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35th District: Paul Shelly Jr.

By Elizabeth Laughlin
The Tube City Almanac
February 05, 2023
Posted in: Politics & Elections

Website: www.facebook.com/paul.shelly

Paul Shelly Jr. is running a write-in campaign for the 35th Legislative District seat. The election is Tuesday (Feb. 7).

Tell me about yourself.

I was born and raised in McKeesport—I’m a Mon Valley boy—and I am committed to the community. I love it here, and I love to see our people prosper. I raised four children, and I would say that’s what I’m most proud of. I started out by working for Westinghouse, and I have a master’s degree in computer science. I mentored and coached kids basketball, football, and baseball at the Boys & Girls Club, as well as at McKeesport High School. I also have my own painting company, Paul Shelly Restorations—we paint houses.

Why is running for state representative so important to you?

Truthfully, I have never wanted that role. I was working for the Fetterman campaign, and someone said, “Why not you?” I wanted to get Mon Valley guys elected. I think we have a lot of career politicians—what have they done? It’s humbling to win an election. I have Democrats, independents, and Republicans backing me up. We need to get new people involved—fresh ideas. Nobody has a monopoly of good ideas. I aspire to be a leader, and I like meeting people and hearing their concerns.

Which skills do you think people in this role should have?

You need business people to recruit people to come here. I know about how to attract customers. I can sit in corporate board rooms, and I can understand the challenges most business owners face. Most businesses fail in the first five years. Someone in this role should also have a work ethic. I’d work seven days a week to get the job done. Another skill necessary is experience with government agencies and making relationships with others. I have strong leadership skills. At 13 years old, I was a coach at the Boys Club.

What would you like to accomplish as a state representative?

First, I would focus on the issue of violence. A lot of children don’t have a strong family unit, and they’re not seeing a role model. People have the perception that it’s dangerous to live here. I would like to see a progressive tax system, where everyone pays 1 percent income tax. On the second $50,000, everyone would be paying 2 percent tax, and up to $400,000, 3 percent income tax. I would also like to reduce salaries of our elected officials at the state level. I want to accomplish being an effective leader and getting together as a whole community. I’d work for half that salary and donate whatever I can back to the community.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I love it here. I’m tired of consoling mothers who have lost their children. Our kids have become desensitized to murder. We have to stop the violence. Until we do that, who wants to bring their family here? We need to focus on the problem on a daily basis: I think there’s been a lack of that. When one community does well, we all do well. We need to get people involved as role models, and we need to study areas that have addressed the problem. If you let the problem get out of hand, you lose funding. And if you want to transform the police, get the police involved in the community. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

Elizabeth Laughlin is a freelance writer and a doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate assistant who runs the department newsletter and writes for a digital project. She writes for Modern Language Studies, and her short story, "Twenty-Seven," is being published in their journal.

Originally published February 05, 2023.

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