The November election is Tuesday – make sure you get out and have your voice heard

CHAMBERSBURG – Tuesday is the day – Election Day – and it’s more important than ever that we get people to the polls to make the change they want to see.

No, it’s not the presidential election. Yes, it’s an off year election, but these are IMPORTANT races that will affect us all directly.

So, please, either go to the polls and vote or take advantage of the mail-in ballots.

State Senator Judy Ward, attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the importance of Tuesday’s election Wednesday morning during First News.

Barkdoll said, “All of these races seem to be ramping up over the last week. All these write-in candidates seem to be getting more organized. They seem to be doing more campaigning. What I would remind all listeners, even if you don’t have children or grandchildren in a school district, these races are critically important. Not only are they setting a budget and your taxes on your property, but remember when people are looking around the relocate, when businesses are looking where to land and start development, they often are looking at the quality of the school district. Not only the tax rates, but they’re looking at the boards, they’re looking at the education system in general. So it really does affect everyone, whether you have children or not and that’s why it’s important if you’re voting, you need to be plugged in and tuned in to all of these races and what the candidate’s positions are.”

Ryan said, “Candidate’s positions. That is if you can understand the candidate. If we’re not hiding behind calls and whispers and what’s happening in Chambersburg. There is a write-in race in Chambersburg. Joan Smith, former school board member. Joan wants back in. She is a business woman. A parent. And from day one, Joan Smith did not hide in the shadows as a write-in candidate. She is now facing someone that has been secretly calling people. And why the secrecy? You’ve got to ask yourself why the secrecy? Why are we running a stealth campaign? We have learned that she is part of the Franklin County Coalition for Progress. She’s the president. This is Noelle Purdy as the president of the Franklin County Coalition for Progress. You just need to look at the website fccforprogress.org to get a real flavor of the big difference between what’s on Noelle’s mind and what’s on Joan’s mind. There couldn’t be a bigger difference. There couldn’t be a bigger, more important fight for your kids and for your grand kids than this one in Chambersburg. When there’s dreams of inclusion and Critical Race Theory and equity conversations and Black Lives Matter and healing and environment and you’re hearing more about that stuff than you’re hearing about math, English and science. The difference between the two is huge.”

Jansen pointed out, “Franklin County Coalition for Progress is obviously on the extreme end of the liberal spectrum. They believe in the complete social justice and they’re the ones that actually crafted the letter that got the nondiscrimination ordinance going here in the borough of Chambersburg. The very letter that Allen Coffman was falsely accused of doing something wrong about. They are extremists and that’s fine. You can have that point of view. You’re allowed to make your point and have your arguments, but don’t come at it stealthily and pretend like you don’t have that point of view or that you aren’t wanting to have that point of view be a part of what you’re trying to run for. It just bothers me that they tend to hide behind trying to be obscure. Just be honest.

Ryan added, “We certainly are very familiar as the former president of the Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce that was years ago abruptly resigning from a hell of a gig. That is a head-scratcher as well. Now I believe we’re in the healthcare system somehow or other, but the Franklin County Coalition for Progress backing and pushing Noelle Purdy as the quiet write-in candidate against Joan Smith, load and proud and clear. The differences are amazing.”

Barkdoll said, “It’s odd to me, politically, that anyone running for office would not announce they’re running. That in and of itself, I think raises a lot of questions and I would imagine that internally they are banking on this idea that it’s going to be very, very low turnout. So if they can just generate enough write-in votes to get into this seat, that’s what they’re banking on. Now they maybe didn’t anticipate that Joan Smith, it sounds like she’s actually running a pretty active campaign, out door-to-door, doing what she should be doing as a candidate. She’s made her public announcement, but again it’s odd to me at any level, whether you’re a school board candidate or running for any office that you wouldn’t announce that you’re running. I think that just creates a lot of questions.”

Jansen said, “The campaign seems to be phone calls to certain voters and then sending out a particular google docs announcement only to certain Facebook pages that you see as friendly or whatnot. I did a search. I tried to find where she was running a few days ago and could not find it anywhere.”

Barkdoll said, “We will see on Tuesday. Often times these write-in campaigns it takes days to get the results. The turnout may be low enough on Tuesday that we may have a pretty good idea late Tuesday night who won some of these races. Remember these school board races, it’s not even borough or district wide. They’re running in a very small segment of the district and someone could sneak into one of these seats. You’re going to see someone win one of those seats with maybe 150 or 200 votes. It’s not going to take much to win that seat.”

Jansen pointed out, “This particular seat doesn’t have anybody on the ballot, so this one is going to be won by a write-in, so please if you want that diversity of viewpoint on the school board, get out there and vote for Joan Smith.”

Ryan said, “And by diversity we’re talking about diversity of viewpoint. Someone that has certainly served the community before in education and is not baked in to Critical Race Theory or baked in to the equity stuff. Let’s get the nonsense out of the bathrooms and out of your kid’s heads and below the belt and get back to math, English and science.”

Jansen said, “If you want to believe in that as an adult and push it, fine. You do not teach it to kids in public schools.”

Ryan added, “And being able to talk to people as well. Joan as you just said, banging on doors, putting her signs out in the front, being loud and proud about that and then the whispers, phone calls, hiding of the other campaign here, very disturbing in my heart.”

Barkdoll said, “I would say that about a candidate at any level. If they’re not willing to be out meeting the public, trying to convince people to vote for them, letting you know here’s what my agenda is, here’s what my goals are. That to me is very troubling that someone would run a campaign like that at any level. Again, I’m not familiar with these folks. I’ve not seen any announcements. I’m not hearing of anyone reporting that they’re out running an active campaign. We’re down now to the last six days. You would think by now something more public would be out there if they were going to do that.”

When asked if we can hope for a better than average turnout on Tuesday, Ward said, “I certainly hope so. I think people are fed up in all the mandates and all their personal freedoms being taken away. I think it has really fired people up. With good reason. I hope that people recognize how important it is to get out to vote. These judicial elections, our state judicial elections, commonwealth court, superior court, Supreme Court, they are so important and we’ve seen that here in Harrisburg more than ever. So I just really feel people sense the urgency of this and they’re going to come out. So, fingers crossed.”

“Fingers crossed,” Ryan said, “Stop crossing your fingers, pick up that pen and get ready. There’s a lot of folks doing write-ins as well between Waynesboro and Greencastle and Chambersburg and Shippensburg. You’ve got to know and you’ve got to be paying close attention to how important these write-ins are. These are parents. These aren’t just finger-wagging, arrogant educators who think they know better than you do about your kids and your kids’ education. These are real individuals who have skin in the game and are concerned for the future of this country.”

Jansen added, “We cannot have a turnout now in the 20s percentile, which is what we usually get in these elections. We need people to get out and understand. We’ve seen these fights across the country in school boards. People accuse these parents of being extremists or doing this for political purposes. They’re not. They’re concerned about their children. They don’t want ideology pushed down their kid’s throats. They want their children to get a good education. They’re worried about mask mandates and vaccine mandates. These are legitimate concerns and this is why we have a lot of parents and grandparents running.”

Ryan said, “Look at what happened in Loudoun County yesterday. You had kids walking out and showing how much disdain they have for the school board and the leadership in that school after a girl was raped. The kid that raped her got moved to another school district and rapes another kid over there and what do they do? They pound the father down on the ground, the cops do there. And by the way, you saw that footage? You saw that finger-wagging liberal yelling at the father as he’s getting thrown on the ground who is concerned about his daughter that got raped.”

Jansen said, “Apparently they were threatening his business as well. They were telling him you’re lying and that didn’t happen.”

Ryan said, “If you’re putting up the defense here, what happens when it’s your kid?”

Ward said, “That’s horrific and parents I think are starting to stand up and say wait a minute, I have rights. These are my children. I want them educated in the way that I feel is best.”

One of the best ways to have your say in your child’s education is to VOTE when it comes to the school boards.

Next Tuesday is the day. Let’s make it a much better than average turnout so we can protect the future for all of us.