Looking Forward to 2019

THANK YOU to the voters of the 48th Senatorial District for reelecting me!  I’m honored to have received your overwhelming support and I look forward to again representing you in the Pennsylvania General Assembly for four more years.

I will continue to fulfill my oath of office to “. . . support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.”

I also remain steadfast in my ongoing efforts to advance meaningful government reforms, such as redistricting changes and Election and Ethics law amendments.  I will pursue these goals with my well established values of civility and consensus.

I won’t be close-minded.  I’ll seek information on issues – both pro and con.  I know there are many sides to be considered and rarely just one answer to resolve any given matter.

I won’t shut people out, shout them down, or be dismissive of their ideas.  I’ll respectfully listen – including those with whom I disagree.

I won’t consider my opinions and beliefs to be morally superior or proven truths.  I recognize the perspectives of others rest upon their presuppositional philosophical worldviews.  Hopefully, we can all agree to disagree without being disagreeable.  We’re all human.

The Founding Fathers were human as well.  They too disagreed with one another.  Some signed the Declaration of Independence; some didn’t.  Those who wouldn’t endorse the Constitution fought against its ratification and became “Anti-Federalists”.

However, the Founders did agree on some basic doctrines – beginning with John Locke’s tenet that all power comes from the people.  It’s why the United States Constitution begins with “We the People”.

This is also a key provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution – Article I, Section 2:  “All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness.  For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper.”

Our constitutions were written to protect people from government overreach.  That’s why power is divided among three branches with each checking the other two.  National authority was also designed to be checked by the states:  the federal government was granted specific delineated powers only.

Our Constitutional Republic protects the rights of minority opinions – unlike a pure democracy where the majority can disregard the minority.  James Madison said an unrestrained majority would terrorize minority opinions and devolve into mob rule where expressions of ideas are suppressed, dissent is quashed, and liberties are trampled.

The majority isn’t always right and the minority isn’t always wrong.  Demands for conformity are intolerant of other views and too often preserve the status quo.  The more minority opinion is ignored, the louder the silence becomes.

I’ll fight for my core values:  respect for life, respect for the Constitution, personal responsibility, and less government.  However, I’ll also heed my mother’s admonition:  God gave us two ears and one mouth because it’s more important to listen.

I’m sure we’ll all agree:  there needs to be more civility in our public discussions.  Respect comes from each and every one of us.

I don’t believe those who disagree with me are my enemies or evil.  If my arguments aren’t successful, I won’t accuse anyone of racism, sexism, or fascism.  I simply do not believe vile personal attacks do anyone any good and run the risk of spiraling into violence.  We need discussions, not confrontations.