A Primary With Choices, and a Choice to Make

Chair’s Column

By Charlotte Hummel

Recently I had the privilege of working with 9th grade student leaders and faculty advisors from Penn Wood High School to begin a voter registration drive. Over 300 Penn Wood students would be eligible to register to vote in the coming primary election. As fellow students explained the importance of young people voting, the excitement and commitment was both evident and energizing. Explaining the difference between a primary and general election was a bit more complex, but in this, we can all use a refresher course.

In Pennsylvania, the primary election (this year on May 15) is held so that each political party (Democrats and Republicans) can pick the candidate that they want to represent them in the Fall election. The General Election in the Fall is where the candidate of each party faces off against the others to win the stated office.

All too often, voters in the primary are faced with very limited or no choice. They vote for their party’s candidate and that’s it. Sometimes, like this year, there are a number of candidates running within each party and there IS a choice for whom to vote.

Among the Democratic candidates with no challengers in the primary in Lansdowne are Robert Casey for PA US Senator, Tom Wolf for PA Governor, Anthony Williams for State Senator and Margo Davidson for State Representative. Lansdowne Democrats endorse all of these candidates and encourage you to vote for them. Also on the ballot, and uncontested, you will find the names of your neighbors who are running to serve on the Lansdowne Democratic Committee. Please cast your vote for them also! They will likely be standing at the polling place to greet you on May 15th.

In two other races – US Congress 5th District PA and Lt. Governor, there are multiple candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. They are all fine folks who have stepped up to serve. However, the Lansdowne Democratic Committee, in its role as the local political party, and with the responsibility for vetting candidates that would best serve the interests of Lansdowne, has endorsed a candidate in each race. We urge you to come out to vote for these candidates.

The Lansdowne Democratic Committee endorses Nina Ahmad for Lieutenant Governor, and Mary Gay Scanlon for the newly redrawn 5th Congressional District of PA

For Lt. Governor, the Lansdowne Democratic Committee endorses Nina Ahmad. As the article in this edition states: “Dr. Ahmad is a scientist, first generation immigrant, and activist who has served in the Office of the Mayor of Philadelphia’s and as president of Philadelphia NOW. A progressive and feminist Democrat, she has served as one of the few women of color in the Pennsylvania government and on the board of the Philadelphia Foundation.” For other reasons to vote for Dr. Ahmad, please read the article and visit her website.

For the new 5th Congressional District for the US House of Representatives, we strongly endorse Mary Gay Scanlon. Ms. Scanlon has worked tirelessly throughout her career for the rights of children, women, the impoverished, the incarcerated and the disenfranchised. As a member of a major law firm, she has headed up the pro bono division where she has recruited, trained, organized and assigned talented and experienced lawyers to handle cases for those who cannot afford to hire their own lawyer She has worked for equity in education, women’s pay equity, rights of the incarcerated and the rights of immigrants. She served two terms on the Wallingford/Swarthmore public school board as both president and vice-president. Given the current administration in the White House, we take seriously the view of former Governor Ed Rendell, who has called Mary Gay Scanlon “Trump’s Worst Nightmare.” I like to think of her as our own Elizabeth Warren. Please read the article about her, visit her website and give her your vote.

I encourage you to learn about all the candidates for office including those who will represent Democrats at the State party level. We are endorsing our own Michael Schleigh, who is running for a seat on the State Committee. He hopes to be one of 11 who will win a seat. Please look for his name on the ballot.

Finally, I think it is important to remember those who serve inside the polling places on election day. The folks who serve to greet you, look for your name on the rolls, have you sign in, and help you to the voting booth are the backbone of our democracy. They earn a small stipend for the work they do, but it is nowhere near the value of the 13+ hour day they dedicate to serving the community, their state and their country. Please remember to thank them after you cast your vote!