10,000 Ballots

The Supreme Court has rejected the cases related to the 2020 election in Pennsylvania and other states. With questions still unanswered about whether or not changes to election procedures in Pennsylvania were constitutional, I am disappointed that the court won’t be ruling on these cases.

More disturbing to me than not having a settled answer on questions from the 2020 Pennsylvania election is the uncounted ballots. So called “late-arriving ballots” were ordered to be set aside by a prior court ruling and were not counted due to ongoing litigation. As of today, they “have not yet been counted.” The fact that it’s “only” about 10,000 ballots and wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the Presidential election, rings hollow to me. In our electoral system we argue that every vote matters. We should count every legitimate vote.

We should have a final ruling on whether these 10,000 or so votes, representing 10,000 or so Pennsylvanians, are legitimate. Would they have impacted races other than the Presidential race? They were set aside in whole, not counted for any purpose. We are setting a precedent for counting votes. The Supreme Court should have ruled on this.

Join Our March Personal Care & Hygiene Drive

hygiene and personal care items in a bin

Liz Terwilliger for Congress is partnering with the Lycoming County Libertarian Committee for a personal care and hygiene products drive during the month of March.

Beginning March 8th and continuing until March 28th, we will be collecting items such as toilet paper, maxi-pads, tampons, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, soap, shampoo and tissues. Donated items will be distributed to those in need in two ways. We will be delivering donated items to programs, like the YWCA Northcentral PA in Williamsport, who provide services to individuals and families facing homelessness and other personal crises. We will also be creating “kits” with items donated for individual pick up at designated locations.

We are looking for businesses to participate as donation drop off locations and/or as pick up points for individual kits. For drop off locations, we would provide a donation bin, which we would deliver on or around March 8th. We would pick up the bin and any donations on March 28th, or earlier if requested. For pick up points, we would deliver a pre-determined number of kits for individuals to pick up from your location.

If you are interested in participating in this personal care and hygiene products drive, as a business or as an individual volunteer, please email event@lizterwilligerforcongress.org or text/call 570-731-0822 or complete the rsvp form, here.

Gift of Life Pantry Helps Local Families

Dozens of local families received some welcome assistance last Sunday with the Pop-Up Pantry organized by the Liz Terwilliger for Congress Committee in Sayre, Pa. The LTCC gave out food donations from The Child Hunger Outreach Program (CHOP) of Towanda.

“We wanted a safe and stress-free event,” explained Liz Terwilliger, “so we felt that a drive-through Pantry made the most sense.” LTCC volunteers organized a smooth traffic flow and handed out cartons of food to fifty families. Each box contained a month’s worth of groceries. “Food Insecurity has always been a problem in our area,” Liz said “and the pandemic has made the problem much worse. The help from CHOP and our volunteers has been absolutely crucial to the community, and I thank everyone for participating in this important effort.”

Liz Terwilliger talks with driver as volunteer, Colleen McCarthy, carries food donation to the car.

Liz noted that February 14th was also National Organ Doner Day. “We included information about this important need in our community and explained how easy it is to become an organ doner.” Two local families shared their stories as organ recipients, and the daughter of a local liver transplant recipient volunteered at the event.

“As a Libertarian, I want to emphasize individual initiatives like the Pantry and Organ Donation. Too often, we wait for our local government to take action, often with disappointing results. It is up to us as members of the community to do what we can to help where we can. It is also critical to help raise community awareness about basic needs like Hunger and Organ Donations. That’s why we combined efforts on this National Day of Service”.

While helping fifty families is a great start, almost a dozen more were not able to be helped right away. “This was the most distressing part of the day,” said Liz. “We simply ran out of food, which highlights the growing need to address the insecurity of Hunger here in Pennsylvania.” The LTCC was able to put these families in contact with alternate food sources to meet their immediate needs. “It’s important that we are there for each other; reaching out for support when must and giving back when they can.”

People who would like to volunteer to support future Pop-Up Pantries and similar actions can contact the LTCC at  volunteers@lizterwilligerforcongress.org.

