Allentown has been in the news lately and while there is much speculation as to what the end result may be, the investigations going on here are a symptom of a much bigger problem. We need more voters to be engaged in elections at all levels and to vote every November.
In the last election only 37% of voters in Lehigh County turned out to vote. When so few participate, it has disastrous effects on how government functions at all levels. Pennsylvania and Lehigh County elected Tom Wolf as our New Democratic Governor and ousted an incumbent for the first time in our commonwealth’s history. While that was a great achievement, we failed to change our Legislature to ensure that the governor would succeed in making the changes that we as voters demanded.
Here in the Lehigh Valley we have too many far right Republicans who refuse to work with the Governor in the best interests of their constituents. That is the reason for the stalemate with the state budget. While we all agreed that education funding is our top priority, more so here in Lehigh County where our local Allentown School District is the 3rd in underfunding in the entire nation, we failed to elect legislators that will fight to see that change.
This year we are electing our local school board members. We need school board representatives who will advocate for our children and the hard working teachers who help them. Also up for election this year are the at-large seats for the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners. They will determine the future of Cedarbrook, our county’s nursing home. One of the Republican candidates up for election this year was openly for privatization when he ran in 2011. Vic Mazzioti stated, “Two thirds of the counties in Pennsylvania do not operate a county nursing home. There is no need for a “poor house” today since most nursing homes will accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.” That is not acceptable to most of Lehigh County’s seniors who have worked hard all their lives and invested their tax dollars to make sure that there would be a facility available if they ever need it.
Additionally, this year we have the opportunity to elect three Democratic Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices. Kevin Dougherty, Christine Donohue and David Wecht, if elected, will be responsible for determining a fair electoral map when we redraw the lines for our legislative districts in 2020.
This year’s election will have long lasting effects on our county, and we need the Democrats in Lehigh County to stay engaged despite all the negative news coming out of our area. The only way we can truly make sure that we have government that represents the interest of the people is for the people to vote for the candidates that represent their values. This year we are asking voters to vote straight Democrat to ensure we have elected officials who care about the people of Lehigh County.