HARRISBURG — While he hasn't announced officially that he will run for governor, Mike Turzai said Monday that if he does, he won't step down as Pennsylvania House speaker.
The Allegheny County Republican was taking questions at a luncheon of the Pennsylvania Press Club when the moderator asked if he would keep his legislative leadership post while campaigning to unseat Democratic Gov. Wolf.
"Yes, yes," Turzai said. "You know, I haven't heard anybody asking the governor to resign to run for governor, and yet he's at the budget table."
Turzai said it was too early to announce a run for governor, and that "sometime after this budget, looking towards Labor Day," was a more "appropriate" time. He said that unlike the last two years, he expects the state budget to be completed on time, by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Asked about his potential competitors in the Republican primary, State Sen. Scott Wagner of York County and business consultant Paul Mango of Allegheny County, Turzai had little to say other than calling each "a good person."
"They recognize that change has to happen in Pennsylvania, but if you want to be able to actually get things done, you've got to be tenacious, and you have to know people, and you have to network, and you have to be principled but pragmatic, and you have to know how to get votes," Turzai said.
"I think Pennsylvania is looking for somebody who has a history of getting stuff done, and I'm that person."
Turzai also contrasted Wolf's actions and priorities with those of the Republican-controlled General Assembly, particularly during the lengthy budget impasse of the governor's first year in office.
He emphasized that Wolf had called for raising taxes and noted that the Democratic governor had vetoed legislation to turn wine and liquor sales over to private businesses, and to enroll future state and public school workers in 401(k)-style retirement plans rather than in defined-benefit pensions.
In his budget proposal this year, Wolf avoided calling for increases in the sales or personal-income tax. He also has gone on to embrace some loosening of the state system of alcohol sales.