Fee for All

By on April 20, 2016
Mindy Fee

Mindy Fee feels comfortable as the incumbent running for her third term as Pennsylvania House Representative for the 37th District.

She believes her record in office, especially during the nearly year-long budget impasse, follows the wishes, principles, and ideologies of the people in her district, which includes Elizabeth Township and Manheim.

“The people two years ago elected a divided government between the Senate and the House, where there’s more Republicans than ever before, and a governor who is a Democrat,” she said. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when Gov. Wolf came into office, I think he stunned Pennsylvania.”

Fee, 51, said it was a frustrating time, but not difficult since there wasn’t much choice but to oppose Gov. Tom Wolf’s policies.

During the impasse, she spent time meeting with affected groups “held at bay” during what amounted to a government shutdown in terms of funding schools, agricultural organizations, social services and more.

“We met continually with with our non-profits, our school superintendents, and business managers, our ag programs — some of the most vulnerable people — continually as the budget impasse kept rolling along,” she said.

Fee balked at her opponent’s suggestion that there was room to compromise or do anything but fight to hold the line on taxes.

“Going through the whole budget impasse you find it’s hard to compromise with a governor who has 15 new taxes laid out,” Fee said. “He wants a personal income tax increase retroactive to Jan. 1, and when I talk to folks in my district, they believe they’re already paying a lot of taxes. That’s why it was very important to hold the line.”

Fee, who serves on the agricultural, local government, game and fish, and tourism committees, noted there was some progress despite the impasse.

In October, Fee introduced legislation aimed to put more teeth in the inspector general office, a government watchdog entity which has about 220 employees.

Her plan, which would also serve to de-politicize the office, would reestablish the watchdog post by law, and to define the process by which an inspector general would be nominated and confirmed, instead of by executive order.

Under the legislation, the governor would nominate a candidate for inspector general, and the Senate would confirm the nominee by a two-thirds vote. This bipartisan process replicates the vast majority of Pennsylvania’s other cabinet positions, she said.

“I firmly believe the inspector general position demands independence. No inspector general should fear that uncovering waste, fraud and abuse could result in being dismissed from their job,” Fee said.

She addressed her opponent Tim Reedy’s suggestion that Fee is part of stagnate political system that actually promotes polarization and feeds off crises.

“My opponent talks about polarization, but I don’t think it’s polarization necessarily. I believe it’s about standing up for what people believe in; in what people overwhelmingly told me in the 37th District,” she said.

Fee also rejected Reedy’s charge that grouping together with fellow Lancaster County lawmakers is bad for her constituents.

Known as the “Lancaster Delegation,” Fee regularly discusses proposed legislation with Sens. Ryan Aument and Lloyd Smucker, and Reps. Steve Mentzer, Dave Zimmerman, David Hickernell, Bryan Cutler, Brent Miller, and Keith Greiner.

She said the “values-driven and like-minded” delegation provides strength in numbers that can be a powerful tool “in the face of many diverse viewpoints in Harrisburg.”

Still, Reedy has hammered away at such thinking, stating such an arrangement produces a narrow-minded approach.

Fee also clarified Reedy’s suggestion that a vote for her is a “vote for the status quo and the current leadership in Harrisburg.”

She stands behind that leadership.

“I believe our teamwork with the ‘Lancaster Delegation’ is so important.,” Fee said. “I am pleased that the delegation from Lancaster County has such a strong working relationship. Our cooperative efforts have been key in helping our priorities, values, and sensibilities get attention at the capital.”

Fee, who said she has never spoken to Reedy and doesn’t know much about him, has a perfect record in House elections. Winning the first time to take Tom Creighton’s open seat in 2012, she was re-elected in 2014 by defeating Democrat Brian Kresge with 77 percent of the vote.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

 

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