Legislator: TV meteorologist should apologize to Punxsutawney Phil

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HARRISBURG, PA – State Rep. Peter J. Daley II (D-Fayette/Washington) is upset with Weather Channel Meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, for what he says were disparaging remarks about Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day.

“Pennsylvania’s seven-month budget impasse, its underfunded public schools and even its unique weather — it can be under a flood and drought watch simultaneously – are fair game for derision,” Daley said. “However, disparaging Punxsutawney Phil – a legendary weather prognosticator for 130 years – on Groundhog Day is unacceptable and uncouth.”

In a letter to Abrams, Daley said he was offended by her condescending remarks on Feb. 2 questioning Punxsutawney Phil’s credentials, including her retort, “You know it’s just a rodent.”

“Phil is ‘just a rodent’ as much as the Grand Canyon is just a ditch, the pierogi is just a snack and the Pittsburgh Steelers just another football team,” said Daley, a lifelong Pennsylvanian who recently announced he is not seeking re-election after 17 terms in the state House. “Abrams’ remarks were demeaning to the hardworking people who organize the holiday and the community that hosts the event.”

Daley said he hopes he can rally bipartisan support around Punxsutawney Phil and use the goodwill to foster progress on a state budget – both for the current fiscal year and the next – and other issues bedeviling the commonwealth.

“Pennsylvania takes its time-honored traditions seriously,” said Daley, who questioned why Abrams, who grew up in South Florida and is a University of Florida graduate, would lash out at the world’s most famous woodchuck. “You don’t diss Phil without risking payback about the societal value of Florida alligators, whose claim to fame seemingly is making poodles disappear.”