State Rep. Kevin Haggerty showed up in the House for roll call today in Harrisburg for the first time since last July.
Because he won’t talk directly to The Times-Tribune about his absence, I want to recap his interview last Wednesday with WILK Radio morning talk show host Sue Henry. He talked about his absence and a lot of other stuff there.
In case you’ve missed it, Haggerty, who represents the 112th state House district. missed 300 roll call votes over 23 voting session days between Sept. 11 and Dec. 13.
In the WILK interview:
— Haggerty said the media really “attacks” him about the missed votes because he has the courage to stand up for eliminating school property taxes.
He has made this argument on his state representative Facebook page for the last few months, but now we have a voice recording thanks to Sue.
“If I wasn’t vocal, if I did the two-step in Harrisburg and never stood up for real issues, none of this would have happened,” Haggerty told Sue.
He pointed out one of his potential opponents in the May 15 Democratic primary, Kyle Mullins, 32, serves as the legislative director to state Sen. John Blake, who opposes eliminating school property taxes.
In the interview, Haggerty repeatedly said he missed 16 voting days. In one instance, he said he missed 123 votes.
— Haggerty said a lot of votes he missed were insignificant, resolutions on naming highways or bridges in honor of someone.
“They (the media) create this scenario that you’re missing this grave and important work when ultimately, you’re really not,” he told Sue. “Now, did I want to be there? Of course. Do I look back and say I should have been there? I do not because things are better for my family right now.”
Initially, Haggerty contended he had to stay local and skip going to Harrisburg because he needed to be near his children who are struggling with his and his wife’s divorce.
Last month, he added new reasons: a scary letter his wife received from a state prison inmate and a prowler near his Dunmore home.
The House website shows Haggerty introduced one of these kinds of resolutions Aug. 29 to designate September 2017 as Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month. The House approved the resolution by a 190-1 vote on Sept. 13, one of the 300 votes Haggerty missed.
“Did I miss votes? Absolutely I missed votes. So did many, many legislators,” he told Sue. “Do they get attacked relentlessly about it? Did they have a family matter of the gravity that I did. No they didn’t.”
–— Haggerty said he really is working, even though he stopped going to Harrisburg.
“I was in my district office every single day,” he said. “Some of the media showed up at the office (and reported) nobody’s here. It’s just not true, we’re here every single day. In 365 days of the year, we’re approximately in Harrisburg 60. So when the media says his only job is to vote, that’s not true. My only job is not just to vote, it’s to be at my office to do constituent work, to outreach.”
During his Harrisburg hiatus, he claimed, his staff “created legislation for the opiate situation.”
His bill would create “drug kickback box(es)” that allow people to dispose of their unused pharmaceutical drugs and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
“Nobody works harder than my staff and me,” he said.
— He will run for re-election this year.
“Why wouldn’t I run?” he said.
After beating state Rep. Frank Farina in 2016, he’s already faced his toughest competition, he said.
“We’re not afraid of it. We’re not afraid of all the sensationalism,” he said.
He has knocked on 20,000 doors while campaigning, he said.
“I’ll never have a harder race than I had against Frank Farina,” he said.