This post is paid advertising by Bring People Together.
As a candidate for the 48th Senate District, Ed Krebs has a lot of issues that he believes should be addressed by the Senate, the House and the Governor. His list is long because of his years of experience and observations.
Which of these are important to you as well?
Fair Reapportionment must get done this year to be ready for candidates to run in the 2022 Primary. Democracy requires effective representation. “Drawing the lines” for House and Senate Districts and for Congressional representation must be transparent and include public participation. The Senate refused to support a constitutional amendment to create a Non Partisan Reapportionment Commission. The next best alternative, SB 222, should be enacted immediately in order not to allow incumbent and political party protection to be the purpose of “drawing the lines” for another 10 years.
Solve long delayed problems: A Senator’s job today is to be engaged in solving the problems that Pennsylvanians know are ignored until crises arise. Kick the can down the road happens from one session to another. The list of delayed actions includes ending the structural budget deficit and the underfunded pensions; determining how best to fund comprehensive transportation and public education.
Voting by mail is much more convenient for many citizens. It must not be taken away. Signature verification does work. Voting in person should also be convenient and available on more than one day. Our democracy depends on significant voter turnout whether in the City of Philadelphia or Heidelberg Township.
Open Primaries: Primary elections should be Open for the hundreds of thousands of registered Independents. Many, including myself, feel that moderates of both major parties don’t have a place to call their political “home” so they register as Independents. Electing school board members should not require Party membership.
Term limits or part time legislature: Making tough votes for the right reasons doesn’t come easily for many legislators because they don’t want to risk losing their rewarding office. Term limits will end these legislators’ personal interests in only making “safe” votes. A part time legislature will assure that members will be more keenly listening to citizenry “back home” and not adhering to the Caucus Leadership’s expectations. There needs to be a serious study as to whether either term limits or a part time legislature will improve Pennsylvania’s policymaking and governance.
Merit selection of judges: There should be some form of merit selection. The present system of electing state court judges is worrisome because the elected candidates will find themselves trying cases brought by attorneys who gave them significant campaign contributions. A merit selection eliminates the need for candidates to raise large amounts of money in order to advertise and promote their candidacy. Qualified individuals will be more likely to apply for a judgeship if they don’t have to go through the many months of campaigning across the state. The voters will ultimately have an opportunity to decide if appointed judges should continue to serve after they have established a judicial record. Two thirds of the states and the District of Columbia select some or all of their judges under a merit system.
Constitutional Convention: Amending the PA Constitution by balloting should be rare and not held during Primary Elections when fewer citizens participate. The existing amendment process is too prone to political manipulation and presently is being used to pump up more polarization. A Constitutional Convention is needed to update and reflect changing circumstances. As an example, in order to have a graduated income tax, the Constitution must be amended.
Bringing People Together to improve Pennsylvania’s governance and policymaking can let us be an impressive “keystone” state in the United States.