HARRISBURG – When eight teenagers from Council Rock School District contacted Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) about crafting legislation to designate Hershey’s Kisses as Pennsylvania’s state candy, Mehaffie jumped at the opportunity to build on their enthusiasm and get the bill introduced.
House Bill 2150 would add Hershey’s Kisses to the list of state symbols, which includes mountain laurel as the state flower, white-tailed deer as the state animal, and, as of 2019, the Eastern hellbender as the state amphibian.
A class at Newtown Middle School started the project to seek designation for Hershey’s Kisses while learning about civics. Those students are now high-schoolers, but they have continued to advocate for the project and created thekiss4pa.org to promote it.
“I’m so impressed by these young people who have poured their talents and time into getting Hershey’s Kisses the recognition they deserve. I have to admit that this is something that should have been done years ago, as the Hershey area is a tourism hub and major manufacturer of chocolate. The Hershey Co. produces 70 million Kisses each day, and many in our region celebrate New Year’s Eve with a 300-pound Kiss featured on the square in Hershey,” said Mehaffie, who represents the 106th District, which includes Derry Township, more colloquially known as Hershey.
Emily Kennedy is president of the Hershey Kiss Committee. She is excited about seeing the idea come to life because she never imagined how much it would impact her.
“I can't even begin to explain what this means to me and to us as a group. This isn't just about making an iconic candy the state candy of Pennsylvania but learning about how it can get to that point. We have been able to create a community within our own community and learn as a whole about this legislative process. Honestly, that is more than I could have ever asked for out of this one-time learning opportunity and with this amazing group of girls and advisors,” she said.
As vice president of the committee, Kaitlyn Landers shared her pride in how the process has enfolded.
“I am so proud to be part of this team for our perseverance over the last year and hope this project will inspire others to get more involved in their community,” she said.
“We not only want to educate ourselves of the legislative process, but also our peers and community. We hope to inspire students to make change – for students tend to think only adults are able to voice their beliefs in society,” said Elaine Liaw, treasurer and archivist.
The committee encourages Pennsylvanians to show their love of chocolate by using the hashtag #TheKiss4PA on social media.
House Bill 2150 was referred to the House State Government Committee for its consideration. Mehaffie encourages swift review of the measure.
Representative Tom Mehaffie
106th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch