NORRISTOWN - A new contender has thrown his hat into the ring with Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf in the 2014 race for governor of Pennsylvania. Dave Naples, a Montgomery County resident, has begun a write-in campaign that relies solely on social media and word of mouth and, in open contradiction to his competitors, no campaign contributions.
'I'm not a millionaire by any stretch of the imagination,' the Collegeville resident said. 'It's time to get someone in office that is like the people that vote for them.'
For Naples, the millions of dollars spent on campaigns this year, whether from Wolf's own pockets or Corbett's supporters' coffers, is a new height in 'insane' political spending.
'What crystallized it last week was when I heard how much he [Wolf] spent on his campaign. I did a little digging and found out what he spent. That discovery is insane,' Naples said. 'The people aren't really choosing their representatives. The candidates are choosing the voters they will represent. Normal men and women - who work every day, pay their taxes and pick up their children from school - they don't have much of a say even at the ballot box.'
Born in Florida and a Pennsylvania resident since 2005, Naples received his bachelor's degree in law and society from Penn State University.
Despite admitting to little experience in multibillion-dollar budgets, Naples has plans to change the current unequal distribution of red and black ink in Pennsylvania, which, he said, has too much red regarding education and too much black regarding Marcellus Shale fracking.
Without ad campaigns defining his stance on political issues, Naples is relying on his Facebook page, 'Governor Dave,' to inform the public on his views. So far Naples has posted his view on the state of business in Pennsylvania and his call to halt fracking until the ramifications are known.
Pennsylvania's tax code is an unwieldy burden on individuals and businesses, according to Naples.
'I have been a database administrator for almost 20 years, and the fundamental rule is keep it simple,' Naples said
A simplified tax code would therefore be a benefit for individuals, a cost-saver, and an enticement for businesses that want to start up in Pennsylvania, he said.
Additionally, Naples wants to redefine public education funding, suggesting elimination of local and school property taxes and an increased state income tax. The new funding would be collected and redistributed at the state level.
'It seems to me the school district money should come from state coffers so it can be reallocated as needed,' Naples said. 'The wealthier districts might not get a new stadium this year, but it also means you can get technology into these inner-city districts, so we don't have a bunch of high school dropouts on the street.'
Naples also calls for a halt to fracking without a better understanding of the environmental impact. If the current methodology is acceptable, then it should continue, but not without a proper study and responsible policy Naples said.
'It's like taking your car to be fixed without knowing what is going on under the hood,' Naples said.
His Facebook page also indicates he has a desire to provide tax-incentives for fossil-fuel companies to invest in renewable energy.
The campaign stands little chance, Naples admits, but it is still worth making the gesture.
'It's really gotten to the point that people handicap an election by how much is spent,' Naples said. 'Wouldn't it be great if I could upend this whole thing and hand in a financial support with a bunch of zeroes on it?'