Rep. Kenyatta pens letter to Gov. Wolf urging relief for essential workers in Pa.

The Honorable Tom Wolf

Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Office of the Governor

508 Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120


Dear Governor Wolf:

 I stand with the citizens of this Commonwealth in gratitude for the leadership you have demonstrated in providing assistance to workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic disaster emergency. Your swift action has allayed the fears of many by providing for non-essential businesses and the workers they employ left without income, sacrificing their livelihoods for the safety of all Pennsylvanians.

 Yet, while non-essential businesses are shuttered, our essential workers continue to guarantee our citizens have food, medicine, gas and other essentials vital at this difficult time. I feel strongly that we need to provide for these workers, toiling daily at great risk to their own safety to keep our grocery stores stocked, our cars running, and our pharmacies staffed. 

 Recently, Minnesota and Vermont became the first states to protect and provide for workers deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz classified “food distribution workers” (which includes grocery store employees) as “emergency personnel.” Vermont’s Department of Public Safety Commissioner added grocery store workers to the department’s list of “essential persons.” These classifications grant essential workers access to the same benefits afforded first responders and healthcare workers.

 I feel direct action is needed because these workers are especially stressed, exposed to the public on a daily basis in a time when the balance of our citizens are safely quarantined at home. Providing crucial services, these workers sacrifice each day to keep our Commonwealth running. We cannot allow them to feel forgotten.

 Granting relief and assistance to these workers acts to ease their burden, so they can feel secure knowing they are provided for and protected as they leave their homes and families to go to work each day. Essential workers have voiced a need for the following services:

  •  Priority childcare.
  • Better access to COVID-19 testing and personal protection equipment.
  • Hazard pay. 
  • Expanded paid leave or other forms of adequate compensation, and benefits including health insurance.
  • Recognition/classification as essential employees/emergency workers (on level with first responders).

 I look forward to working with you to aid these hardworking Pennsylvanians. Affording additional security for essential workers helps them provide for their families while remaining healthy as they work to support their communities. This is the best outcome not only for these workers and their families, but for the Commonwealth as a whole.

 I thank you for your kind consideration, and I stand with you in accomplish this goal. I am available to discuss the matter further, at your convenience.




Malcolm Kenyatta

State Representative

181st Legislative District