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HARRISBURG — As Gov. Tom Wolfe prepares to resign, he says he’s still mentally reflecting on the decisions he made during the first tumultuous months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m going to hold myself back until I die,” Wolfe, a second-term Democrat, said Thursday in a live public interview with Spotlight PA.
Wolfe’s administration has been marked by conflicts with Republican Congress, a record number of vetoes and executive orders, and major updates to federal marijuana and election laws. He agreed that one of his defining moments was when the pandemic began as states rushed lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Wolfe administration decided to make Pennsylvania one of the few states to independently decide which industries to close and which to keep. The rapidly forming system called for all businesses to be closed except for groups deemed “sustaining life.” change frequentlyMany of the businesses ordered to close have been devastated by economic losses, apply for exemption Resume.
This created a highly unequal and inconsistent system, putting government bureaucrats in a position to make decisions that could ultimately decide whether a company would survive or go bankrupt. The issue was documented in several Spotlight PA investigations of the time, and was criticized as chaotic by business owners, Republicans, and some Democrats.
This issue, combined with controversy over mask requirements and other COVID-19 policies, ultimately led to the approval of two constitutional amendments to the House and Senate, as well as to guide state voters and limit the governor’s ability to order emergencies. did.
In an interview, Mr. Wolfe acknowledged that things could have improved, saying that the state auditor’s general review, which found the waiver program to be inconsistent and unfair, was “point on point.” He said.
“We tried to be as transparent as possible,” Wolf said. He added that although the exemption program had its flaws, it was always intended as a way for people to interact directly with the government.
“I never did politics,” he said, “I tried to do the right thing.”
In response to Spotlight PA’s question, Wolfe cited some of his greatest accomplishments during his tenure, including investing in public education, lowering Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate, rebuilding the federal Rainy Day Fund, and lowering incarceration rates. I was.
Raising the minimum wage, passing anti-discrimination laws targeting LGBTQ people, taxing the gas industry more aggressively, and considering ways to fund roads and bridges without state approval. There are other things he hopes he can do, he said. Highest gas tax ever.
Wolfe also said his successor, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is very different from him but very confident in the executive branch’s future.
“He’s not Tom Wolfe,” said Wolfe. “I think he’s better than Tom Wolfe, and I think Pennsylvania will do very well with him at the helm.”
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https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/12/pa-tom-wolf-covid-second-guessing-business-waivers/ I Will “Guess Myself” Till I Die Spotlight PA