How to Shake Down an Entire State
by Anne Dicker, Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 09:07:30 AM EDT
In Pennsylvania, politicians are salivating over the possibility of opening slot parlors. For the state legislature, it means possibly balancing the budget without having to make tough choices. For my District - which has been chosen to house one or even two of the casinos - it means complete altering the character of unique neighborhoods, increased traffic and crime, and disrupting communities that have existed since the formation of the country.
Politicians in Harrisburg refuse to listen to the neighbors' concerns. The state's Gaming Commission time and time again stifled efforts to get true neighborhood input and has rejected the call from neighbors for studies of the casinos' impact on the community.
My opponents, the owner of a window company and a real estate developer, are both telling the community that casinos are coming no matter what. Neither of them bothered to show up at Gaming Commission Hearing to hear the concerns of District residents. Neither has canvassed District and spoken directly to the voters. Instead, my opponents are content to have the support of the City's party machine.
If citizens want their government to respond to their concerns, they need to elect people who are willing to listen. In my District, I am the only candidate listening to neighbors, utilizing the power of volunteers and direct democracy rather than fundraisers and party endorsements.
Running for office without the party machine poses unique challenges. To win an election without organized labor or committee members, a candidate needs to devote thousands of hours efficiently spreading the message directly to the voters. In my case, I have been fortunate to have the support of hundreds of volunteers who have contributed their time going door-to-door to educate voters and bring them into the process.
After a month of campaigning, my volunteers and I will have met twice as many people as usually vote in the primary. On May 16, my opponents have the support of the party machine, but I will have support of the voters.
After all of our hard work, our reward will be that we will go to Harrisburg without owing favors to anyone. I will make decisions shaped only by my principals and by the needs of the people of my District.
If you'd like to help take on the party machine and help bring the political power back to the people, e-mail Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Democrat for State Representative in PA