SENECA – State Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) is inviting people to visit his website at RepJames.com
and sign a petition opposing a plan recently outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to close Polk State Center.
“If people are looking for a constructive way to make a difference in this fight, I encourage them to visit RepJames.com
and sign the petition,” James said. “We want to show DHS our community stands behind the people at Polk State Center.”
Polk State Center currently serves nearly 200 residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities at its 2,000-acre campus.
DHS on Aug. 14 announced plans to close Polk State Center in a process expected to take approximately three years.
James is collecting the petition signatures to show DHS the community supports Polk State Center and the people who benefit from the variety of programs and services offered at the facility.
In addition to the plight of the Polk State Center residents and their families, the petition also highlights the obvious negative effect this decision would have on the facility’s workers.
The petition also notes the negative consequences that could affect taxpayers and the local economy.
“Polk State Center is a landmark in our community,” James said. “The ripple effects that would be caused by closing this facility would unleash pain and suffering for people throughout our region.”
The petition points to a broad coalition of people who are joining together to oppose the plan to close Polk State Center. The coalition includes facility residents and their family members; Polk State Center employees; local unions; business organizations; elected officials at the municipal, county and state level; and other various members of the local community.
“We have Republicans and Democrats working together as well as businesspeople and union members,” James said. “People are putting aside their differences and focusing on the shared goal of saving Polk State Center.”
In addition to asking people to sign the petition, James also is asking them to help spread the word through social media.
“We’re asking people to tell their friends and followers about the petition at RepJames.com
and share the link and talk about the effort on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms,” James said.
This isn’t the first time James has used a community petition to oppose a state government proposal. In March 2018, James launched a website petition opposing a plan unveiled by PennDOT to reduce from four lanes to two a stretch of Route 8 from Franklin to Barkeyville. Following public outcry and the successful petition drive, PennDOT later abandoned the proposal in favor of one that would maintain the four-lane stretch of Route 8.
“I want to help give our community a loud, focused voice through the use of this petition,” James said. “The petition process worked in the past and we’re hoping it will be successful again in this fight for the future of Polk State Center.”
More information about James is available on his website at RepJames.com
or by following him on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepLeeJames
Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing