Local Dems highlight hopes for the future | News, Sports, Jobs

PAT CROSSLEY/Sun-Gazette Correspondent

Katie Blume, left, deputy political director with the state Democratic Committee speaks with Alison Rupert, center left, Verna Caruso, center right, and Alison Hirsch, right, at Sunday’s Lycoming Democratic Committee Picnic. Blume was the featured speaker at the event at Memorial Park.

While enjoying the sunshine in Memorial Park, local and state Democrats spoke of their hope for a bright future in the November elections.

The annual Lycoming County Democratic Committee met Sunday afternoon at the park.

According to the keynote speaker Katie Blume, deputy political director with the state Democratic committee, this year there is a list of eight Democratic judicial candidates.

Blume stressed that courts are important, particularly with the issue of gerrymandering likely to come before the state Supreme Court for a decision in addition to the criminal cases that are dealt with by the Superior Court. But, she added that there are issues on a day to day basis that are just as significant.

“At a very local level, who here doesn’t have a neighbor who complains at some point about zoning,” she asked the group. “Somebody always has a zoning problem in communities. The Commonwealth Court hears zoning issues. So, each of those parts of the PA court system are important.”

Blume added that one-on-one contact and knocking on doors is a good way to spread the word about local candidates. The party also is conducting training sessions for those interested in running for office in order to make them a better candidate, she said.

Speaking about the state party’s initiative to vote local, Blume said that people should talk about the issues which is less divisive than talking about candidates or politics.

“One thing that’s going to happen is we’re taking vote local to the next step, Blume said. “The DNC (Democratic National Convention) can come up with whatever slogan they want to, it is up to local candidates and local areas and local parties and local house candidates to set the message for their district. So, we’re doing vote local PA for jobs, vote local PA for public education, and vote local PA for healthcare. Because each of those issues can be taken even deeper by each county.”

Blume went on to add that “in Lycoming County, you can talk about jobs and you can tie jobs to public education. You can tie healthcare back to jobs, you can tie this to some of the broader issues like climate change and social justice issues. Little by little as we’re talking to our neighbors. So, if people are looking for messages it really starts with all of you,” she added.

County Commissioner Rick Mirabito, who also spoke at the event, echoed Blume’s words.

“We can motivate people by talking about the things we share in common. Whether you’re Republicans, Democrats or Independents, we all love our families and at the end of the day it’s usually what’s most important to all of us,” he said.

“What I’m suggesting today is whether it’s the judge races or city council races or the school board, we have to have a language that’s inclusive and a language that’s based on principle.”

“We have to be able to relate to people regardless of political affiliation. That’s the only way we’re going to make change in this community,” he added.

Candidates either attending or sending a representative were: Justice Debra McCloskey Todd, who is running for retention on the state Supreme Court; Justice Maria McLaughlin, state Superior Court; City Council candidates, Liz Miele, Derek Slaughter and Matilda Novielllo; candidate for Congress Judy Herschel; Airneezer Page-Delahaye, South Williamsport Area School Board, and Linda Sosniak, Picture Rocks Borough Council.