H.R. 171: A RESOLUTION OF THE PEOPLE OF CENTRE & MIFFLIN COUNTIES CALLING ON KERRY BENNINGHOFF TO STEP ASIDE AND TO ELECT PETER BUCK
WHEREAS, the citizens of Pennsylvania have a right to vote for State Representative on November 3, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the people are faced with a choice to vote between Mr. Kerry Benninghoff and Mr. Peter Buck, both gentlemen raised in Centre County, Pennsylvania with records of leadership and service to their communities; and
WHEREAS, Kerry Benninghoff was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1996, succeeding the Honorable Ruth Rudy;
WHEREAS, Mr. Benninghoff and his staff have provided excellent constituent services to the people of House District 171, met constituents for breakfasts and other pleasantries over the years, attended celebrations of his constituents’ accomplishments, and attended fairs and parades; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Benninghoff used to champion the causes of his people, including—but not limited to—Spring Creek Canyon, adoption, cancer research and responsibility to tax payers; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Benninghoff has held positions on Committees, advanced to be the Republican whip and was elected to be the House Majority Leader of Pennsylvania’s severely gerrymandered legislature in the summer of 2020; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Benninghoff has taken both unpopular stances on and refused to take action on issues of concern to his constituents including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Reforming “the worst charter school law in the country” which is sending tens of millions of tax payer dollars into schools that impede the constitutionally mandated provision for a “thorough and efficient” system of public education, especially for children with special needs;
b) Instituting a transparent and fair process for drawing Pennsylvania’s legislative map so that the people pick their legislators, not vice versa;
c) Providing for Pennsylvanians’ “right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment” by refusing investing in a clean energy economy that added over 7,800 jobs in Pennsylvania from 2017-2019 while dirty energy jobs lost more than 2,500 jobs despite Mr. Benninghoff’s inaction or obstruction;
d) Investing in widely accessible rural broadband that is costing the average Pennsylvania family $1,000 in lost opportunity cost each year;
e) Applying sunshine laws or gift bans to himself or to the Legislature despite advancing legislation that mandated the former from the Executive Branch and the Executive’s own adoption of a gift ban; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Benninghoff has put forward or voted for legislation or taken actions that are against the interests of his own constituents including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Cutting over $70 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Health over the last 10 years, cuts that impair the Commonwealth’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic;
b) Failing to inform his fellow legislators and covered up Andrew Lewis’s COVID-19 positive case for one week despite the fact that fellow legislators, their staff and other employees return home to children in remission, elderly parents or spouses or immune-compromised family;
c) Taking over $70,000 in campaign contributions from the natural gas industry alone while
a. refusing a severance tax on natural gas that makes Pennsylvania the only major gas-producing state in the nation without one and costs central Pennsylvania families approximately $3,000 annually,
b. failing to promote regulation that would protect the health and well-being of children in Pennsylvania such as those in Washington County who have developed Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer, and died, and
c. fighting for regulation on methane, a known greenhouse gas that is over 70 times as potent as carbon dioxide and a significant driver of climate change;
d) Supporting the Nestle corporation’s attempt to build a bottling plant in the Spring Creek watershed despite the objections of citizens;
e) Voting against funding for Emergency Medical Services training when EMS is in trouble in rural Pennsylvania and the Penns Valley EMS has been featured on the front page of Township News as an example of difficulty; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Benninghoff’s brief tenure as Majority Leader has been marked by Republican antics and brinksmanship, including but not limited to:
a) Attempting multiple times to revoke the Governor’s disaster declaration without a realistic counter plan, an action that would place Pennsylvania as the only state in the Union without a severance tax, and
b) Supporting frivolous lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud despite the fact that “[m]ail ballot fraud is incredibly rare, and legitimate security concerns can be easily addressed,” and
c) Advancing a dubious Election Integrity Committee that seeks to further undermine confidence in the vote and could substantively interfere with election results in November 2020 until his constituents sent him an “overwhelming” message that he better not do it; and
WHEREAS, Peter Buck has a record of service as an award-winning teacher, as a leader in local and statewide non-governmental organizations with missions dedicated to education and the environment including the Penns Valley Conservation Association and Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, as a local elected and appointed government official in Ferguson Township, the Centre Region Council of Governments and the Spring Creek Watershed Association; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Buck has taken stances on and taken action on issues of concern to constituents including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Overseeing a township budget and finances that maintained a fund balance, earned Moody’s AAA rating and received awards for their excellence,
b) Voting to place body cameras on police officers to enhance the safety and accountability of citizens and officers,
c) Acting to protect Pennsylvanians’ right under the Commonwealth Constitution’s Artlce 1, Section 27 to clean air, land and water by authoring, co-authoring and advancing climate action resolutions in Ferguson Township, the Centre Region Council of Governments and Penn State University’s Faculty Senate, advancing green building projects, playing a key role in securing the state’s largest solar power project, securing new parkland that supports recreation and pollinator habitat, advancing source water protection legislation and chairing a nationally recognized intergovernmental solar power working group,
d) Collaborating with and supporting teachers, students and administrators in public and private schools with his interns at Penn State University and through service and grant acquisition in the Penns Valley Conservation Association, and
e) Calling on the state legislature with the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors and municipal governments in Centre County to pass a Constitutional Amendment for a fair legislative redistricting process.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HERE RESOLVED:
1. The people of House District 171 shall thank Representative Kerry Benninghoff for his 12 terms of service.
2. Vote for everyone’s fair shot at a bright future and elect Peter Buck to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.
RESOLVED this 3rd day of November, 2020.
Download a pdf of HR 171 here.