Pa. lawmakers respond to increased tension, armed forces at state Capitol


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Security at the state Capitol in Harrisburg is beefed up after online threats aimed at all 50 states. Following last week’s tragic storming of the U.S. Capitol, Pennsylvania officials are taking no chances.

It is a jarring contrast: The opulence, beauty, and splendor of the state Capitol. And the heavenly armed forces now protecting it.

“We have seen demonstrations here in Pa. and Harrisburg so I think it’s the responsible and appropriate thing to do at this time,” Representative Ryan Mackenzie, a Republican representing Lehigh and Berks Counties.

Appropriate because of an FBI memo warning all 50 state Capitols of possible protests ahead of the Joe Biden inauguration.

The state gave abc27 a statement condemning violence adding, “The Pa. Capitol Police is enhancing its visible presence and will continue to collaborate with other law enforcement entities.”

This uprising in our nation’s Capitol was felt in our state Capitol.

“I use the word desecrated. It was nauseating,” Representing Pam DeLissio, a Democrat from Philadelphia.

State Rep. DeLissio knows the tensions are high, and many are angry.

“I know some people are out there and very frustrated and concerned, but acting out in that manner does not resolve those frustrations or concerns,” DeLissio said.

Rep. Mackenzie blames fellow politicians for heated rhetoric and says cooler heads and calmer words need to prevail.

“People need to be cautious on what they say and I think it’s on both sides of the aisle, everybody needs to recognize that and tone down the rhetoric across the board,” Mackenzie said.

Nobody signs up for violence, but being a politician in these partisan times means accepting a degree of tension.

“I think everybody’s aware of what things could happen but it’s nothing I’m gonna be concentrating on but I’m just praying every day that people respect each other,” said Rep. Milou Mackenzie, a Republican representing Northampton, Lehigh, and Montgomery Counties.

Prayers and respect would be nice, but for now, a show of force is necessary.

Of course this potential for protesters comes during the pandemic when the Capitol is closed to the public anyway.


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