Lawmakers Demand the Governor Re-Evaluate Mifflin, Juniata Counties for Reopening

(HARRISBURG) – As Mifflin and Juniata County remain shuttered, local lawmakers demanded that the Governor stop playing politics with the process and allow counties with low numbers to move toward reopening.

On May 15, additional Pennsylvania counties can begin to transition to reopening. However, the stay-at-home order will remain in effect in places such as Mifflin and Juniata counties, even though those counties have seen a low number of cases compared to some areas across the state that have been designated for opening.

The members of the General Assembly representing Mifflin and Juniata counties issued the following statements:

“Every reasonable measure indicates that our region absolutely should be progressing toward reopening,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34). “The Department of Health Secretary admitted yesterday that there was a ‘data dump’ that has skewed the numbers. Keeping our area closed just shows that Governor Wolf is ignoring the data and science and instead is allowing politics to guide his decisions. People in this area want to get back to work and are capable of getting back to their lives safely. They need to be on the path toward yellow and ultimately green for a full reopening.”

“This is absurd,” state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-117) said. “Since the beginning, this governor has said ‘data’ and ‘science’ would direct his decision making. What happened? There is no data-driven justification for keeping Mifflin County closed. None. Mifflin County can safely open, and should safely open. Hardworking people are smart enough and responsible enough to safely care for themselves, their clients and their neighbors, without the government trying to control their every move,” Benninghoff added. “Isn’t it hard work that made America? The people of Mifflin County have done what was asked of them for months, and they should not have to wait another day. Government should never be able to take away your right and ability to put food on the table for your family.”

“First, I questioned why Mifflin and Juniata Counties could not open, while some neighboring counties were given permission to do so,” said state Rep. John Hershey (R-82). “The governor’s reopening of certain counties while refusing to include the Juniata Valley defies all reason other than the pure politics of taking care of his Democrat friends. The average resident of my district feels safe, and they want to return to work. I’m saddened that the governor’s decision making process is not allowing them to do so, and disappointed that he continues to neglect sharing the ‘science and data’ he apparently follows with the legislature.”

“Our small business owners have reached their breaking point,” state Rep. Rich Irvin (R-81) said. “Many are choosing to reopen in defiance of Governor Wolf.  After being closed for such a long-extended period of time, I have the confidence in our citizens and business owners to make the correct choices while doing their part to ease the spread of COVID-19. The Republican caucus has continued to lead throughout this crisis by putting forward legislation that would require the Governor to allow businesses to operate in the Commonwealth. I will be continuing to stand up to Governor Wolf and fight for the rights of our hardworking citizens of the 81st District.”

 

Contact – Jenn Kocher – jkocher@pasen.gov