Sen. Yaw Responds to Negative, Factually Incorrect TV Ad

HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) today responded to recent paid advertisements by a Harrisburg special interest group which are both negative and factually incorrect:

“Recently, a media campaign, paid for by a faceless Harrisburg organization, has aired throughout my Senate District. This campaign attempts to portray me as being anti-small business and ‘caving in to the demands of liberal union bosses.’ Making such a statement about a person who has represented employers throughout my career and who has been a Chamber of Commerce member for decades can only be described as just absurd. What is even more absurd is the fact that no one from this phantom organization has ever taken the time to make, or given me the courtesy of, a telephone call, email, text or facebook message prior to their spending thousands of dollars on their attack.

While their campaign is not clear, it appears to be based on& one legislative bill, namely SB 1131, which significantly changed the concept of joint and several liability in Pennsylvania. Here, the campaign is completely misguided because I voted in favor of the final version of the bill, which is now the law in our state. At one point in the legislative process, I voted against an amendment which eliminated certain claims related to injuries suffered by children and claims for actual losses proven by evidence. However, I have never waivered from my support for the elimination of joint and several liability, the original premise of SB 1131. Apparently, the exercise of any ‘independent thought’ in the legislative process is frowned upon by this special interest group which keeps its contributors a secret.

It also appears that the special interest group is criticizing me because I have stated that my constituents are overwhelmingly opposed to vouchers. The Harrisburger’s position is vote for vouchers or else. With great pride, I am happy to state that none of the 19 school districts in my Senate District are in the underperforming group of schools targeted by the most recent voucher proposal. Frankly, the majority of the residents in my district are happy with their local public schools and the education which those schools provide to their children.

Nonetheless, I have never taken an absolute position against the voucher concept in recognition of the problems in some urban schools and the impact those schools have on the state education system as a whole. The governor has recently discussed proposals regarding education reform and vouchers, but as of yet, no legislation has been introduced detailing these concepts. Until such time as the details are known and the impact, if any, on my local districts is recognized, I plan to again use that foreign concept of ‘independent thought’.

I would like to specifically thank all of those supporters and friends who have heard parts of the campaign against me and responded with such comments as “Who are those jokers”, “Are those people nuts”, “Great pictures”, “Liberal is not a word I would associate with you”, “What a waste of money” and “Great free publicity for you”. Thank you.”


Rita Zielonis, 570-322-6457