MAKING 2024 COUNT | December 2023
Much of this past year has been filled with frustration in seeing the decisions made by our state and federal public officials. That has been fatiguing. The new year provides several opportunities to send a message to all. Maybe you’re reading this and are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore … so read on for what you can do about it.

In February, every state representative and U.S. representative will need to circulate petitions to appear on the ballot; half of the state senate and U.S. Sen. Casey will need to do the same. You may see them out asking for signatures and for your vote in the May primaries, giving you a chance to tell them what they need to do differently. Even better, you can circulate your petition to challenge someone or fill a vacancy from one of the legislators planning to retire.

The main thing to do is ensure that sitting legislators consistently hear your frustrations from you. For ABC issues, there is a long list of poor decisions made in Harrisburg, with a longer list of excuses for why they were made. Republican and democrat representatives decided that it was a good idea to have a state-wide responsible contractor ordinance (RCO); some Republicans joined the House Democrats to advance a bill to give unemployment benefits to those on strike; and Democrats pushed to amend enshrining the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide the right organize even though it is already a right.

Outside of our issues is the frustration of not being able to pass a budget, a long delay in deciding a Speaker of the House (slightly better than Congress), disorganization in assigning committees to do any work in the state House and a question on how to fund our schools. There’s also the inexplicable and sudden meekness of legislators when a state representative and top aide to the governor are accused of sexual harassment. Mad yet?

It’s time for a change, and we should enter 2024 with a determination for a reckoning at the ballot box. If the ship isn’t righted this year, we expect the current mess to worsen. No one should accept any excuses of “being in the minority,” “following leadership,” or that they had to throw a bone somewhere. ABC members are busy making things work, not giving out hall passes.

If you don’t know what to say, contact us at ABC or join a committee. Most importantly, every public official needs to hear about what is happening with your business and whether that legislator is helping or hurting it. If they aren’t helping, they need to be held accountable.