Friends recently asked me to run for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, for the 160th District. This was a total surprise to me, since my political involvement to date has been as a campaign volunteer, and of course, talking about politics with friends. My first thought was that I was flattered that they thought of me, and that I would need to think about it. However, the biggest issue ahead has been that there is only about a week to collect the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot.
I took a little over a day to think about it, and weigh the pros and cons. On one hand, politics is now a game that’s more brutal than ever before. On the other hand, as a good friend said to me, if we discourage people who are thoughtful and bright from running for office, we’ll get a government made up of people less concerned about the people they govern, and more concerned about the game itself. That’s not the kind of State or Federal government any of us really want or deserve.
Sometimes you don’t always get asked to do thing when you are ready for it. Sometimes you’re asked to do things that place you outside your comfort zone. While I’m always encouraging people to “Go For it!” and live their dreams, it doesn’t mean taking bold steps is easy, and it’s a lot easier to encourage from the sidelines than take the steps yourself. I have sometimes joked with friends “Take my advice, I’m not using it!”, a quip I borrowed from one of those cute post-it notes you can buy at a gift store. But I also know that my real strengths are in helping people navigate complex systems, and this is where I feel I can make a real contribution as a Representative.
There will be a lot of posts here in the near future about the issues in the Campaign, and how we can work together to make our Government more agile and responsive to its citizens. For those who know me, I’ve spent the majority of the past few years volunteering, working with our school district, and running Hoffman Digital Media, helping businesses and non-profits navigate the social media world and develop strategies to help them reach their goals. Now I’ll be putting all of those tools to work for a campaign.
This is not going to be easy. Steve Barrar has held this seat for almost 20 years, and he has done a lot of good work to bring the issues of our volunteer emergency responders to the fore in Harrisburg. While I agree with Steve on almost all of those issues, I think the health of our public schools and ensuring our children are college and career ready are also critical and need to take a front seat. We need to make sure our businesses thrive, and I’m excited to see new businesses opening in our District.
As part of that, we also need to make sure our community is well informed, beyond our individual townships and counties, about what is happening and how we can work together, and that communication has been lacking. We’re a community of neighbors, and what happens in the Chester County part of the District needs to be as relevant as the Delaware County portion. We shop and support our neighbors regardless of County or Township lines, and our representatives need to treat us all as one large community, and coordinate information regardless of these arbitrary lines on a map.
Join me in helping to make the 160th District a more unified whole, and one where everyone will feel they have a voice and an opportunity to participate meaningfully if they wish. We need to push our elected officials to be more open with their constituents, and I hope that will be a hallmark of my campaign.