Switching Party Affiliation

voters wait in line at Tioga county fairgrounds in Wellsboro, PA

Pennsylvania is a closed primary state. That means you have to be registered with a major party to participate; Republican to participate in the Republican primary, Democrat to participate in the Democratic primary. This system leads many otherwise independent or third party voters to maintain their major party affiliation to have a voice in the primary.

I was asked by a local Libertarian, who is registered to vote Republican, this week, if there is any point to changing party affiliation to Libertarian.

My short answer is “Yes!” Here’s why.

It is simple to change your party affiliation in Pennsylvania. Now that the Libertarian Party has minor party status, we are listed as a choice when residents register. Given the rules of the game in Pennsylvania, voters can change their party affiliation by May 3, 2021 to vote in the May 18, 2021 primary. After the primary, you can change your registration back to your true affiliation just as easily. This is important because the 15% rule (see below) applies to the close of the registration period for the November general election, which is October 18, 2021. After the general election, you can change back again for 2022 Primary just as easily.

According to the Department of State website, in Pennsylvania to be able to participate in the taxpayer funded primary process, a party must have “statewide registration…15% or greater of the combined statewide registration for all statewide political parties.” This 15% mark must be attained “at the close of the registration period immediately preceding the most recent November election.”

Fifteen percent seems a low bar on its face. With the closed primary process, and otherwise affiliated voters maintaining Republican and Democratic voter registration, it is not just an uphill battle. It is a nearly impossible one.

As of February 1, 2021, per the PA Dept of State website, there were 8,818,861 registered voters in the Commonwealth. Of those voters, only 14.5% were not registered Republican or Democrat. Even if all the third party and unaffiliated voters registered to vote with the same party, there would not be enough voters to form a single third major party.

If everyone who is affiliated with one of the two major parties for the purpose of primary voting switched to their true affiliation following the primary, it would be interesting to see what would happen to the percentages. I believe in having accurate information, even if it doesn’t swing in my favor.

So if you are one of those voters affiliated for the primary, I encourage you to change your registration to your true affiliation after the primary and let’s see what happens! Who knows, it might make a difference!

Gift of Life Pop Up Pantry

Liz Terwilliger for Congress and Child Hunger Outreach Partners present a Gift of Life Drive thru pop up food pantry in sayre PA

On Sunday, February 14th at 12 PM the Liz Terwilliger for Congress candidate committee will be hosting a Gift of Life ‘Pop Up Pantry’ at Riverfront Park in Sayre, Pa. This drive-thru Pop-Up Pantry will feature donations by Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP) of Towanda. (Here’s the link to the event on Facebook.)

“We expect to be able to help up to 50 families at this event by providing each of them a month’s worth of food. The pandemic has been very hard on so many members of our community, and frankly, the poor response from our government has made life even more difficult for all of us,” said Liz. “To be as easy and safe as possible, this pantry event will be done as a drive-thru. We hope that this Gift of Life effort will make feeding families more bearable, and we thank our partners at CHOP for helping make this happen”.

“We understand that not everyone has access to a vehicle,” explained Liz. “In that event, residents interested in the Pop-Up pantry should contact our campaign directly and we will find a solution for them.” Food is being made available on a first-come, first served basis beginning at Noon. Traffic lanes will be created so people can remain in their cars during the pantry process with minimal disturbance to traffic on Thomas Avenue.

“February 14th is also Organ Donor Day,” Liz points out. “This is why we are calling this effort the “Gift of Life”. In addition to distributing food, we will be sharing information from area families who have been impacted by organ donation as well as information about becoming an organ donor.” In this way, Liz hopes, people who are being helped by the community may someday help others with a gift of life.

Volunteers for the Pop-Up Pantry can contact volunteers@lizterwilligerforcongress.org

Riverfront Park is on Thomas Avenue in Sayre, PA.

Spotlight: Endless Mountain Mission Center

Endless Mountain Mission Center Works to End Homelessness in Bradford County

Endless Mountain Mission Center (EMMC) near Troy, PA works to address homelessness here in Bradford County. I recently spoke with their director, Tammy Storrs, about what EMMC is doing.

