State Rep. Matt Gabler (R-75) ran against the odds when in 2008, he entered the Republican primary as a write-in candidate for his home county House seat. Democrats have held the seat that includes part of Clearfield County and all of Elks County 48 out of the past 60 years.
“I didn’t like the way I saw things going with the spending under the Rendell Administration, and the incumbent’s (Democrat Dan Surra) voting was pretty much in lockstep with the spending and tax increases,” Gabler said.
At the time, Gabler was working in Harrisburg for now-Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) when he couldn’t stand the thought of Surra running in the 2008 general election unchallenged.
Besides running against government spending and tax increases, Gabler fought a Turnpike Commission proposal to place tolls on Interstate 80 that runs right through his home town of Dubois. Under the plan, the tolls would fund transportation projects statewide. The Federal Highway Administration rejected the plan in April, 2010
The economy in his district is largely dependent on mining, timber, and manufacturing. He calls Elk County the “powdered metal capital of the world.” These industries are responsible for hundreds of jobs throughout the 74th district and the greater north central region of the commonwealth.
His main focus in Harrisburg is limiting debt and spending. Last February, the House overwhelmingly approved his legislation, HB 493, to trim the debt limit in the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP); the capital investment program started under Governor Tom Ridge. The debt limit in the revolving loan program jumped from $1.5 billion under Ridge to $4.05 billion under Governor Ed Rendell. His legislation also inserted standards for job creation and return on investment into the program.
He came by his beliefs in limited government and entrepreneurship by growing up in a family that emphasized personal responsibility. He’s a debate opponent you might want to avoid. He was valedictorian of his high school class and graduated from Bucknell in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Physics.
His favorite book, and he can’t wait for the movie, is Unbroken; Laura Hillebrand’s account of the life of World War II hero Louis Zamperini
Gabler has been named a Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business. Guardians of Small Business were awarded to members of the General Assembly who voted favorably on key small-business issues at least 75 percent of the time during the 2011-12 session.
He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He served as commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 424th Multifunctional Medical Battalion before accepting his current assignment as a Medical Logistics Officer with the Headquarters 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He currently holds the rank of Captain.