By Aryanna Berringer
Pittsburgh Current Columnist
It’s easy to get sucked into the glitz and glamour of presidential election season.
New candidates to fall in love with, old ones that you wish would go away….but can we all just pump the breaks for a minute?
We are electing pretty important people now and they need our help and attention.
On May 21st the respective parties will be selecting their candidates to face-off in November. That’s right—if you are a registered Democrat or Republican GO VOTE MAY 21st.
If you are an Independent, primaries are still closed to you in Pennsylvania (we can talk about that poor system at a later date).
But do you know who you are voting for next week? If you are like most, you may just wait until Tuesday and snag that slate card handed to you by your party’s poll worker. If you are slightly more concerned, you may have googled the candidates in the car before you walked in to the voting booth.
But you’re smart. You’ve read some of my recent columns about Bethany Hallam running for Allegheny County Council at-large, the qualified women running for Superior Court and you’ve read my editor Charlie Deitch’s articles on Turhan Jenkins running for District Attorney. But these are just a handful of contested races in Pittsburgh. People all over the city have placed their name on the ballot to earn their party’s nomination for everything from The Court of Common Pleas, City and County Council, and the School Board.
There are a couple of races that I am paying attention to that I haven’t written about yet. They include the City Council District 7 race between Deb Gross and Deirdre Kane, as well as the 4th District School Board race of Pam Harbin and Anna Batista.
A few weeks ago I surmised on the Pittsburgh Current Podcast that Deb Gross failed to receive the Democratic Party’s endorsement in that race because she was a strong supporter of candidates like now Representative Sara Innamorato in the primary elections last year when they ran against Democratic incumbents. I’ve gotten to know Deb over the years and have found that not only is she pragmatic but she is brave in her approach to council and politics. She’s a true progressive and her record on council and in the community prove that.
When I met Pam for the first time, I was blown away by her passion for ensuring that our kids are well represented on school board. That’s right, our kids. She puts them first in her work as the co-founder of the Education Rights Network and has even streamed or attended over 2000 hours of school board meetings in the last 12 years. One of the things I found most compelling about Pam is that she’s been working to find solutions outside of the system for things like the “school to prison pipeline.” I can only imagine what good she will do on the board.
Take some time over the next week to familiarize yourself with the candidates running for office in your neck of the woods. My guess is that you will be pleasantly surprised, and if not: consider running yourself next time.
We’ve got plenty for 2020.