I've voted for Doug Reichley the past few elections including last time when he ran against Patrick Slattery. At the time I already had met Pat and genuinely liked the guy, but Reichley was a machine. I've always been impressed with the way he could remember names and faces. He was always very friendly the couple times I had a chance to meet him and I believe he was a great advocate for the community for a long time. For these reasons he always got my vote.
The upcoming special election for the 134th State House District is a big one. Who will replace the guy who held the seat for a decade? I am a Republican, but I very much employ a 'vote for the best candidate philosophy, regardless of affiliation.' I also trust my gut.
As mentioned above in regards to Reichley, when deciding who to vote for there are a couple characteristics I lean on heavily in local elections.
In local elections it's all about electing good people vs. party lines. My two primary attributes for defining a 'good candidate' in a local election are: 1. Honest ties to the community and 2. Intent.
After evaluating the two candidates my gut tells me to steer clear of Ryan MacKenzie. Here's why:
First I'm very disappointed the Republican Committee nominated the candidate with the least amount of ties to our community. At least two other candidates were better choices with real ties to and investment in our community.
Mackenzie has lived in Washington DC or Harrisburg the past 6 years. He is (though it's being challenged I believe) only eligible to run for office in the district because he's been using his parents address to maintain residency and has voted absentee in 10 of the last 11 elections. Huge red flags.
Secondly, I avoid "establishment candidates" who represent status quo. Status quo has put us where we are both locally and federally for far too long.
Next you have to ask about a candidate's motivation.
A candidate who worked in DC or Harrisburg for the past 6+ years and is supported by the establishment over better qualified local candidates, begs the question. Is this just a stepping stone? Is MacKenzie running because he gives a hoot about the community or does he have bigger political ambitions and this is the seat that happens to be open?
Slattery is extremely active in our community. When Mackenzie was off in DC/Harrisburg, Pat was here coaching at LMYA and serving on the Township Environmental Advisory Council. He has lent his voice fighting and going to bat for the Little Lehigh and on behalf of local residents united against the Jaindl development. He also helped a bunch of local people run for office (6 Republicans, 5 Democrats and 1 Independent). This clearly shows that he cares about our community and not party politics.
As per the issues, I do not want to short-change their importance, especially the broad reform topics PA MUST begin addressing.
Take the recent reform of unemployment (UC) compensation, for example. This is something I have long been on my soapbox about. Senate bill 1030 was passed nearly unanimously in a bi-partisan effort through both parties. An essential part of this bill is requiring people receiving benefits to show they are actively looking for work. On this important issue both parties get it (sometimes). On the big issues there is more agreement then disagreement. I'm tired of party line politics and talking points polarization. We need solutions! We need people who care, are invested and who are in it for the right reasons.
Due to a combination of my disappointment with the Republican nominating process, Slattery's ties to our community and a trust that he has what it takes to honestly tackle the difficult issues facing the commonwealth, Pat Slattery is getting my vote on April 24.