Cast An Informed Vote This Election!

Don’t just stop at U.S. President. Up and down the ballot, all elections are important. That’s why The Phoenix is bringing you these profiles of candidates running for offices that represent Swarthmore. If you’re registered here, these are the names you’ll see on the ballot on November 6. We encourage you to look them over to ensure that you know who you’re voting for!The races profiled here are those for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Pennsylvania State House, and three Pennsylvania state executive positions: Attorney General, Treasurer and Auditor General. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) is not up for reelection this year; neither is Swarthmore’s representative in the Pennsylvania State Senate, Republican Edwin Erickson of District 26.

U.S. SenateOne-term Democratic Senator Robert Casey is running for reelection to the Senate this year. In 2006, he defeated Presidential Candidate-to-be Rick Santorum to win the seat. His challenger, coal magnate Tom Smith, has gained ground in recent weeks, though Casey still maintains a single-digit lead in most polls. Casey is the Senior Senator for Pennsylvania; he is serving with Republican Pat Toomey, who was elected in 2010.

Robert Casey (D): Casey has long been a favorite son of the Democratic establishment, both in Pennsylvania and in Washington. The son of a former governor, he has been a household name in the state for some time. He falls in line with his party on most issues, with one major exception: Casey is one of the few Democrats in Congress who opposes abortion. While in the Senate, he co-sponsored multiple bills to advance gay rights, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He also co-sponsored the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which was widely criticized as an act of censorship against the internet.

Tom Smith (R): Smith has dabbled in politics recently, but most of his career was spent in the coal industry, where he built his own company and ran it for 20 years. Though he is running as a Republican in the Senate race, he served as a Democratic committeeman in his hometown of Plumcreek. He has laid out a detailed economic plan which places emphasis on simplifying the tax code and deregulation, as well as increasing energy production in America. Smith drew fire last August when he reaffirmed his no-exceptions stance on banning abortion by seemingly comparing having a baby out of wedlock to being impregnated by rape. He later walked back the comments, saying that the two situations were not analogous.

U.S. House — 1st District

Swarthmore fell victim to redistricting in 2011, so the town is no longer in the Seventh Congressional District represented by Republican Pat Meehan. Our new district, the First, is represented by Democrat Bob Brady. Meehan and Brady are both favored to win their reelection bids. Brady’s opponent is John Featherman. The two men have faced off once before, when they ran against each other for the same seat in 1998 (though Featherman was running as a Libertarian).

Bob Brady (D): Brady is considered one of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives. A former carpenter, he is incredibly popular among labor unions and civil rights groups. He is also a strong supporter of campaign finance reform, advocating partial public funding of political campaigns.

John Featherman (R):
Featherman describes himself as a libertarian — fiscally conservative and socially liberal — who breaks with his party on such issues as abortion and gay marriage. Though he has launched several campaigns, he has never held political office. His career has been mainly in publications and real estate.

Pennsylvania State House — 161st District

Republican incumbent Joe Hackett has served one two-year term in the State House; he was elected in 2010 by a sizeable but not outstanding margin. Republicans control both houses in the Pennsylvania State Legislature as well as the Governor’s seat.

Joe Hackett (R): Hackett served in law enforcement as a detective for 26 years before his election to the State House. He was given the honor of NENA Legislator of the Year in 2011. During his time in the House, he collaborated with other Republicans to pass welfare reform and crack down on fraud. He is also a strong advocate of increased transparency in government.

Larry DeMarco (D):
DeMarco has worked for years as a lawyer and community organizer. He is a sharp critic of Governor Corbett’s budget cuts to public education and other areas. He has also called for stronger regulation of fracking and increased taxes on companies which use this natural gas extraction method.

Pennsylvania Attorney General

Appointed in 2010 by Governor Corbett, Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General, Republican Linda Kelly, has opted not to seek election to a full term. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement office in the state of Pennsylvania. Duties include overseeing prosecutions, criminal investigations, and advising the Governor on legal matters. On a side note, the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General is one of the oldest public offices in the United States, created in 1643 when parts of Pennsylvania were still under Swedish control.

David Freed (R):
Freed is Governor Corbett’s preferred candidate for the Attorney General post; electing Freed is one of Corbett’s top priorities. Freed is a strong supporter of the Pennsylvania Voter ID law; he also supports the death penalty for first-degree murderers. In response to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, Freed has advocated for the creation of a special unit for the prosecution of child abusers. He is an experienced prosecutor, having served as the District Attorney of Cumberland County for 15 years.

Kathleen Granahan Kane (D):
Polls show Kane with a very slim lead in the race for Attorney General. In March, she received the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton. Although she has been an outspoken critic of the Pennsylvania Voter ID law, she has said that she will enforce it if elected as the office of Attorney General necessitates. In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, she has criticized the statute of limitations on sexual predators. She has extensive experience as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office of Lackawanna County.

Pennsylvania Treasurer

Democrat Rob McCord is running for reelection to the office of Pennsylvania Treasurer. If reelected, term limits would force him to retire at the end of his second term. The Treasurer’s primary responsibility is to manage and protect the finances of the State of Pennsylvania, In addition, the Treasurer oversees several programs that extend credit to struggling families and help students pay for college.

Rob McCord (D):
McCord has had a career both in the public and private sectors, spending time as a business manager for entrepreneurial organizations in the technology industry and in numerous positions on Capitol Hill. During the campaign, he has placed emphasis on job creation and reforming state spending to make it more efficient.

Diane Irey Vaughan (R):
Vaughan served for five terms as the Commissioner for Washington County. She commonly touts this experience, noting that during her terms Washington County repeatedly balanced its budgets and ranked third among counties nationwide for job growth. She emphasizes cutting back on wasteful spending and creating an environment to foster job creation.

Pennsylvania Auditor General

The office of the Auditor General describes itself as the “independent fiscal watchdog” for Pennsylvania. Its basic responsibility is to watch over state taxation and spending and prevent fraud, as well as to ensure that state institutions are running efficiently. Term limits are forcing the Democratic incumbent, John Wagner, to retire this year.

Eugene DePasquale (D):
DePasquale is a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He is also running for reelection in the State House this year. He is a strong environmental advocate, sponsoring bills while in the State House to invest in renewable energy. He has also promised to conduct an audit of the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure proper regulation of natural gas drilling.

John Maher (R):
Like DePasquale, Maher is a member of the Pennsylvania State House also running for reelection to his seat there. He commonly touts his background as a certified public accountant. In the State Legislature, he sponsored several bills to crack down on fraud and corruption in the public sector, as well as many to increase government transparency. He promises he will continue this trend if elected Auditor General.

Practical Information

Polling Locations: It’s all for naught if you don’t know where to go! If you live in Palmer, Pittenger, Roberts, Mary Lyon, or Strath Haven (basically any dorm south of the railroad tracks), you will vote at the Cerebral Palsy Association of Delaware County, located at 401 Rutgers Avenue. If you live in any other dorm (any dorm north of the railroad tracks) you will vote at Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School, located at 100 College Avenue. Polls at both locations are open from 7 AM to 8 PM on Tuesday, November 6.

Voter ID: For the upcoming election, you will NOT need a photo ID, unless you are a newly registered voter, in which case you will need to present one. A Swarthmore College ID is valid, provided it is unexpired and your face is visible. After this election, though, all voters will need to present photo ID before voting.

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