Op-Ed: It’s time for Governor Wolf to be Honest with the People of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has managed to navigate dark times across the generations, and our state has overcome each crisis better and stronger than before.

Yet, as I look across the centuries, I cannot recall any governor in our history who has exercised so much power, with so little accountability or transparency as Governor Wolf. 

At the stroke of a pen, he has ruined the lives and livelihood of countless millions of our fellow citizens, with virtually no oversight or accountability. 

At last count, the Governor has created potentially the greatest single economic disaster in the history of Pennsylvania, with record numbers pouring into the ranks of the unemployed.  

Indeed, we are in a health crisis, and prudent measures must be taken.  But, for the Governor to order the shutdown of businesses that pose zero risk to public safety is both unnecessary and irresponsible.

Unfortunately, his cure is worse than the virus. 

It all began March 19, when Wolf issued his proclamation declaring only those businesses that he deemed “essential” could remain open. 

Chaos and confusion followed. 

To compound matters, a star chamber-like waiver process was hastily thrown together. Winner and losers were chosen. No governor in the history of Pennsylvania has wielded such power.

Sadly, during this crisis, transparency, oversight and accountability have been sorely missing from Governor Wolf’s deliberations. He has not worked with the General Assembly, nor sought to build a coalition with patriotic Pennsylvanians, to come up with a plan to intelligently guide us through these times. 

We are a Constitutional Republic, where power is divided amongst three branches of government, and checks and balances should be in place to prevent one from wielding so much authority. 

We need to restore accountability, oversight and transparency before more damage is done. 

With this in mind and as chair of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, I am formally exercising my constitutional oversight authority to request all of the waivers approved and disapproved by Governor Wolf, his staff and or proxies.

Additionally, I am requesting any memorandum or directives that Governor Wolf and his staff developed to direct the decisions made on the waivers.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the General Assembly to provide oversight over the actions of the Executive Branch, especially during this crisis.  In times such as these, there should be more transparency, not less, and I am gravely concerned by the lack of accountability and oversight demonstrated by our governor over the past month.

I earnestly hope that Governor Wolf pursues the transparency that he once promised us, and fulfills this request expeditiously.  If he chooses to conceal these records from the people, I will request a subpoena to make these documents public. 

Senator Mastriano represents the 33rd District in the Pennsylvania Senate. The District includes Adams County and parts of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.

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