Tevin Campbell had a hit song and Joan Rivers had a trademark saying that were identical. “Can We Talk?” 

Most people realize that Chester has its own unique style of campaigning. In the past, the big effort is to keep as many people out of the voting booth as possible which is why Chester has some of the lowest turnout rates in the country (not county…country). Some Chester precincts had a 5% turnout in the last primary election.

When you keep recycling the same candidates over and over again with no one challenging them, people give up on voting because it literally doesn’t matter. That’s why during the last primary, about 1,200 people voted and 300 of them avoided voting for city council candidates… (out of 13,500 registered Democrats).

This election season we have a contest between ‘Roots For Chester’ that represents change in Chester, and the group who’s asking for another chance to keep things the same. What better time for opposing views to be heard by the voters – or to those we suspect want to come out and vote. 

Debates, forums, or discussions are all formats candidates normally share their views during campaigns. In this election, with each request, I’ve agreed to sit with my opponents and chat, and, with each request, my opponents want no parts of it. From the Chester Housing Authority to the League of Women Voters, no one can convince my opponents to talk to voters in a public forum.

Why are they avoiding the voters? Can you really avoid voters and still expect them to vote for you? Only in Chester is that a possibility. 

It’s not just during the election that Chester City government refuses to communicate. In the most recent article by WHYY on the environmental justice protest march held in Chester a couple weeks ago, the article says they reached out to city government for comment but did not immediately receive a response to a request for comment. We all saw them at the march. They even engaged in discussion with the protestors. But, when it’s time to go on record with the mainstream press, they can’t be found before it goes to print.

I’ve heard that very sentiment over and over and over again from the people I talk to on the campaign trail. City government just doesn’t do a good job communicating to their citizens (or the press). And now we’re learning they don’t communicate in political campaigns either. 

The only two reasons incumbents don’t participate in a political debate is 1) They don’t want to give their opponent the opportunity to express his views publicly, or 2) They are not proud of their record in city government. 

It usually comes down to having more to lose than to gain by debating or discussing the topics people want to hear. 

Lawn sign, door hangers, and billboards don’t talk either and they are starting to pop up everywhere. The only people benefiting from that type of campaigning is the printing company.

“Can We Talk?”