HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf took the unprecedented step to join a regional council of governors to dictate how and when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, and Pennsylvania businesses will reopen during the COVID-19 crisis. In response, a group of Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, comprised of Reps Kate Klunk (R-York), Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton), Paul Schemel (R-Franklin), Dan Moul (R-Adams), Mike Jones (R-York), John Lawrence (R-Chester/Lancaster) Matt Dowling (R-Somerset/Fayette), Carl Walker Metzgar (R-Somerset/Bedford) and House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor (R-York), whose districts are along the state’s southern tier issued the following statement:
“While we applaud the governor for finally working to formulate a plan to address the COVID-19 crisis and to get people back to work, we are extremely troubled that he chose to receive advice and feedback from governors of other states instead of first turning to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
“Since the start of this crisis, members of the General Assembly have been sidestepped by the governor as he imposes his edict on all Pennsylvanians. Members of the General Assembly were elected to provide a voice for the people in our valuable checks and balances system. Sadly, the governor’s actions continue to try to silence the people’s voices during the crisis. We cannot allow the voices of the people to continue to be ignored as we work to rebuild our economy.
“We must also raise issue with the governor’s choices of the states he chose to work with. We can see why Gov. Wolf opted to work with governors who are largely of the same political mindset. From a geographical standpoint, we question why our neighboring states of Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia weren’t included in the council of governors. Every day, constituents of our districts, which all touch the Mason-Dixon Line, commute to jobs and do business in Maryland. The residents of our rural districts have far more in common with our southern neighbors than they do with the residents of suburban Boston.
“Pennsylvania must have a plan to move forward. That plan must be formulated by stakeholders – the people of this Commonwealth. We have plenty of ideas and ask our governor to listen to them first before taking directives from his colleagues who were elected by residents of other states.”