I was asked to participate in the League of Women Voters Candidate Questionnaire. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about and writing my responses, only to find out that there was a 500 character limit.
So, I am posting my full responses here for you to read and ask questions, if you have them.
What one issue is your top priority and why? What would you do to address it if you are elected?
Once elected, my top priority will be to restore
transparency in our local government while fostering open and honest
communication between residents, elected officials, government administration
and other stakeholders.
When I first became involved as a concerned constituent in Upper
Dublin, I found the relationship between elected officials and concerned
citizens to be quite hostile. I have witnessed
residents being berated and belittled in public meetings. I have seen elected officials tell residents,
on the record, that their concerns would not impact final decisions because
minds had already been made up. This is
not how we should govern. Elected
officials should always be ready to hear and respect constituent concerns, be
open to hearing other opinions and be willing to act on their behalf. I have often heard our elected officials use
the term “representative republic” as a mandate to do what they see fit,
despite the obvious concerns of constituents.
I had a history teacher who taught us a lesson that sticks with me to
this day. Representative government does
not exist only to enact the will of the majority, it also exists to protect the
rights of and address the concerns of the minority.
We need to employ a multifaceted approach to improve
communication while rebuilding trust with our constituents. The first step is
to always be available — Upper Dublin Township Officials need to embrace new
and alternative methods of communication. With the growing use of social media,
text and email, it is imperative that elected officials maintain a presence on
these platforms to connect with their constituents and the pulse of the
community. I will also work to ensure
that all Township meetings are shared regularly across multiple platforms and strive
to grow community participation in the processes of government. I plan to hold both regular, in-person and
virtual town hall meetings with constituents to discuss and address their
concerns real time. This real time
communication will also include continuing to use door-to-door canvassing and online
surveys. I will work with local media
outlets to ensure that important issues are being brought to the attention of
the residents of Upper Dublin, as well as providing all my constituents, not
just subscribers and registered voters, with updates by mail at least once per quarter. Lastly, I will also work with my fellow
Commissioners and the Township administration to start a Township wide
community news letter to provide regular updates on issues that affect all UD
concerns in our area over groundwater contamination, what will you do to
protect our water supplies and citizen’s health?
The Pennsylvania Constitution lists clean water and clean
air as guaranteed human rights. As an elected official who swears an oath to
that Constitution, it will be my responsibility to ensure that this right is
protected for all constituents and all residents who are affected by this
There is a very strong network of local activists who have
been at the forefront of this fight and deserve much of the credit for the
progress that has been made to date. I
will use this powerful resource to make sure that I am being kept abreast of
what my constituents concerns are and where we need to proceed to ensure that
they feel safe and secure with their water supplies. While many elected officials have stepped up
to help with this issue, it is the concern and hard work of the boots on the
ground that has made the true difference in this fight.
I will work with water service providers to ensure that
on-going testing is being performed and that the measures that have been put in
place to this point are effectively cleaning our water supplies. Often, we are told that the solution is in
place and everyone moves on to the next issue.
Regular maintenance of the new filtration systems and testing of our
water supplies going forward is imperative and adherence must be enforced.
Communication is also key in this case. I will ensure that all residents, especially
those with private wells are being warned of the need to test their water and
finding ways for them to do so, with as little cost as possible. We all have the right to know when our water
supplies may be contaminated, it should not matter if we get our water from a
public utility or from a well.
I will also work to ensure that neighboring municipalities,
who supply water to residents of Upper Dublin are taking the necessary steps to
provide clean drinking water. I will
work to develop partnerships between water service providers and find ways of
providing funding for filtering when service providers cannot.
Lastly, I will work with State and Federal officials to
ensure that the Federal Government begins to take responsibility for the
contamination that it has caused. I have
often questioned why it became the responsibility of the Commonwealth and Local
Government to incur the expense and responsibility for contamination that is
directly linked to the irresponsible actions of our Federal Government.