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Business or politics?

The days of Lehigh County doing business with Wells Fargo could be numbered.

An ordinance adopted July 13 examines the county’s relationships with companies that advocate strong political stances.

Initial concerns were raised at the beginning of the meeting by Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley, who said the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade had affected him as a father and as a citizen.

That led Pinsley to look at who the county conducts business with, as well as which political issues these companies may have taken a strong stand for or against, an issue such as Roe v. Wade or fossil fuels, as examples. He went on to question the county’s nearly four-decade association with Wells Fargo, known for taking strong political stands.

A debate among commissioners commenced regarding the dangers of mixing politics and business, and took up the majority of the evening; some said a company open about its politics must be reviewed, others that government should not change its business relationships due to politics.

The evening’s other big discussion focused on the creation of a health bureau. Mental health, specifically with youth and the effects of pandemic-related issues such as online isolation, was front and center in the discussion of the benefits a health bureau would bring to the county.

Commissioner Zach Cole-Borghi made a passionate plea in support of the creation of a health bureau, saying, “It’s worth it if it saves a life.” The resolution passed 6-3.