ABBOTTSTOWN – Earlier today, Gov. Tom Wolf announced his intentions to create the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps to expand testing and contact tracing capabilities and provide job opportunities in the public health sector. In response, Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) issued the following statement:
“I am deeply troubled to learn of Wolf’s plan during a press conference to unilaterally create a new governmental program that has the potential to cost taxpayers millions of dollars without any legislative oversight.
“First, I don’t believe this program is needed for one of the reasons Wolf stated: to put people to work. Nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians already have jobs, but the governor is not allowing them to go safely back to work. If it is safe for people to be employed in the arena of health and potentially be on the frontlines through the new government program Wolf wants, it is safe for them to return to the jobs they currently hold.
“Second, Wolf mentioned that he is working to be transparent with his policy making and other decisions. However, once again, the Legislature has been shut out of his decision to create his coronavirus corps. We were alerted to the initiative a mere four minutes before the press conference, leaving no time for me and my colleagues to respond.
“Additionally, the press has been effectively muzzled at the governor’s and secretary of health’s press conference for the past six weeks. Wolf’s virtual press conferences are held with no press in attendance, which deeply curtails reporters’ ability to ask questions and follow-up questions. During Wolf’s press conference, he said he wants to be more transparent. The first step toward transparency is to allow the press to attend briefings so they can ask questions in person and hold government accountable.”
Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives