Today’s cover story in the Delaware County Daily Times states…’the Democratic side is heated up with two incumbent council members vying to keep their seats from the Chester Matters blogger himself.’ Hey, that’s me!
The Chester City Democratic Committee supports the two incumbents, who say they are running because they’ve done a good job but it’s not yet complete.Daily Times
When is a politician’s job ever complete? I’ve yet to encounter anyone in public office say that they’ve done all they can do, completed every task put before them, and satisfied every challenge during their term. It’s not that type of job. The goal is to leave the city in better shape for the next elected official than it was when you got on board.
The Daily Times article does not point out anything my opponents have done to make Chester better in the last 8 and 12 years they’ve been in office. In fact, the paper says things are worse as Chester is now in receivership and was said to be 6-months away from being flat out broke. They say it like this…
It followed Wolf’s April 2020 declaration of a fiscal emergency in Chester after state officials were concerned the city might run out of money by the end of the year.Daily Times
Yet, my opponents claims they’ve done a good job and need another term (or two or three) to complete something they won’t even describe.
When you’re doing a great job accomplishing things, campaigns are the time to brag about them. Incumbents have the luxury of name recognition and a big pulpit to command the local media at their beckoning call to blast all the good things they’ve done and will continue to do. New guys like me only have a vision how things can be different which usually doesn’t compare well when those in government can point to their actual accomplishments.
So, why does the Daily Times write…
During the campaign, Roots said repeated attempts to face his opponents in a public debate were unsuccessful, whether it was from the League of Women Voters or the Chester Housing Authority.Daily Times
Obviously, they aren’t proud of their record as city officials or they don’t want voters to hear from me. Either way, this campaign has been no contest because there’s been no direct interaction between the candidates.
There’s even a huge disparity on how each side campaigned. My team consists of over 60 volunteers from Chester and beyond. Occasionally we’d run into their campaign team while canvassing and all we saw were city employees. Maybe those city employees volunteered to campaign for the incumbents but it’s obvious they didn’t recruit anyone else.
Occasionally people from city and state government would show up at our events but they only came to watch and refused to join us or speak on their own behalf. The incumbents never showed up as a team and the one that did pop up never had anything to say about his candidacy. During Friday’s event, both the fire department and police department showed up – but none of the candidates appeared at our Neighborhood Forum on Chester’s Issues.
Yesterday, the City of Chester sponsored a parade for the Chester High School football team. ‘Roots for Chester’ supports Chester High Football and we had to make the tough decision to either join the parade or continue our original plan to campaign throughout Chester on the last weekend before the election. We made the right decision because if we joined the parade, we would have taken all the shine off the football team. Our caravan was more than 3-times the size of the parade.
I find it strange that the City choose the last weekend before the election to have the parade instead of being out in the streets with us touching potential voters. Or, maybe the parade was their campaign event.
Either way, campaign season has been no contest. My team has more volunteers, more social media presence, more letters to the editor, more merchandise and literature on the streets, more phone calls made, and overall more effort that reached out to voters and potential voters.
But, we all know, the real contest is on Tuesday. Chester voters will decide if they’re okay with status quo politics as usual and gift the incumbents their desire of more time to do the good work they’re claiming is getting done, or, a new wave of voters will come out and vote for someone new.
In a city that only produced less than 1,000 votes in the last primary election for Chester City Council candidates out of over 13,000 registered Democrats (less than 10% turnout), Tuesday will prove how entrenched voter suppression is in Chester. We’ll see first hand if our style of campaigning will be successful in getting people to the polls.
Tuesday in Chester is a historic contest. Are Chester folks satisfied with more of the same out of City Hall or is it Time For A Change?
The future of Chester is in the hands of the voters.