Rose Strauss apparently isn't showing favoritism in the race for Pennsylvania governor — at least when it comes to asking candidates about climate change.
The 18-year-old activist made a name for herself beyond the Keystone State last month when she questioned Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner at a town hall on what she said was his lack of action on climate change and donations he received from the fossil fuel industry.
And why did Strauss win the internet that day? Well, in a way she has Wagner to thank for that, as he responded by calling Strauss "a little young and naive" on video, which subsequently went viral. Wagner also asked the Glenside crowd, “Are we here to elect a governor, or are we here to elect a scientist?”
Wagner in 2017 said climate change is likely occurring — but perhaps because “we have more people. You know, humans have warm bodies. So is heat coming off?” And his campaign has received $163,750 from the oil and gas industry, according to Vote Smart, a nonprofit political watch dog organization, the York Dispatch said.
How did Gov. Wolf react to the exchange?
John Fetterman — the running mate for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf — ripped Wagner on Twitter over his comments toward Strauss.
He also used a “Young and Naive” slogan for $25 T-shirts, the York Daily Record reported, while Wolf's campaign announced "free limited edition" stickers using the phrase:
The shoe goes on the other foot
It turns out all the T-shirts and stickers in the world immortalizing Wagner's words to her could not impede Strauss from turning her confrontation Wolf's way, as she and activists tried to intercept the governor as he walked into an event last week, the Daily Record said.
“Tom Wolf! It’s Rose Strauss! It’s Rose Strauss, Tom Wolf!” she's heard shouting on video. “I’m the girl who’s ‘young and naive’!”
Strauss then yelled a question at Wolf about the funds his campaign got from the fossil fuel industry — $98,000 during the 2018 election cycle, according to Follow the Money.
Wolf walked away without replying.
Strauss said Sunrise Movement Downingtown has twice reached out to Joseph Hill, Wolf’s deputy campaign manager and political director, to request a meeting but has yet to receive a response, the Daily Record reported.
“He has shown support for the young and naive voters,” Strauss told the paper, adding that while Wolf has “supported us verbally,” the governor hasn't committed to “action on things we care about like climate change.”
Wolf’s campaign declined to say if he'll meet with Strauss and other activists but offered the following statement to the Daily Record:
Governor Wolf is committed to protecting and preserving the environment. One of his first acts as governor was to sign an executive order reinstating the moratorium on new leases for drilling in state parks and forests and he has been fighting efforts by Republicans in Washington to cut EPA funding. Governor Wolf worked across party lines with the state legislature, which is heavily Republican, to pass the Chapter 78a Environmental Protection Performance Standards. This bipartisan agreement modernizes and strengthens environmental protections at oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania. He also announced a nation-leading strategy to reduce emissions of methane.
Governor Wolf has met with environmentalists throughout the state to discuss ways they could work together to combat climate change and strengthen statewide regulations to ensure the protection of public health, safety, and the environment. He will continue to engage the environmental community throughout the commonwealth to ensure that their voices are heard.
Wagner's campaign hits back
"Scott is having town halls to articulate his positions on the issues to people of all demographics and backgrounds," Wagner campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo told TheBlaze on Wednesday. "And while some might disagree with him on a policy approach to an issue, which is what happened at the Montgomery County Town Hall, he will continue to hold similar events for the remainder of the campaign. If voters want to know Scott's position on an issue they won't have to ambush him outside an event just to get a hold of him, they can come ask him their questions in person. He certainly won't bury his head and keep walking."
Wagner has since clarified his "young and naive" comment, noting in a Sunday town hall that he didn't believe it was "mean" and that "I'm 62 years old, and the young lady asking the question was 18. I have a little more experience than she does," the Daily Record reported. "And that wasn't meant to insult her in any way."