Wagner’s Chopper parody account ‘funny,’ but serious discussion needed, said Sen. Wagner’s office

What seemed like it might have been a short-lived parody of one state senator’s unique way of making a point in local media continues to grow in followers and topics.

Sen. Scott Wagner

Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township (File photo)

Tweeting live from the “Commonwealth’s Skies,” Twitter account Wagner’s Chopper seeks to provide “Guidance from above. Solving Pennsylvania’s budget problems… from 2,500 feet,” according to the bio.

As of about 5 p.m. today, the account had 173 followers and had tweeted 78 times.

The account was created in the wake of a May 27 ABC27 — WHTM-TV — report called “Senator: Pa. schools not underfunded” in which state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, chartered a helicopter and brought station reporter Dennis Owens with him on a bird’s eye view tour of some south central Pennsylvania high schools.

Soon thereafter, letter writers and interest groups were calling the move a “stunt,” and a “most out-of-touch way” to prove a point about school funding.

The first tweet came on June 6:

Soon many more tweets followed, many of which dealt with school funding:  

But the account quickly became a general parody of the senator, including a nudge against his East Manchester Township-based company, Penn Waste:  

And hits against observing anything from such a vantage point:

There was even a response to the York Daily Record’s own fact check on claims Wagner made about public sector versus private sector benefits:  

For his own part, Wagner — and his chief of staff, Jason High — gets the humor.

“It’s obviously funny. We have no idea who’s doing it but it is probably a member of one of the groups that have a vested interest in keeping things the same,” High said. “But as funny as it is we would prefer to have a serious conversation about where the money is being spent.”

A direct message to the account this afternoon for additional comment was not immediately returned, but this post will be updated should whoever is behind the account respond.

High said it’s important for viewers to understand that the helicopter tour was “not a gimmick” because the senator rides helicopters often and just invited Owens along for this ride. The view showed extensive and well maintained sports infrastructure and other larger expenditures.

“But we have schools complaining that they can’t afford pencils and paper then that’s a problem,” High said.

About Flint McColgan

I’m a journalist covering York County, Pa., government and politics. Reach me by email at fmccolgan@ydr.com or call me at (717) 487-0823.

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