The citizens of this Commonwealth, the people who elected us, did an amazing job following Gov. Tom Wolf’s lead in the first 90 days after he declared a state of emergency following the arrival of COVID-19.
Many of us thought, obviously too optimistically, that pausing our freedoms for a few months would mean that they would be permanently returned to us much sooner. But now, we’ve had five and a half months of government control, and the people are rightfully saying that the tyranny has to end. After all, a leader is only worth following if he or she considers the impact of decisions on everyone.
Gov. Wolf does not seem to remember that he was elected to manage the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not “We the People.” He continually ignores our letters. He vetoes legislation drafted and approved by the General Assembly, without sharing his own plan.
I have not been the only legislator asking for him to share his plan with us, to give us a light at the end of this awful, seemingly never-ending COVID-19 tunnel. Our governor should want to provide hope, especially to the hard-working men and women that he’s pushed out of work and left to fend for themselves with a poorly functioning unemployment compensation system.
So many people who have never filed for unemployment, never leaned on the government for help before, were forced to do so. No one was reachable when they had questions about the confusing application process, and no one was there when, week after week, month after month, a check to help them through never came.
Not only were the people left without hope… many of them had to watch their competitors in the same business operate because Wolf picked winners and losers with his business waiver program. In fact, after he unilaterally decided which businesses were essential versus non-essential, his cabinet company continued to operate even though it fell squarely into his very own non-essential determination. I don’t know how that can be explained.
He dealt “We the People” another blow when he chose to allow the Carlisle Car Show to operate with up to 20,000 attendees at a time while all other outdoor gatherings were limited to 250 people. The governor isn’t allowing people to get married and have the celebrations they’ve been dreaming of their whole lives, but he’s willing to let a car show of 80 times his own mandated limit on gatherings. It’s hypocritical and has eroded the willingness to listen to him that people had.
No one wants to follow a leader who lacks transparency, responsiveness and communication with the people he’s supposed to serve. In fact, that’s not even really a leader at all. That’s a dictator, and dictators aren’t able to inspire the hope people need to have to voluntarily follow.
Not only did Wolf not give “We the People” hope, he changed his guidelines on a whim after plans had been made. This was particularly challenging for schools, which had planned for the partial or full return of students only to find out about a week before reopening that the plan had changed again. That time, the governor added a mask mandate for our kids while they were at school.
The rights that people have were given up – or commandeered by the governor – during his continual states of emergency.
I recently partnered with Reps. Matt Dowling and Ryan Warner to host a drive-in veterans recognition ceremony, and, as always, my heart swelled with gratitude for the men and women who donned the uniform and defended our country.
But, it also made me sad to see these soldiers who put their lives on hold and risked injury and even their lives. Now, they live in a Pennsylvania where so many rights have been dashed. This is not the land of freedom for which they so valiantly fought.
We have two choices. First, Wolf can continue his overreach and abuse of power, or we can decide it’s time for “We the People” to do what we do best: solve problems.
It’s time to return all rights and liberties to Pennsylvanians, and that’s the goal of a veto override vote on House Resolution 836
. The legislation would terminate the governor’s state of emergency and give us the opportunity to restart the state’s economy that has been stalled for too long. People would finally be allowed to go back to work. People would be given their voice back by reinstating the Legislature as part of a co-equal branch of government to serve “We the People.”
It’s long overdue for Gov. Tom Wolf to listen to and have faith in the people of Pennsylvania.
Representative Bud Cook
49th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans