Pennsylvania Sixth Congressional District Republican candidate Guy Ciarrocchi spoke with The Pennsylvania Daily Star and discussed his role was one of the ringleaders of the #VoteYes campaign, the successful effort resulting in the passage of a constitutional amendment in the Keystone State that limits the powers of emergency declarations.
The candidate explained the process that led to the passing of ballot measures that ended the Pennsylvania governor’s ability to issue emergency declarations lasting more than 21 days.
“Like in many states, here in Pennsylvania, the governor issued an emergency order and then kept reissuing them every 30 to 90 days. I began to speak out as early as April and May of 2020 that things were unfair,” he said.
“We got to the summer and the fall and the legislature tried to reopen certain aspects of the economy,” he continued. “The governor would veto it. They tried to override and they couldn’t find the votes.”
“The legislature then passed what they thought was a way to stop the governor. Both the House and Senate passed a resolution that said to the governor, the emergency declaration has been cancelled,” Ciarrocchi said. “The governor vetoed it. The legislature said that you can’t veto it. They went to court and the court said the governor has to sign the resolution in order for it to take effect.”
“The bottom line is we learned in Pennsylvania that the legislature couldn’t stop the governor and the courts wouldn’t. So, we had to do it with the Pennsylvania constitution,” the PA-6 candidate added.
“In the primary of 2021, 15 months after we passed two weeks to flatten the curve, we were still living under an emergency declaration in Pennsylvania. There were two ballot questions and we urged voters to vote yes,” he said, describing the ballot initiative process.
“I was, with all due humility, probably the loudest voice in Philadelphia and the suburbs, speaking out in favor of the constitutional amendment limiting the governor’s power to make emergency declarations,” he said, elaborating on his personal efforts. “I wrote about a dozen columns, did two dozen interviews, 28 radio appearances, and then we turned it into a full-fledged campaign with lawn signs, t-shirts, rallies, ads, and text messages.”
“We had to launch a campaign to help pass this because the governor not only was the person issuing the emergency orders, he was leading a campaign to defeat the changes to the constitution,” he added.
It was a bi-partisan coalition effort that Ciarrocchi helped lead that resulted in the changes.
“We built a coalition with other chamber leaders and business organizations, as well as a whole bunch of parents groups who wanted their kids back in school. It was a bi-partisan, non-partisan effort,” he said.
“We all worked together and the effort got over 52 percent of the vote to ensure that no governor in the future could ever do this again,” he emphasized.
“Now in Pennsylvania, the constitution says that no emergency declaration can last more than 21 days. We will not ever have 15, 18, or 21 month emergency orders again,” he concluded.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR, Twitter, and Parler.
Photo “Guy Ciarrocchi” by Guy Ciarrocchi. Background Photo “Pennsylvania State Capitol” by Kumar Appaiah. CC BY-SA 2.0.