Time to get engaged in political process

To the Times:

Every two years the media, commentators and political pundits declare the presidential or mid-term elections the most important in our lifetime.

The year 2018 will be no different. Truth be told every election is important, because they determine how we are governed at the local, state or federal level. Our elected officials make important decisions that impact lives every day, but do people really care?

According to data collected by the U.S. Elections Project, about 139 million Americans or 60.2 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot in the November 2016 Presidential election. That compares with 58.6 percent in 2012 and 62.2 percent in 2008. While Pennsylvania’s numbers are a bit better, approximately 40 percent of our citizens nationally did not participate in the most “covered,” polled and expensive elections in our country’s history. Numbers are drastically lower for our local elections (20 percent-30 percent) and even smaller for local primary elections in which our political parties pick their candidates.

Hence, a New Year’s resolution for 2018: Become an Engaged Citizen. Commit to know the issues, the candidates, what they stand for and how they say they will vote.


Do not allow expensive media campaigns full of negative ads become the deciding factor in how you will cast your ballot in any election. Judge each elected official upon their record and candidate upon their platform. Rather than experiencing “wave elections” of uneven participation let’s move toward a rising tide of voter activity.

Encourage others to participate in our democracy. Engaged Citizenship is necessary for our country’s future.

David W. Woods, Executive Director, Engaged Citizenship,

Protect Arctic

To the Times:

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last truly wild places on earth. With more than 19 million acres of untouched wilderness, the Arctic Refuge is home to 250 animal species.

The Arctic Refuge is a national treasure, and something we, as Americans, should be proud of protecting. We are the stewards of this great land and need to act responsibly. Rep. Pat Meehan voiced this same opinion in a letter with other lawmakers. He came out against opening it up for drilling. Despite those concerns and despite claiming to be for the environment, Meehan voted yes to the tax bill, and thus voted against the Arctic Refuge.

We enjoy our public lands across the country, from the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks to Veterans Memorial Park and Ridley Creek State Park. We would never dream of letting drilling occur in Ridley Creek State Park, and the Arctic Refuge deserves the same respect. Meehan should be ashamed of his vote.

Rose Rice, Marple