Thousands Converge On PA State Capitol, Demand Governor Reopen Economy


Thousands of protesters converged on the Pennsylvania Capitol grounds in Harrisburg on Monday to demand Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf reopen the state’s economy.

On March 19, Wolf ordered all but “life-sustaining” businesses to close immediately in the Keystone State in response to the coronavirus outbreak, backed with threats of fines and loss of business licenses for those that did not comply.

The governor took the first “limited steps” on Monday to reopen Pennsylvania’s economy, allowing limited building construction and online car sales to resume May 8.

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“We are taking small steps toward a degree of normalcy,” Wolf said.

The governor emphasized that the stay-at-home order is still in place and he offered no timeline for when it will be lifted.

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Attorney Marc Scaringi — who filed a lawsuit on behalf of multiple small business owners against Wolf’s stay-at-home order, calling it unconstitutional — was one of the speakers at Monday’s rally, which he told The Western Journal drew thousands.

A parade of vehicles drove by 2nd Street in front of the Capitol, honking their horns in support of those standing on and near the Capitol grounds.

“This governor’s business closure order is probably the most irrational, unscientific and biggest overreach to a viral illness in the history of our country,” Scaringi told those assembled.

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“And the results have been catastrophic to the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians,” he added. “Since March 15, over 1.3 million Pennsylvanians have been forced our of their jobs and have had to file for unemployment compensation.”

Scaringi said Reopen Pennsylvania was the lead group organizing Monday’s rally.

When asked about whether Pennsylvania was currently meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to reopen the economy, he said the state’s secretary of health increased the death toll in the state over the weekend by including another 276 new fatalities attributed to the coronavirus outbreak, as The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown reported.

That figure pushed Pennsylvania to over 1,000 deaths, with over 30,000 testing positive, according to Johns Hopkins.

“They have changed the criteria by which they determine COVID-19 deaths to a probable cause determination,” Scaringi said of the state officials.

“That’s spiked up our death toll, but we don’t think it’s the proper methodology to be using,” he added.

The attorney argued during his rally speech that his state is “not leading with science.”

Scaringi said that the majority of the COVID-19 deaths have occurred in 10 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

Those are the urban counties in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as the northeast counties near New York City and northern New Jersey, the nation’s hottest spot.

Dauphin County, where the mid-sized city of Harrisburg is located, has just 386 confirmed cases as of Monday.

Scaringi argued if Pennsylvania were to follow the science, its coronavirus efforts would be focused on the counties where the outbreak is the most severe and among the demographic groups hardest hit.

“Focus your efforts where the illness is,” he said. “Don’t shut down tens of thousands of businesses.”

The lawyer said one of his clients, who operates a lumber business in rural Warren County (in northwest Pennsylvania), should not have been shut down, given there was only one confirmed case and no deaths in the county.

WCAU reported, “both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature were planning to return to session as Republicans push legislation that would take away some of Wolf’s power to determine which businesses must remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Wolf has pledged to “veto one bill sent to him last week and another that is expected to win House passage as early as Monday.”

Asked about the protests that have occurred in state capitals over the last week, Trump told reporters on Sunday, “some governors have gone too far.  Some of the things that happened are maybe not so appropriate.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith