HARRISBURG — A state lawmaker from western Pennsylvania has some harsh words for a Weather Channel meteorologist who supposedly insulted Punxsutawney Phil.
State Rep. Peter Daley, D-Fayette/Washington, wrote a letter to Stephanie Abrams, asking her to publicly apologize for remarks she made on air on Groundhog Day, calling Phil “just a rodent.”
Daley called her statements “unprofessional” and “demeaning.” Daley said, “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 is just another football team.”
“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.”
His letter reads in part, “I was offended by your on-air comments describing the groundhog as a ‘rodent.’ Your negativity was appalling and demonstrated your ignorance toward this popular American tradition, the people of Pennsylvania, and the loyal viewers of the Weather Channel.”
Daley added that he hopes he can muster some bipartisan support around Phil and use that to make progress on Pennsylvania’s state budget, which is seven months overdue.