HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Eleven days remain for the nine GOP candidates to convince Republican voters why they should be Pennsylvania's next governor. For Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, it's about separating himself from the rest of the field.  

“And what separates me from all the others is they are all controlled by the establishment system,” said Gale. 

Gale was first elected to public office at the age of 26, making him the youngest Montgomery County Commissioner in history.  

“What drove me to run initially for Montgomery County commissioner, was the Montgomery County Republican Committee endorsed a board member of Planned Parenthood. And I was raised as a conservative, pro-life Catholic, and I was appalled that the Republican Party would endorse them,” said Gale. 

Gale says he appeals to independents and has the best chance to take on his former colleague, Josh Shapiro. 

“So, I used to be on the board with him and I have the geographic advantage of coming from his home turf. That's where I developed a lot of personal relationships, name recognition,” said Gale. “I appeal to independents because I'm notorious for being outspoken about the flaws and effectiveness and corruption in the Republican Party,” he added. “I have complete independence of the Republican Party establishment, I never had their backing.” 

If elected, Gale says he'd hold his party and state officials accountable, especially when addressing issues like infrastructure.  

“But a core function of government should be maintaining our infrastructure, and that's something that Pennsylvania is simply not doing,” said Gale.  

He believes the commonwealth has a cost problem that needs to be fixed with prevailing wage reform. 

“We have to drive down the cost of these public construction projects and the way to drive down the costs is through prevailing wage reform, where you open up the bid process to more independent contractors and you generate competition, which will drive down the costs of the construction,” said Gale. “Politicians in Harrisburg are catering to labor and trade unions because their generous campaign donors are dishing out the roadwork contracts to them. So, we need to have an environment where we open a bid process to more family-owned independent contractors that do the work at a lower cost and also get it done much faster,” he added. “They're playing politics with our tax dollars, our toll dollars, and it's not sustainable. We have to drive down the cost and prevailing wage reform would do that.” 

Gale believes market competition is also the answer when it comes to minimum wage.  

“I believe in free market capitalism where government should not set standards on wage rates,” said Gale. “I believe you let that open to the private sector and let them make those decisions, because, again, that will generate competition. They'll compete over salaries based on performance, and that's going to have greater economic growth,” Gale added. 

Additionally, he says he wouldn’t hesitate to unleash Pennsylvania’s energy sector to create economic growth. 

“We have an abundance of God given natural gas right under our feet, and Pennsylvania can lead the way to reaching energy independence through our natural gas industry,” said Gale. 

Another growing debate in Harrisburg is legalizing recreational cannabis, something Gale does not support. 

“We are facing a drug epidemic in our state and in our nation,” said Gale. “The last thing we need to do is put more drugs available to the public.” 

Gale says Pennsylvania is in dire need of a “commonsense conservative agenda,” and that he is the candidate to deliver it. 

“I am the only one that has the ability to hold the Republican state Senate and the Republican state House, where they hold the majority, accountable to deliver a commonsense conservative agenda that Pennsylvania is in desperate need of,” said Gale. 

The May 17 primary will determine if Gale faces off against his former colleague from Montgomery County in November.