December 22 – After comments made on the floor of the PA House of Representatives, Representative Paul Schemel made it to Rolling Stone Magazine last week.
When the PA House called for a vote on making this year the Taylor Swift era in Pennsylvania last week – on the night before the Chamber would go into a three-month recess – Schemel took a moment to have his voice be heard.
He said last week on the floor, “Madam Speaker I relish the opportunity today to talk about Taylor Swift. And I know that the hours are late and we have much to do so I will be swift in my remarks. Madam Speaker, although we are honoring Taylor Swift here on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on a few nights before the end of the year when we are going to take an almost three month hiatus because I understand there may be a leak that’s two years old in the ceiling.”
At which point Speaker Joanna McClinton said, “The gentleman will suspend and members are reminded to contain their comments to House Resolution 282. This is not open mic night. Please speak on the substance of the resolution, House Resolution 282 is before this body.”
Schemel then continued, “Thank you Madam Speaker, I am well reprimanded. So tonight we are going to honor Taylor Swift in her era. Taylor Swift, who lives in Tennessee and is a resident of the state of Tennessee, the Volunteer State, a great state, but Taylor Swift is somewhat emblematic, and perhaps it is appropriate that we honor her because she’s emblematic of the young demographic that seems to be leaving our state to find opportunities elsewhere. So she has taken her talents and made good of them in the Volunteer State. I think it’s good that we honor that and remember, when we make policy in this room, that policy affects families and affects people like Taylor Swift who used to live here, people that we want to continue to live here in the future. So we will honor Taylor Swift tonight and her era to her and we will remember the fact that we have driven out many people that would otherwise be successful in this state. Thank you, Madam Speaker.”
The motion did pass in the House.
The whole thing actually made it to an article in Rolling Stone Magazine.
Schemel said this morning, “It’s a dubious honor, but thanks. I appreciate it. One of my sons who’s a senior in high school, I think the day after that, he said, what did you say yesterday? The people at school are talking about something you said. So I think some embarrassment, so that might be the greatest satisfaction of it all.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “I have to laugh. I thought well played in terms of tying it into issues, maybe policies that maybe the other side is pushing that drive families and people out of the state. You did it tongue in cheek, you did it in a very amusing way. What I find hilarious is, first of all, the title of the Rolling Stone article is Taylor Swift Proposal Tears Pennsylvania Legislature Apart. No it didn’t.”
“It did not,” Schemel confirmed.
Jansen continued, “Then they talked about, they specifically of course mentioned our own Paul Schemel here. ‘Representative Paul Schemel, then made so many cringey references and they note your one that was really kind of funny, I thought. ‘I will be swift in my remarks.’ I mean, seriously, they’re going to call them cringey? So many cringey references.”
Schemel said, “Those remarks, they were taylor-made.”
“There you go,” Jansen laughed.
Schemel continued, “Sometimes you have to have a little fun. There has to be some levity and I think it’s good for people to recognize that the 203 of us in that chamber, we have a lot of policy differences on very serious things and we argue, but we don’t quarrel. I’m friends with really everyone there and I can talk to them. We can be light when it’s time to be light. So Taylor Swift it’s an important voting demographic for Democrats. That’s why they were running that because they want the attention of young college age women. They want them to come out and vote. That’s particularly important in a year when it’s possible that their presidential nominee is an octogenarian. They need them to come out and vote. That’s why they were doing it.”
Jansen added, “It’s not that she’s just young. It’s also the fact that she supports issues that they have recently, sadly and I’m sorry, I’m going to comment, without a lot of depth. I’ve heard her repeat the talking points of the Democrat position or mostly the progressive position on some of these things.”
Schemel said, “Well, she’s an entertainer, but she does typify, we have a lot of young people that leave the state. If you look at the census data from the other day, we lost 10,000 people last year, and most of those are in that same demographic, people in their 20s and 30s. Those are exactly the kind of people you don’t want leaving and why did they leave? I mean, they leave because of state policies. In fact, in the census data, even folks on the left are saying, it really might be some of our tax structure in the state that’s causing some of these folks to leave.”
Jansen said, “And so many cringey references before McClinton told them this is not open mic night, that’s a complete misrepresentation of it. I just want to record saying that, but whatever.”