Personal protective equipment, or PPE, has been in short supply over the past year. Did you know the state has amassed a stockpile of PPE valued at $51 million? Did you know the very costly and very valuable equipment is being stored at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, which is located in a flood plain and susceptible to rodent infestation?
It’s one of many baffling decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic that lawmakers – and the public – deserve answers to from the Wolf administration. Sadly, the governor and his team haven’t been forthcoming about much over the past year, and that’s to the detriment of all Pennsylvanians.
That’s why a bipartisan majority of the House and Senate voted TWICE to place questions on the May 18 primary election ballot that will give our citizens a voice in how the state handles disaster emergency declarations in the future. The Wolf administration has acted almost entirely on its own for the past year with regard to shutting down businesses, schools, long-term care facilities, public events and more. As a member of the General Assembly, I’m elected to be the voice of my constituents, so when the governor refused to work with us, he was also refusing to listen to you. I believe you deserve to be heard, and I hope all voters – regardless of party affiliation – will take the time to vote on these questions on Tuesday, May 18. You can learn more about them at PAHouseGOP.com/voiceofthepeople
That’s also why we are moving quickly on legislation (House Bill 1264) that will shine some much-needed light on various aspects of the pandemic response, including COVID-19 testing and vaccines, as well as PPE.
We want to know about the types of PPE acquired and how many of each type, how much has been distributed to health care professionals and others on the front lines of the pandemic, how much remains, and how much money was spent on it. We want to know if the stockpile is insured; what’s being done to protect it against rodent damage; how much PPE or other medical supplies have been disposed of, and how, because they were expired, damaged or otherwise unusable; the cost of storing the supplies at the Farm Show Complex and more.
These questions and many more are a direct result of the lack of transparency by administration officials during our public hearings. Maybe the biggest question is, did the rats and mice of the Commonwealth have more access to the states PPE than our health care professionals?
Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration often like to say they are very transparent. However, saying you are transparent and actually being transparent are two very different things.
It’s not fair or reasonable for us to expect perfection from anyone when it comes to handling the impacts of a global pandemic. But we should expect transparency and for people to ALWAYS have a voice in the process. Even in a pandemic. Especially in a pandemic.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
RepOwlett.com / Facebook.com/RepOwlett