We are now 65 weeks into the “two-weeks to flatten the curve” effort in Pennsylvania. During that time Gov. Tom Wolf has held more power over the most minute parts of our lives than any of us could have imagined. But, apparently, that’s not enough. He wants to make sure you and I can never question him.
After closing more of our state for a longer period than any other governor, Wolf is now actively campaigning against constitutional amendments that would allow the state legislature to have a say in how a governor runs long-term emergencies. He is even trotting out his cabinet members to defend his political goals by holding press conferences and writing opinion columns urging Pennsylvanians to vote against the ballot questions pertaining to the amendments.
What’s worse, the local legislators who either defended Wolf’s lockdowns or stood by silently while our restaurants, small businesses, playgrounds and schools were closed are actively campaigning to defeat the amendments, contrary to the good of their communities. They’re doing this despite the amendments giving them—our local representatives—a greater ability to revive our communities and small businesses.
On May 18th, here’s why I am voting “Yes” on all of the ballot questions..
After 65 weeks (and counting) of dictatorial rule over our lives, this governor has the audacity to lecture us as to why he alone knows what’s best for us. He is arguing that our locally elected legislators don’t deserve input into how we’re governed—as is their constitutional role. One cannot articulate the arrogance that he must have to tell American citizens in the birthplace of our Constitution that representative self-government is an effort to “subvert democracy.”
After 65 weeks (and counting) of dictatorial rule over our lives, this governor has the audacity to lecture us as to why he alone knows what’s best for us.
While ignoring common-sense, the science, and the experiences of other states, Wolf and his apologists continue their theme of fear. Preying on that fear, they focus on two primary arguments, which you have likely seen on social media, in your mailbox (often with mailers that were paid for with your tax-dollars!) or in a text message.
First, they’ve falsely alleged that if the amendments are enacted, a governor wouldn’t be able to ever issue an emergency declaration. That argument is as ridiculous as it is an outright lie. Future governors will of course be able to issue emergency declarations. The amendment would simply allow the legislature to end an emergency declaration by a majority vote. This would force a governor to actually talk and negotiate with the people’s representatives over the long-term.
Second, they’ve alleged that our state could lose federal emergency aid if an emergency declaration was suspended. This is a revealingly selfish and arrogant argument. The Wolf administration and our legislators should be working overtime to not only ensure that people get the aid they need, but also to ensure Pennsylvanians get back on their feet, find work, and no longer need emergency funding. Instead, those who want you to vote “no” would rather threaten your livelihood, again.
Those of us supporting the #VoteYES cause are fighting to begin fully and safely re-opening now. We support “Yes” votes on the ballot questions because we never, ever want any governor—of any party or ideology—to have uncontrolled, unlimited, unaccountable imperial-power.
We support ‘Yes’ votes on the ballot questions because we never, ever want any governor—of any party or ideology—to have uncontrolled, unlimited, unaccountable imperial-power.
The goal is to bring the governor and legislature together to openly discuss and bring about compromise the next time that any governor wants to limit business, schooling or normal life for more than 21 days.
Please understand the reality of these amendments. If enacted, to end an emergency declaration or extend an existing declaration beyond three weeks, a piece of legislation would be introduced. We would all then be able to read that bill. As a result, we could better understand why our government is deciding to do what it’s doing to us in an emergency and know who is accountable. There would be a vote in the legislature—a vote we could all see.
Transparency and accountability matter.
If nothing else, please remember this. The people urging No-votes are the ones who put the lockdowns in place, never sufficiently explained why and still refuse to believe they needed to. Those of us urging #VoteYES are defending your liberty and our representative government. That’s why I am voting “Yes” on May 18.
Guy Ciarrocchi is the CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. Follow their work at www.voteYESchesco.org