At today’s #ReOpenPA rally in front of the State Capitol in Harrisburg, State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Annville) addressed the crowd on hand.
Diamond is one of the leading voices in Pennsylvania pushing to get businesses back open. He says small businesses deserve a chance to operate while following CDC guidelines in place for social distancing and cleanliness.
Also, he believes small business have the ability to adapt to different scenarios just as well as the big, so-called “life sustaining” businesses that have remained open through the coronavirus orders.
State Rep. Russ Diamond Speech at #ReOpenPA Rally
In his address before the protest today, Diamond called on Governor Tom Wolf to cease or modify all orders he’s made so far. He called them counterproductive, at best, and secretive.
Here’s the full text of the speech:
Good afternoon. I’m State Representative Russ Diamond and I believe that every one of you is essential and that every one of your businesses and jobs are life sustaining.
I’m so grateful that you invited me here today to your rally, because I also happen to believe your freedom of speech and your right to peacefully assemble are also life sustaining.
But I also happen to know a few things which are decidedly NOT life sustaining.
A governor who shuts down an entire state, without consulting the business and industry experts, whose offices are all within two or three blocks from his own, right here in Harrisburg, is not life sustaining.
Failing to convince and utilize the 253 members of the General Assembly to communicate your plans, when each and every one of us are intimately familiar with our communities, is not life sustaining.
Announcing sweeping lockdown orders, giving impacted Pennsylvanians only hours to prepare, and creating shock and panic for the general public, is not life sustaining.
Creating a one-size-fits-all list of business and industry categories, and deciding which one you think are essential and which aren’t, from the confines of some Harrisburg cubicle, is not life sustaining.
Creating another list of businesses, some of which are offered waivers to operate, while others selling the exact products or services, in the exact same market, are denied a waiver, is not life sustaining.
Keeping that list hidden from public scrutiny, but providing it to law enforcement, is not life sustaining.
GOVERNOR: Arbitrarily and capriciously picking winners and losers, is not life sustaining. Secrecy breeds suspicion and contempt. Publish your business waiver list immediately!
Adding 1.5 million Pennsylvanians to the unemployment line – the highest number of any state in the nation – and not anticipating the disruptive impact it might have on the unemployment system itself, is not life sustaining.
Putting self-employed individuals out of work for a month before they can sign up for similar relief from the state, and then telling them it might take another three weeks before they receive anything, is not life sustaining.
Shutting down small businesses that may specialize in American-made goods, while keeping big box stores open that sell cheap Chinese garbage, is not life sustaining.
Encouraging community gardens, but keeping garden centers closed, is not life sustaining.
Governor, this list of frustration goes go on and on, but I want to stop right here, and appeal to your better angels.
Governor, we all make mistakes. It’s OK to admit them. We’ve all had to do it from time to time.
You can turn this all around today, by rescinding or modifying your counterproductive orders.
You could sign Senate Bill 613 into law right now, so EVERY business and employer has a chance to comply with social distancing, elevated hygiene, and disinfection protocols – just like the ones you’ve put in place for so-called life sustaining businesses.
Governor, I know on Friday you received a letter regarding the clear and present danger your shutdown poses to our food supply chain. The threats to our farms and food processors are real, and are getting more clear and more present with each passing day.
I implore you to reverse course now, before those very serious threats, and the unintended consequences of your lockdown, start making themselves apparent at Pennsylvania’s supermarkets.
Governor, you and I have successfully worked together before.
We worked together to bring the highest regarded medical cannabis program in the nation to Pennsylvania, which has helped nearly 200,000 patients with serious medical conditions.
We worked together to make industrial hemp a cash crop in the Commonwealth, which promises to become a billion dollar industry for farmers, processors, and manufacturers.
And just this past Friday, you signed into law my House Bill 775, which will save tax dollars by making sure state benefits are no longer offered to Pennsylvanians who are already deceased.
I know we can work together again to get Pennsylvanians safely back to work, and businesses safely reopened. You can certainly continue to try to go it alone, but it would be much better if we were all in this together.
I also want to make an appeal to our Secretary of Health.
Madame Secretary, you and I have also worked together to make improvements to Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program, so that those patients are better served.
I call on you to apply your training as a psychologist during this oppressive shutdown.
My conversations with doctors, pastors, and social workers over the last week or so, have indicated an alarmingly increasing number of Pennsylvanians who are frightened, depressed, on the verge of breakdowns, or in despair.
Their psychological health and well-being is just as important as their physical health and well-being. While their physical health is your primary focus at the moment, we cannot lose sight of the psychological repercussions this shutdown may impose for months, or even years, into the future.
We cannot allow the cure to be worse than the disease.
We should also remain mindful that these psychological impacts can only serve to worsen Pennsylvania’s ongoing opioid crisis.
My fellow Pennsylvanians, I have faith in you.
I believe you care about your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and customers.
I believe you know how to wash your hands for 20 seconds.
I trust you practice social distancing.
I have faith that you will do whatever it takes to avoid cross contamination at your places of business and employment, just like the Governor and Secretary of Health are currently allowing at so-called life sustaining businesses.
We don’t need our lives micro-managed and controlled, through virtual press conferences, from some undisclosed location in Harrisburg.
We can work through this together, with every Pennsylvanian on the same page, and pulling the same wagon.
Governor, Madame Secretary, hear what your constituents are saying today.
End this shutdown now, and together we’ll get Pennsylvanians back to their livelihoods – before the human toll of economic ruin and psychological despair, outweighs the toll from the virus itself.
May God bless you all, and may God bless the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Here’s the full video from today’s rally. It’s something every small business owner should hear:
FOR MORE …
April 21, 2020 at 7:51 pm
Appears that most of the protesters do not have dental.
April 22, 2020 at 5:54 pm
And I’m sure if you went up and told them that you wouldn’t need dental either