While homelessness in Bradford County may not be evident to you or me, that is due to the efforts of people like Tammy and the volunteers at EMMC. Tammy explained that EMMC handles 5-7 calls a week these days. “half are literally homeless, sleeping in cars, tents, sheds and half are moving from couch to couch staying with friends and family,” Tammy told me. When possible, these people are sheltered at EMMC.

To stay at EMMC there are rules that need to be followed. “People here can’t have pets. They have to sign in and out when they come and go. We don’t allow any drugs or alcohol.” Mental health issues impact a person’s ability to stay as well. If they self-harm, for example, they have to leave EMMC. The reason, Tammy explained, is that “We have to think about the welfare of everyone staying here.” They may be taken to the hospital or BSU for treatment and then they are placed in a hotel. If someone can’t stay at EMMC, for whatever reason, Tammy works with other agencies in the county’s network to find housing for them.

EMMC is funded primarily through donations from individuals, churches and other organizations. They receive grants from the United Way and others to fund operating costs. Some funds also come from a HUD grant for rapid re-housing, rent assistance and homelessness prevention.

Tammy also told me that homelessness impacts people with mental illness, individuals with drug addictions, domestic violence cases and the elderly.  Tammy said, “For an elderly person, if their Social Security income is $700-800, and there isn’t low-income housing available, they can’t make it. Even if rent is on the low end for the county, around $600, it’s just too much.”

I asked Tammy about her biggest challenges. Her answer, mental health issues. “If you’re going to fight for something, a place for people with mental health issues is really needed. These folks need supervision, permanent supportive housing. Someone to make sure they take their medications, go to work because they just can’t manage on their own. They don’t have the capacity to deal with everyday life.  They need a rent payee to ensure they make that rent payment.”

Currently there is no supportive housing for mental health in Bradford County. A network of agencies works together (EMMC, Human Services, Main Link, Futures, Abuse and Rape Crisis Center and the Area Agency of Aging) to meet the needs of the community with the resources they have. “People don’t think there’s a problem because we’re working 24-7 at it. Without the network, you would see it [homelessness] a lot more. If people saw it, they’d realize that most people don’t choose it.”

As a candidate for Congress, and as a Libertarian, I support initiatives like what Tammy and the rest of EMMC are doing for our community. This partnership of government and private organizations is filling a need in our community. While I like to see minimal government involvement, it is only by the tireless actions of individuals like Tammy Storrs that the resources of the government and community are used effectively. Together we can address the root causes of homelessness in our communities and support organizations like EMMC. Together we can bring real change

Please join me in recognizing the efforts of Tammy and the EMMC by visiting their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/endlessmountainmissioncenterbradfordcountypa. If you want to learn more about homelessness in our District and organizations working to address it, visit our website, http://lizterwilligerforcongress.org/index.php/issues/community-solutions.

Welcome

Thank you for your interest in bringing real change to our district. With the help of engaged and earnest people like yourself we can bring that change to the House of Representatives in 2022.

Together we can build movement that can give voice to the many people in our district who need to be heard. With your help, our voters will soon real representation, one that respects individual liberty and Constitutional rights. With your support and the support of the Libertarian Party, we can make this a reality.

While a member of the Libertarian Party, I have discovered that voters of all parties and independents want to see positive change in our district. With your help, I plan to represent each and every one of these voters

The first step is transparency and sharing of information. This is the purpose of this newsletter. We plan to keep you informed about our progress towards winning a congressional seat. We plan to discuss your input and concerns. I also plan some polls so you will know how your neighbors feel about important issues. We will often publish links to help you stay informed.

We begin 2021 by focusing on community solutions. As a Libertarian, I believe in the power of individual action, rather than turning to the government for every solution. As responsible individuals we can help improve our community, especially for those who need help in these difficult times.

We invite you to share your thoughts on this topic. Tell us about people or organizations in your area working on community solutions. Tell us about challenges in your community that need attention. You can join our effort to support community solutions! I also welcome your involvement in this movement. Please see the links to find out how to help us on our mutual journey. Learn about upcoming Day of Service events, community and issues based working groups and other ways to get involved at http://lizterwilligerforcongress.org/index.php/issues/community-solutions.

~Liz Terwilliger