In 2002, I returned home from Cross-Country practice one day to my dorm at Moravian College and saw a flier on the door of my building offering internships with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign for Ed Rendell for Governor and Ed O’Brien for Congress in Allentown. I called the number, and here I am 16 years later still in politics. A few Presidential, Senate, Gubernatorial, and Congressional races later, I can’t help but think the business of politics is important- peoples lives are changed for the better or worse because of who wins our elections, and what those people do with power. This stuff really matters. I think that more decent, honest people on both sides of the aisle should involve themselves in our politics. I think the rule of “don’t discuss politics and religion” is actually a really crappy thing we do in our society.
On Saturday in Harrisburg, we held the 12th and final meeting of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee for my first term. In 2014, I was elected to represent Northampton County as one of three male slots. I didn’t campaign overly hard in 2014, I was out of state working on Election Day, and I only had a few more signatures to qualify for the ballot than I needed. Never the less, I did win, and I did serve, and I’m glad I did. I met amazing activists and leaders from all over Pennsylvania, people I never would have met otherwise. I made friends from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, rural counties, of every race, gender, and religion, and of all ages. I was one of the youngest people to actually serve as an elected member of the committee. I think the experience soberly aged my perspective on politics.
I think I did a pretty good job, and so I’m running for a second term. Whether we measure my record on attendance, on who I endorsed, on my votes for the policy resolutions that moved the party, administrative votes, or how I helped our statewide and local candidates during this last term, I think my performance should make the cut. Among the highlights:
- I supported a diverse lot of candidates, particularly when measured against Pennsylvania’s history. I voted to endorse Dwayne Woodruff, Maria McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols, Debbie Kunselman, and Ellen Ceisler for statewide judicial offices in 2017. I supported Anne Lazarus and Alice Beck Dubow for statewide judicial offices in 2015. This was a radical departure for Pennsylvania, even among Democrats. During this term, Pennsylvania Democrats both endorsed their first African-American candidates for state judgeships, and elected our first African-American woman to the elected leadership of the committee. No one deserves a pat on the back for doing that in 2018, but it’s worth noting.
- I obviously voted for some of the front-runners to be endorsed, like Senator Casey and Governor Wolf this past weekend, but I wasn’t afraid to vote for some long shots either. I voted for John Fetterman to be our endorsed candidate for the Senate race in 2016 on the first ballot. I voted for Judge Ceisler to be our endorsed candidate for the Commonwealth Court in 2017, when I was just one of two people in the entire Northeast Caucus to do so (Out of like 40 members. Also, as an aside- she won.). I supported very progressive candidates, and more moderate ones, depending on what I think fit the race best for us at the time. I’m proud of the thought I put into it.
- I didn’t miss a meeting. I did have to give my proxy to a Northampton County Councilman for the second day of the Fall 2017 meeting, due to a family funeral. Even in that case though, I was there the first day and actively taking part.
- In conjunction with the State’s Young Democrats, I started the Lehigh Valley Young Democrats during this term.
- I voted for the policy resolutions that came up during this term to move the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to a more progressive place. For instance, I supported a resolution supporting single-payer health care. Obviously I take a more nuanced position than many others on health care, but I think our party should speak up in support of our values.
- I made it a point to reach out to our statewide candidates and lobby them to visit Northampton County and the Lehigh Valley to campaign here. I promoted our endorsed candidates and personally set up visits to the area for many of our candidates over the past few years. It is an important, and often times over-looked part of our job on the committee, to promote our state candidates back home, where they are often unknown.
- I also made it a point to help our candidates back home, in a capacity beyond my political consulting business, volunteering my time and expertise to our Northampton County candidates in their races.
With all of that said, today is the beginning of the petition period for the May 15th, 2018 Primary that will elect the new Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. If you are a registered Democrat in Northampton County, PA, you can sign my petition to appear on the ballot. You can also vote for me on May 15th. If you have any questions, comment here or shoot me an email, and I will try to answer them. I hope I can earn your vote for another term.