Wolf pandemic response on the ballot Tuesday as voters head to polls

By: - May 18, 2021 11:39 am

ELIZABETHVILLE, Pa. — Is Gov. Tom Wolf an “unbelievably oppressive” chief executive making overbroad orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, or one tasked with the tough job fighting a once-in-a-lifetime crisis?

It’s a question Pennsylvanians have grappled with for more than a year. And on Tuesday, the residents of this 1,500-person borough surrounded by farmland in the Lykens Valley, 25 miles — and two mountains — away from Harrisburg, had their say.

Debbie Mangle, 35, said she respects Wolf and voted no on the measure limiting governor’s emergency declarations to 21 days.

“Wolf did what he needed to do,” Mangle told the Capital-Star after voting Tuesday morning. She couldn’t remember how she voted on the question allowing a simple majority of legislators to terminate an emergency order, however.

Mangle didn’t think her opinion was the majority among her neighbors. And other voters at the church bound polling place voted to restrict those powers.

Connie, who declined to provide a last name, said she runs a nonprofit that provides aid to roughly 300 elderly people in the area, and said she voted yes on both amendments. 

“No one told us we were essential,” she said. If her nonprofit was closed down, Connie was concerned her clients would have suffered. She also expressed doubts about the death toll from the coronavirus.

Elwood Weaver, 78, said he was skeptical of making too many changes to the constitution. But he knew he voted yes on the equal rights amendment and at least one of the amendments restricting the governor. He wasn’t sure which.

Whatever the government is up to, “it’s working as far as I’m concerned,” Weaver said.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.