PA Lawmakers, Advocates Hold Ceremony Commemorating January 6 Attack
HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - To mark the two-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, remembrance ceremonies and vigils were held today across the country. In Harrisburg, dozens of Democratic lawmakers and advocates gathered outside the Pennsylvania Capitol to condemn far-right extremism and false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
“January 6, 2021 was another day that will live in infamy in American history,” said Rick Coplen, a former Democratic Congressional candidate for PA-10.
“It's important that you remember where you were when people armed with weapons and armed with lies showed up to hang the Vice President, showed up to try to find Nancy Pelosi, to do God knows what with a bag of zip ties and other instruments,” said State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia).
Speakers also called out the House Freedom Caucuses in both Harrisburg and Washington.
"We will not tolerate this extremism, this MAGA extremism and the fascism coming out of the Freedom Caucus - if that's Scott Perry’s Freedom Caucus or if that's the Freedom Caucus here in Harrisburg,” said Kadida Kenner, CEO of the New Pennsylvania Project.
The Pennsylvania House and U.S. House Freedom Caucuses pledge to stand firm on conservative principles, refusing to compromise their commitment to the Constitution.
“These are folks that believe in the Constitution, take an oath for a reason and want to abide by it,” said Republican Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10) when he joined state lawmakers in Harrisburg for the announcement of the Pennsylvania Freedom Caucus in November. “The Freedom Caucus has a mission statement: We stand for the millions of Americans who feel that government, state capitols, federal capitols have left them behind and they don't have a voice,” Perry added.
The impact of January 6 certainly left its mark on Washington, but also on state capitols across the country, including Pennsylvania’s.
“Well, it was definitely something that we did pay attention to and we took very seriously, given the situation that occurred at the U.S. Capitol,” said Troy Thompson, Press Secretary for the Department of General Services (DGS).
Thompson says after January 6, Pennsylvania Capitol Police didn't hesitate to ramp up security.
“We did do something to increase the visibility of our Capitol Police in terms of having members of our strategic response team come in and do patrols in their equipment, in their uniform. And we also increased our number of car patrols, foot patrols,” said Thompson. “One of the things that was a purchase directly related to the January 6 situation, was the purchase of some water barricades. Previously, Capitol Police only had wooden sawhorses at their disposal,” Thompson added.
Thompson says those changes, and others, like security screening for anyone who enters the State Capitol without an ID badge, are here to stay.
"Those things are basically now our foundation that we'll build off of,” said Thompson, adding that the Capitol Complex is probably the safest place in Harrisburg, even during uncertain times.
“And that is primarily due to the ability and professionalism and capability of our Capitol Police force,” said Thompson.