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Choice in Our Elections

Sep 16, 2022

Why I'm running - Letter to the Swarthmorean

Due to Supreme Court rulings, our Pennsylvania legislature matters more than ever: for our elections, access to abortion, gun rules and our public schools.

Yet at the same time, we’ve never had less choice in the candidates.

Did you know: Not once in the last 30 years have Swarthmoreans had a choice in the primaries for state house representative. Party leaders have regularly picked one candidate and cleared the field before going to their voters.

And it’s not just our borough. Across Delaware County since 2000, 94% of state house primary “contests” were uncontested.

Party leaders choose a single candidate for the primaries because it’s easier for them, but literally useless for voters. At this crucial time, ordinary voters haven’t yet had a choice.

But this November there will be choice. In addition to the one primary candidate from each party, I will be on the ballot as an independent.

I will be on the ballot because more than 400 voters signed a petition to put me there.

These were voters, not party leaders, and they added me because they believe our party-driven politics are broken. They want to choose their candidates, not have the candidates chosen for them.

While collecting signatures, I met diverse, inspiring and reasonable voters open to political discussion, not the hyper-partisans that dominate the news. They were registered Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They were celebrating grandchildren or starting families with careers as teachers, nurses, lawyers, police, physicians, contractors, and more. They want a functioning country and an end to government controlled by party bosses with an eye only on the next election.

Like the voters I met, my opinions are middle-of-the-road. Our elections must be free and fair, overseen by non-partisan professionals. We shouldn’t arm teachers or give teens access to assault weapons and gun laws should recognize the differences between packed cities and stadiums and forests.

Our schools should be about the miracle of teaching and learning in the classroom. We need to hire great teachers and support them by removing bureaucracy and ambiguous rules.

On abortion, Pennsylvanians had for decades a thoughtful, balanced law protecting access to an abortion until viability. Until this year, our “Casey” standard was the law of the land and I’ll fight to keep it.

None of that is controversial. But beyond hot-button issues, I stand for independence. My loyalty is not to a party or big donors. My loyalty is to my community, fellow volunteers in the Boy Scouts and the Citizens Corp, my wife and two teenage children and my sense of right and wrong.

That matters. Party leaders benefit from creating controversy and winning elections, not by solving problems. That has meant ignoring our region’s needs: an impending crisis in emergency services, a lack of transparency on water and air quality problems, an incredibly wasteful system for collecting some of our school taxes, and other issues.

Please visit my Facebook page and join the discussion to help return choice to our elections.

Bill Foster

Independent Candidate for PA House District 165

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