December 14 – It certainly seems like 2023 will be remembered as the year of chaos in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
It began with arguments after the November 2022 election over what party had the majority in the Chamber.
Then there was an unbelievable battle over who would be the speaker.
Now, the year is ending and on the night before the PA House goes into a three-month recess, the Chamber has passed a resolution to declare this year the Taylor Swift era in Pennsylvania.
That’s not a misprint.
This is the country star turned pop sensation who dated a string of people and ended up writing songs about them, Taylor Swift.
Yep, the PA House decided to pass a resolution declaring this year the Taylor Swift era.
Swift is from Pennsylvania. She was recently named Time’s Person of the Year.
And sure, when her concert tour comes through PA, it generates a nice amount of revenue for the state.
But a whole lot of people are wondering is this really what the PA House should be spending their last night in session before a three month recess on?
That includes our own Representative Paul Schemel.
Schemel, on the floor of the State House last night, said, “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.”
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 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.”
This morning, PA Representative Rob Kauffman pointed out, “You will see in the next week before Christmas, who and how many resign because they are going to have at least one resignation, maybe more, and that is actually why we’re not going to be in session for three months. Nobody can identify this leak (an alleged water leak in the Capitol). I was talking to reporters who are trying to find the leak. They’re trying to find you someone who will show them or demonstrate where this is.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “This is just incredible. And, it was a bipartisan vote. There were actually I believe seven Republicans that voted for this. Paul Schemmel did not by the way, nor did Rob Kauffman or Jesse Topper. There were five or six Democrats that voted against it. Why was the General Assembly wasting its time on this last night? It just seems like this could have been time much better spent in light of all the other problems we need to address.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “I know why they’re wasting time on it. I’ve seen articles around from USA Today. Taylor Swift, there are people with certain ideologies who would love to use her to push those ideologies. She very wisely stayed out of politics and I say very wisely because she didn’t know very much about it from some of the conversations I’ve seen she’s had or comments she’s made, but like a lot of our young people she has fallen under the spell of you’re just not compassionate if you’re not completely pro LGBTQ plus. So this is something that Democrats are using. Some believe in it. I think some are using it for political advantage. They want to encourage this very influential woman. It’s sad that we cannot separate the fact that she’s loved for her music as an entertainer and then what she believes should be not even germane to why most young people love her. Because unfortunately, most young people aren’t taught to really think. It doesn’t seem like she can really think about these issues. She just feels sad when she feels that somebody’s being bullied and she wants people to understand that. I really do see this as a push. Now of course recently her fans in Brazil where it gets hot, they had people in that horrible circumstance where they didn’t have water and one of her fans actually died waiting in line. Well, now they’re pushing her to be the czar of climate change for all these young people as well. So I have the feeling that’s why they were willing to waste time and why it broke down on political lines the way it did.”
Barkdoll said, “As silly as this may be on the surface, she is very influential. She also turned 34 years old yesterday. She’s dating the big star on the Kansas City Chiefs whose brother also plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. She has a massive following. I mean tens and tens of millions of followers on social media. You do wonder, could there be some strategy next year? Imagine her sending out political endorsements to her followers, they will go along with whatever she would endorse. In that respect, she could be a very influential person. Now I don’t know if she’s never signaled a willingness to get into those kinds of things. But maybe some of these Democrats in the House and the seven Republicans that went along with this, maybe they see some political advantage here if they could be friendly with her.”
Jansen pointed out, “In 2018, she started doing it. She started talking about LGBTQ plus. She has bad mouthed Trump. Guess where I found the first hit for looking for this story TikTok. So there you go. A lot of young people get all their news from TikTok.”
Barkdoll noted, “She did also get involved years ago in a Kentucky Senate race. She was endorsing the person running against Mitch McConnell and that didn’t work out. So you’re right. She has shown some signals of doing this stuff. You just wonder what might be in store for her and her followers next year?”
Jansen added, “Well, she endorsed the Democrat against Marsha Blackburn in her own state and that was where she made her big shift from whatever she did in the past.”