Centre County Commissioners have change of heart, wants board to urge Gov. Wolf to move county in “Green Phase”

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Centre County Democratic Commissioner Mark Higgins and Chair Commissioner Michael Pipe announced on their Facebook pages that they have changed his position on when the County should move into the Green Phase.

Both support the board urging “Governor Wolf to consider moving Centre County to the Green Phase on Friday, May 29th” in Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.

This comes after Commissioners Higgins and Chair Michael Pipe decided vote against Centre County moving into the Green Phase starting this Friday, and wanting to wait till after the Primary Elections on June 2.

Commissioner Higgins and Chair Commissioner Pipe say they have spoken to hundreds of Centre County residents since Friday afternoon about moving Centre County from the Yellow to Green Phase. Higgins says “the Governor gave the Commissioners less than 90 minutes to prepare for, and communicate, our views on moving to the Green Phase.”

Higgins adds that the board “were concerned about our poll workers and an increased possibility of the election becoming a super spreader event if the County moved to the Green Phase before the Primary Election.”

WTAJ spoke with Centre County Republican Commissioner Steve Dursham. Commissioner Dursham says members of the state legislature say Centre County will be allowed to move into the Green Phase this Friday, May 29, despite initially wanting to stay in the Yellow Phase, as long as the Commissioners vote in favor of going Green.

The Commissioner’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26th at 10 am.

Local Reaction

Pipe and Higgins’ decision didn’t sit well with many locals.

“There’s no doubt we can go to the green phase,” said Khaled Saidi. “Ibviously if you’re older and have a compromised immune system I could see why you wouldn’t want to go green… but businesses are struggling out here… and people need to make money.”

He added:”There’s only so much unemployment and checks from the government… that only goes so far.”

“I think pushing it off would be the wrong move if we want to move forward in Centre County,” said Lorenzo Rappa.

Monday, a day after Pipe and Higgins’ Facebook announcements, Centre County Republicans gathered outside the county courthouse to show their displeasure with the Democratic Commissioner’s original decision.

“Life is still going on… and with the coronavirus I don’t think we should just end any progress we’ve made. Centre County’s been known to make good progress. I don’t think that progress should just stop,” Rappa said.

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