Dems Prepare For Tuesday Election
In spite of an unusual autumn nor’easter that dumped several inches of snow on the county on Saturday, nearly 50 of the Democratic Party faithful turned out Saturday evening to rally support for their candidates in the November 8 general election.
With a smaller crowd than usual, two county commissioner candidates, one of whom is an incumbent, and a county auditor hopeful spoke to the crowd about why he or she would make the best candidate in Tuesday’s election.
Prior to hearing from the candidates, the keynote speaker, Laura Feldman, an organizer with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, asked for support from the Democrats to fight any cuts that may be proposed for the two programs.
Feldman, a part-time resident of Fulton County, has an office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and characterizes her organization as a “non-partisan advocacy organization supported by membership.” She serves all of the southeastern United States.
Feldman told those in attendance that the biggest lie being told about Social Security is that “it is going broke.” Social Security, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, is a “social insurance program that is based on the full faith and backing of government-issued bonds,” she said. “It costs less than 1 percent to administer and it pays for itself,” she went on to say. “And,” she said, “just one short month after 9/11, 3,000 checks went out to the families of those killed on that day.” Calling the program, “a safety net,” she stressed that no one can draw Social Security who hasn’t paid into it for at least 10 years or 40 quarters.
She said that if the audience were to only take one thing from her remarks it should be that “Social Security has not contributed one dime to the country’s deficit and it should not be used to reduce it.” She said it has been one of the most successful government programs in history and it is the lower-wage earners who get the better return on it.
“Medicare and Social Security are threatened,” she said, “by the Super Committee of Congress appointed to cut $1.6 trillion in spending.” (Pennsylvania’s U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is an appointed member of the Super Committee). After also speaking about Medicare, she urged those in attendance to let their voices be heard. She said, “Politicians won’t see the light until they feel the heat.”
Feldman said it is important to know the truth amid so many lies being told about Social Security. She said, according to actuaries, if nothing is done, the Social Security fund will be completely solvent until 2036 when there will be an estimated shortfall of 22 percent. Calling that very easy to fix, she suggested a number of solutions that could allow the program “to last forever.”
Following Feldman’s remarks, master of ceremonies Jim Butts introduced county commissioner candidates Commissioner David Hoover and Irvin Dasher. Hoover, completing a four-year term in office, asked the voters for four more years to continue the county’s renovation and building project, to continue the filming of county records to alleviate the need for record storage space and to continue to support townships with sewage and water problems through joint planning efforts and grant funding.
He also said the county needs to plan for Marcellus shale, referring to the drilling for gas development in many of Pennsylvania counties. “It hasn’t started here yet,” he said, “but it’s all around us in Somerset, Bedford and Huntingdon counties, so we need to be prepared.”
Dasher criticized the county’s building project, saying, “Spending borrowed money during such tough economic times” is not a wise use of tax dollars. He went on to say that he believes the county should concentrate on small projects that can be paid for by money the county has saved rather than borrowing. He concluded by saying, “I think if you elect me as county commissioner, it will improve our future and lessen our struggles as well as those of our neighbors.”
Ellen Wagner, a candidate for county auditor, also asked for votes, saying she is a native of Fulton County who has served as treasurer for the Boy Scouts, is secretary for Wagner’s Garage and Motorsports, has owned her own cleaning business and works for PennDOT as a tourism counselor.
In next Tuesday’s election, Hoover and Dasher will face Republican candidates, Craig Cutchall (I) and Rodney McCray, while Wagner will be challenged by Democrat Robert Messick and Republicans Rebecca Kendall and Sandra Stenger.
Robert Layton, a candidate for Brush Creek Township supervisor, was also introduced, and he will face Republican Jean Remsburg in the election.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.