” Rockey said. “That is not a way to have people come back to the city. It’s not a way to grow and bring other companies to us.”

Rockey hopes to attract votes across political parties, saying he’s a centrist like the three previous executives: Republican Jim Roddey and Democrats Dan Onorato and Rich Fitzgerald.

He expects the Democrats to nominate either a Democratic socialist from the left or an old-school career politician.

The seven Democrats running are county Councilwoman Liv Bennett, former Councilman Dave Fawcett, state Representative Sara Innamorato, City Controller Michael Lamb, human resources manager Erin McClelland, software developer Will Parker and County Treasurer John Weinstein.

“If the true majority in Allegheny County, the folks in the middle who believe in common sense solutions whether they are Democrat, Republican, or independent, if they look at my record and what I am capable of doing,” says Rockey, “I believe I can win this election regardless of who the Democrats put up.”

Candidates in both parties have until March 7 to file nominating petitions. The election is in 12 weeks on May 16.