Senator Tom Killion called comments made by Representative Danielle Friel Otten comparing local pipeline workers to Nazis as “disgusting and completely unacceptable.”
After workers were recently in her neighborhood for construction on the Mariner East Pipeline project, Friel Otten posted on her Twitter account, “The nazis were just doing their jobs too.”
Friel Otten’s Twitter post occurred on the same weekend as the Chavad of Poway Synagogue shooting in California that left one person dead and at least three injured.
Killion said Friel Otten’s comments were beyond the pale.
“Comparing local workers to Nazis is absolutely disgusting and completely unacceptable,” said Killion. “Not only is Representative Friel Otten insulting local workers, but her comments serve to belittle the six million Jewish lives ended by Nazis during the Holocaust,” he added.
Killion said, “I grew up in a working class family. My father was a member of the building trades. These workers are part of the fabric of our communities. They go to our churches and coach our children in Little League. Calling them Nazis is beyond reprehensible.”
Killion pointed out that while this kind of rhetoric is common at the national level these days, it has no place at the local level.
“It’s really sad to see this kind of angry, over-the-top language used locally. It needs to stop now,” Killion said.
Killion offered to host a meeting with local Jewish leaders, workers and Representative Friel Otten in an attempt to mend relationships. “She needs to apologize. I hope we call all come together and eventually move beyond this horrible incident,” Killion said.
Killion, who has been a staunch supporter of pipeline safety in our area, is the only state legislator to join a citizen complaint filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to force tough new safety requirements on the Mariner East Pipeline. He is also sponsoring thirteen pieces of legislation calling for additional oversight and safety on Pennsylvania’s vast network of pipelines.