Letters to the Editor

Letters: Write-in candidate asks for support; How would today’s GOP vote?

Write-in candidate asks for support

I ran a write-in campaign for State College Borough Council this past spring, as an independent candidate.

Shortly after the May primary, I learned that in Pennsylvania, non-major party and unaffiliated candidates can get on the general election ballot by collecting signatures from registered voters equal to 2% of the votes cast for the highest vote-getting candidate in the same district’s prior election.

In early June, Centre County elections staff told me that would be 48 signatures, based on Don Hahn’s votes in the November 2017 election. When I brought my papers with 55 signatures on July 18, I was told the correct baseline is Evan Myers’ 3,382 votes from November 2017, requiring at least 68 signatures on the papers, which must be turned in by Aug. 1.

I’ve been active in local politics for the past 10 years, on citizen campaigns around corporate Penn State’s lack of public accountability and transparency, local environmental fights related to water and energy security, and projects to strengthen local investigative journalism, the local food economy and the integrity of the Centre County judicial system.

If you are registered to vote in State College (with any party or no party) and would like to sign my nominating papers, please contact me at 237-0996 or kw.investigations.llc@gmail.com.

Even if you personally wouldn’t vote for me, putting me on the ballot will broaden and deepen the range of issues and views presented to voters during the campaign season. More information: bailiwicknews.com.

Katherine Watt, State College

How would today’s GOP vote?

The young Republican Party did a great service to America when it took advantage of a rare historical moment, 1865-70. The Radical Republican faction, led by Pennsylvania Rep. Thaddeus Stevens and Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner, pushed through Congress the “Civil War Amendments” to fight racial discrimination. We can speculate whether the party today, led by Donald Trump in the White House and Mitch McConnell in Congress, would now say yes or no to those amendments.

The Thirteenth: Abolished slavery. The answer would be yes.

The Fourteenth: The answer is probably questionable, because its “due process” and “equal protection of the laws” clauses applied Bill of Rights protections not only from acts of the Federal government but to acts of state governments, thus doing more than anything else to end Jim Crow, Lynch Law and school segregation, and turn the white south from solid Democratic to core Republican after the 1960s. It also helped enable affirmative action, legal abortion and gay rights, which many Republicans abhor.

The Fifteenth: Gave black (male) citizens the right to vote. Many Republicans would say yes; many might not. The Republican Supreme Court majority gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965; our own state Sen. Jake Corman and state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff voted for the state voter ID law, transparently aimed at suppressing the black vote.

And would red state legislatures vote yes to ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments today?

We know for sure that old Thaddeus Stevens, in that historical moment, loudly said “Yes!”

John N. Rippey, Zion

Climate Security Advisory Council supports national security measures

Kudos to Congressman Glenn Thompson who voted to keep funding for the Climate Security Advisory Council in the 2020 federal budget bill. The U.S. House of Representatives on July 17 defeated an amendment — by a 255 to 178 margin — that would have stripped the bill of money to establish the Council.

The Climate Security Advisory Council would help U.S. intelligence agencies monitor the effect of climate change on national security. For many years, U.S. intelligence leaders — and military planners — have considered climate change to be a “threat multiplier” contributing to economic de-stabilization and migration of people.

Centre County, of course, has two Congressional representatives and their votes on this issue were split. Mr. Thompson’s district embraces the greater geographical part of the county including Bellefonte, Milesburg, Philipsburg, Snow Shoe and Patton Township among other municipalities.

Newly elected representative Fred Keller, whose district includes the Borough of State College, voted not to fund the Council. I hope, however, that in the future Mr. Keller will learn the value of supporting national security measures such as this one.

Richard W. Jones, State College
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