Are lawmakers doing what’s best for their constituents or are they just looking to get votes?

October 6 – This country was founded on principles of democracy and representation. Our elected officials are supposed to represent us in the government and vote on policies and create laws, theoretically, the way we would. 

In fact, when the country was first founded, people would go to their state capitals or to Washington to work on legislation and then they would return to their work at home on farms or in businesses. 

But today, when we have career politicians – who don’t work anywhere else but in politics – a number of people wonder if some of our legislators spend more time trying to get reelected than they do actually working for the people.

Could that be happening in Harrisburg, too? 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “My understanding is Democrats just gave an unbelievable wish list of items that they want funded and they know that the Senate where there is a Republican majority that many of these things will not go through. But what do you think the point was of them doing that? Is it just a message to their donors and voters that well, we wanted this but the Republicans stopped us?”

Representative Rich Irvin said, “You have to govern whenever you’re in the majority. I think that’s something that I learned my first year down there whenever we pass some very important bills to me, whether it was priorities in the Republican caucus that went to the Senate and Governor Wolf vetoed them right away. I think this gerrymandered Democratic majority, they’re trying to silence half of our state by putting bills forward that lean towards their Progressive Caucus and pay back some of the special interest groups that have actually helped to put them into the majority. As far as what they’ve been doing on the House floor, they refused to enter into any kind of interrogation about the bills or their amendments. They’ll end the debate early. They table our amendments or rule them out of order. They just sort of refuse to bring any other ideas that the Republicans have forward and when they do bring a good idea that Republicans have actually passed and previous sessions, they load them up with a lot of spending initiatives and it makes it impossible for our caucus to vote for them.”

Jansen suggested, “I imagine that’s two purposes for that. One, just to kill something that they don’t like easily by putting in things that they know would never be passed by the majority in the Senate. Or just trying to hope that you guys want something bad enough that you will give in on a lot of their priorities. This is not a good way to govern.” 

Irvin said, “I think they put politics first in a lot of their agenda. I think they’re more or less governing to the next election rather than governing for the Commonwealth. The perfect example was the election bills that went through the House on Thursday morning. Well, late on Wednesday night, after the session ended at 11 o’clock, the Democrat Appropriations Committee and the Democrat appropriations chairman amended the bill, adding in to make mail in voting permanent and basically try to end, eliminate in-person voting in Pennsylvania with some of these amendments that they’re putting forward. I mean, we had a very partisan vote on adding voter ID to the bill on the floor that day on second consideration, but then whenever it went to appropriations and they added in additional, permanent mail in voting and permanent mail list, no checks and balances in your mail in balloting. There was no way that we could accept that kind of amendment being added into that even though it did add that aspect of voter ID into it.”

Jansen said, “We had the Jimmy Carter Blue Ribbon Panel on voting integrity and they said mail in voting was the biggest susceptibility to fraud. Here you have them wanting to create mail in voting only for Pennsylvania. I know there are states that have that. I believe Washington State does it that way. I don’t know why with all the questions. It’s like there’s no awareness or care that this is something that the American people, that Pennsylvanians are going to have a hard time with because of all the questions of the last couple of elections. Whether you agree with people questioning it or not. I have to remind people, Democrats were questioning plenty of presidential elections in the past. We just seem to forget that. But really, you’re going to go and do something like that, knowing that at least half of the population here is going to be very wary and feel untrustworthy of that. This lack of caring, even what the perception is, really bothers me. It’s unbelievable. Meanwhile, voter ID which is something the vast majority of Pennsylvanians agree with, the vast majority of Americans agree with, for some reason the Democrats keep up this facade that somehow it’s voter suppression, which makes zero sense.”

Irvin said, “You need to have an ID to get anything else from government agencies. Why would you need an ID to go and vote? It just doesn’t pass the sniff test as far as I’m concerned. Then you have a governor that’s pushing the same agenda with the automatic voter registration through PennDOT. That’s something that he is doing by executive order, and really, we’re not sure what order has been given by the administration to push the automatic voter registration because our caucus and especially our state government chairman, has reached out to the governor in this administration, and asked and done a Right to Know request for what exactly is this executive order? Was this a regulation that had been pushed through or how exactly is this? There’s just an authorization letter that comes from the administration to PennDOT to do this, and that opens up all additional problems whether illegal aliens or non citizens could actually be registered to vote because non citizens and illegal aliens can actually still get a driver’s license in Pennsylvania. So that leads to a lot of questions and how this would even be implemented. So I think from the administration to the Democratic House caucus, I think they will do anything to stay in the majority and that includes manipulating the election law and using our court systems that have not been favorable to the Republican caucus over the past number of years and the COVID years to uphold the law and interpret the law correctly.”

Jansen said, “We know there’s questions about the constitutionality of either the courts or the executive branch making these changes when really it’s the legislators who are supposed to make any changes referring to how we vote. The automatic registration is very worrisome, even if you can say definitively well, only people with social security numbers. Well we know illegal aliens sometimes acquire social security numbers from people who are dead or people who just don’t know that their number is being used because that’s how they can then work and pay taxes, but it’s actually not their social security. Even if you could clear that up and make that guaranteed, I understand there’s questions about who’s obtaining this information? It looks like there’s some very pro-Democrat voting organizations, because this becomes public information. What do you think they’re using that for? Well, they’re using it for ballot harvesting and what constitutes legal and what constitutes illegal ballot harvesting, of course, I think this is where the blue ribbon panel was seeing the problems with possible fraud because we know that as they get overwhelmed with mail in voting, which with 50 days to do this and Democrats, making sure that much of their constituency is voting this way, are they checking for signatures? How do we know somebody didn’t somehow submit ballots for other people? Or even if you just go and get people who never vote, who don’t have any clue what’s going on, don’t even know who they should be voting for to make their lives better. We know there are those that will go and some of them are even paid to go and recruit these voters and make suggestions or just give them help filling out their ballot. These are the kinds of things we can’t even account for. How do we even account for that? He’s making that far easier by this automatic voter registration.

Irvin said, “There are a lot of other organizations that are outside of government that lean very much towards the left and that leads to a bigger problem because they can’t get their voice out there and they push their issues a lot better than what our conservative side does. Fair districting is a good example. Whenever it comes to the map issue and everything of that nature, they pushed that issue very well. They’re able to take these lists, voter registration lists, and I know my parents, they received probably three or four different mail in ballot applications from completely different organizations out there. Your average voter doesn’t realize that this is an outside of the government organization. So that definitely leads to some problems and leads to a messaging issue on the conservative side.”