This post is paid advertising by the Lebanon County Democratic Party.
Citizens upset with Gov. Tom Wolf for denying Lebanon County CARES funding must realize that the entire fiasco is directly the fault of all of our elected Republican officials beginning with the county commissioners, our state House and Senate representatives, our U.S. congressman, and our district attorney who agreed not to prosecute anyone for violating state regulations related to the governor’s emergency orders.
All chose to openly defy the governor’s emergency orders on combatting the COVID virus. They chose to turn a health crisis into a political war for their own benefit. Their recklessness jeopardized $13 million in much needed funding aimed at helping businesses, nonprofits and local government agencies recover from the costs and losses related to COVID .
The decision by the GOP majority Lebanon County commissioners to file a lawsuit at the taxpayer’s expense and force the governor to release the funds ended in a settlement that released the $13 million, but with the unusual stipulation that $2.8 million must be spent on “mask education” programs here. The hasty settlement was necessary to avoid an extended – and costly – legal battle that could have stretched beyond the December deadline for the county to spend or return the $13 million.
Why $2.8 million for mask education? Ask our Republican leaders who openly defied the governor’s efforts to control the spread of the virus, ridiculed the request to wear masks in public and encouraged Lebanon County citizens to do the same. Our officials publicly demonstrated against state health recommendations and encouraged citizens to ignore state guidelines, endangering their health and the health of others under the guise of personal liberty and freedom.
Such ill-advised defiance has consequences. The $13 million ultimately was restored, but the delay in receiving the money that resulted from the lawsuit now threatens the county’s ability to meet the December deadline and other requirements of the program, which could result in the county forfeiting a large portion of the money. The expenditure of $2.8 million on mask education – money that could have gone to local businesses — is an additional challenge that can be directly attributed to the irresponsible actions of our Republican elected officials.
The citizens of Lebanon County deserve better. It has never been clearer that our current Republican leadership has failed the citizens of Lebanon County. This will only change when the people vote for new responsible leaders with an honest interest in the welfare of their constituents.
The Lebanon Democratic candidates for office in November are the logical choice to bring sanity to our local government. Calvin “Doc” Clements for House District 101, Matt Duvall for House District 102, Patty Smith for House District 104 and Gary Wegman, for U.S. Congress District 9. They are all responsible, sensible and dedicated individuals who care about Lebanon County and the citizens who live here. More information on all our candidates can be found at our website at lebanondemocrats.com.
Lebanon County voters, it’s up to all of us. On Nov. 3, we can vote to continue down the path of ineffective and incompetent Republican leadership. Or, we can have “clean sweep” of Republican candidates and create a new beginning for our county.