State Rep. Haggerty's absence 'unexcused' for third straight day; colleague reacts
NANTICOKE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF-TV) —
For the third day in a row, Democratic State Representative Kevin Haggerty's absence on the floor has been marked unexcused.
He's missed than 200 votes over the past several months.
One of his colleagues says Haggerty's actions are preventing them from passing legislation.
On Tuesday night, House Democrats needed 101 votes to pass a severance tax on Marcellus Shale extraction.
But they only got one hundred.
On Wednesday night, State Representative Gerald Mullery says had Haggerty been there, his vote would have made all the difference.
"His history has been that he supports a Marcellus Shale severance tax. So, last night his absence not only affect folks in the 112th District in Lackawanna County, it affected people in all four corners of the state,” Mullery said.
Mullery says his colleague, State Rep. Kevin Haggerty, hasn't been on the state floor in nearly six months.
"By failing to show up and by having chronic absenteeism on the house floor, you are failing to be a voice for the 60-thousand people that you represent in your district and, in essence, in excess of 12 million people across the state,” Mullery added.
His absence doesn't sit well with Eynon resident Ernest Lemoncelli.
He ran against and lost to Haggerty during last year's election on the Republican ticket.
"I feel betrayed. He wanted the job, said he was going to do the job, and then he just doesn't. So, our interests here are going nowhere. We have no representation and that's not what we signed up for. That's not what he signed up for,” Lemoncelli said.
Haggerty claims he needs to be in the district for his two young children while he deals with a divorce.
And until now his absences have been excused.
But on Monday, members of the Northeast delegation decided to object his absence during roll call.
They did it again yesterday.
And then again today: the last scheduled session of the year.
"When we return in January, if he continues to remain absent, it's my understanding that fellow members from the northeast will continue to object,” Mullery explained.
If he misses the next two days, he could be found in contempt.
Lemoncelli feels disappointed it took Democrats this long to take action.
"The fact that he was taking the paycheck but just not showing up, not representing us, didn't seem to stoke any fires there. But when that vote went bad, now it's important,” Lemoncelli said.
It's still unclear what will happen if Haggerty is found in contempt.
Mullery believes he may face sanctions or be removed from committees.
We reached out to both of Haggerty's offices.
However, Haggerty is nowhere to be found.