by Jim Willshier, ABC Keystone, Director of Government Affairs
2023: A Quietly Important Election Year
There is an important election in Pennsylvania coming in May. On May 16, Pennsylvania will have its Primary Elections for municipal offices throughout the Commonwealth, leading to an important General Election in the fall. While this may not get as much hot attention as electing a president or a potential special election for a state House of Representatives seat that could tip the widely known narrow majority in that chamber, it’s crucial.
For starters, municipal elections include all of your local government officials – county commissioners, mayors, school board members, judges, and maybe even dog catchers if that is still a thing in your area. The key is to think about the breadth of how many of those offices can affect your daily personal life and work life. There is rightfully national attention on a president and the impact that office can have on every global citizen and everyone in the U.S. However, isn’t the local public official more likely to have more direct decision-making on you? And don’t you have a better chance to contact them directly when something is critical? They are the ones to decide whether that signage in front of the business park is allowed or its size limitations. They’re the ones that can choose on street parking in front of your home (I can say that from personal experience). They are the judges that might sign off on a legal document or make a ruling that can have repercussions for years.
So, who is running for those offices this May in your area? If not, there’s a month to learn who is running and what they stand for, with potential opportunities to talk with them. ABC encourages you to do this as a civic duty because knowing the individuals willing to take responsibility to serve you as a constituent is helpful.
If you’re skeptical about all of that still, then keep one other thing in mind: not every elected official stays in that elected seat. Many of those running for office this year will have the ambition of running for another office in the future. Some state legislators even leave Harrisburg in pursuit of wearing a black robe if not going to Washington, D.C. Even our current Governor, Josh Shapiro, ran for state representative, county commissioner, and Attorney General before being elected governor.
If you don’t know who you might be voting for, check in with your county Board of Elections for the candidate names, or the Pennsylvania Department of State can give you the “unofficial” list of candidates. After doing all that, if you haven’t registered to vote, make sure to do that before the deadline on May 1!
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Posted May 9, 2023