A Primary Election Where We All Get to Vote

“I urge every voter, no matter what party they support, to go to the polls on May 18 and vote YES on the three most important proposals. Reject discrimination and reject placing extraordinary powers in the hands on any one person.”

On Tuesday, May 18, Pennsylvania expects the same low turnout we usually see in primary elections. If that happens, it would be unfortunate, since this primary will affect every voter in the state, regardless of their party affiliation.

Part of the problem is that thousands of voters are unaware that they are even allowed to cast a vote. Although every taxpayer helps pay for the cost of a primary, Libertarian Party members (like myself), as well as Green Party and other third-party members and independents, often cannot participate in primaries because they are designed to allow the two major parties to choose their candidates. Many third-party voters simply ignore primaries all together. But they shouldn’t this time.

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One big exception to the “closed primary” rule, is when referendums are on the ballot, and in next month’s election, everyone can vote on four key referendums that will affect our state constitution.

As usual, they are worded awkwardly, but they contain important proposals that would affect the use of government powers as well as the ability to discriminate against individuals based on their race, color, creed, and other characteristics. This is our chance, as voters, to place important decision-making powers back into the hands of citizens and ensure that all Pennsylvanians are treated fairly no matter what their backgrounds may be.

As a Libertarian, I support individual freedom and reject the notion that a single executive like the governor can suspend the state constitution without answering to the voters or their elected representatives.

For the past year, business and schools throughout the state have suffered from constantly changing, often arbitrary rules that have violated the state constitution and the rights of citizens. The Pennsylvania constitution allows for the temporary suspension of some laws in the case of a serious emergency, and “temporary” is currently defined as 90 days.

When an executive violates the spirit of this law by arbitrarily extending an emergency order as often as he likes, however, we no longer are faced with an emergency. Instead, we have a version of martial law that can last as long as that single person decides. One of the May ballot referendums, therefore, proposes that while a chief executive may declare an emergency (which makes sense), he or she may not endlessly prolong it without permission from the legislature (which follows the spirit of our constitution).

A second proposed amendment would also make this clear: Even under a temporary emergency declaration, a governor would not be allowed to close businesses, shut schools or prevent assembly for indefinite periods of time. Again, this power belongs to the voters and to their elected representatives, not to a single politician.

The third initiative is a joint resolution to prohibit discrimination due to race or ethnicity. This resolution is designed to ensure that our rights are not denied or abridged because of who we are. While it first appeared that not every political party supported this, the resolution now appears to have the backing of every party, as it should.

The fourth referendum proposes to open the volunteer fire department loan system to municipalities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. This simply takes funds away from volunteer departments and shifts it to large Pennsylvania cities, without enlarging the available funding.

I urge every voter, no matter what party they support, to go to the polls on May 18 and vote YES on the three most important proposals. Reject discrimination and reject placing extraordinary powers in the hands on any one person.

Fortunately, the pandemic is reaching its final stages thanks to brilliant technology and the hard work of so many in the medical profession. The damage caused to businesses, students, workers, and families, however, will unfortunately be with us for a long time, largely due to the poor decisions made by a governor who felt he could ignore the will of his constituents and their elected representatives.

It is time to end the dictatorship. Support equal rights. Support our state constitution. Vote yes on the three key ballot initiatives on May 18.

Liz Terwilliger, Libertarian Congressional Candidate, 12th District.

A Dose of Common Sense

As I see our community begin to return to normality after a year of lock-downs, misinformation, illness, and loss of loved ones there are signs of improved spirits throughout our counties. Our local health care workers have been though difficult trials, and they continue to help us improve with increasingly availability of COVID vaccines that can now be administered to every adult.

The real problems relating to COVID were bad enough. But I found it especially distressing to see politicians take advantage of the crises by circumventing our state constitution to create endless lock-downs, fine small business out of existence, and generating fear and suspicion among neighbors in a bid to consolidate power. On May 18th we will have an opportunity to take back some of this misused power from a governor who has continued to ignore the voice of his constituents.

Sadly, politicians continue to use this crisis to promote themselves at the expense of the voters. I read, with dismay the press release from our 12th district representative, Fred Keller. Keller is co-sponsoring the awkwardly titled bill, “Saving Hypodermic Injections and Offering Vaccines to Taxpayers Swiftly”.

This bill is an attempt to only allow Americans with proof of residency to receive protection against COVID. This means that anyone in our community who does not carry such papers would presumably be refused this potentially life saving medicine. The unvaccinated people would remain in our community, becoming ill, and possibly infecting others. We have the resources to immunize every adult.

Keller’s bill will likely never come to a floor vote, partially because it is ridiculous, but mainly because it was designed to protect a political career, not the public. Our district has had enough of political posturing and the proposal of new rules that make little sense.

As the Libertarian candidate for Congress in the 12th district I intend to focus on real problems and concerns of my constituents. People like me are tired of posturing and wasted efforts while there are serious problems to be addressed in our community. We need real action; we need real change. We do not need to carry citizenship papers in our wallets. Whenever this has been required in the past, it came to no good end. Stop the posturing. Focus on the health and safety of our entire community. Let’s get past this pandemic and back to work, to school, to living our lives.

Liz Terwilliger Announces Candidacy for Congress for the 12th District

“We need more participation, not less, so we can have a government that is of the people rather than one that is imposed upon them”

On April 2nd supporters gathered at multiple events to hear Liz Terwilliger announce her candidacy for congress here in the 12th District. Liz is planning to run as the Libertarian candidate and has plans to promote sweeping changes in her district.

Her announcement speech emphasized the sad state of affairs that she wants to address. “Every time I turn around it seems there’s another behemoth legislative package being proposed or pushed through Congress, explained Liz, “Giant packages of legislation hiding untold overreach and spending in their hundreds of pages!”.

Liz went on to bemoan the laundry list of pushes being considered by Congress, including expanding gun control, more lockdowns and other restrictions on liberty, using the past year’s pandemic as an excuse. “Now there is talk of requiring Vaccine Passports,” observed Liz. “Politicians love to use any emergency as an excuse to create more restrictive laws on all of us.”

The key to representing District 12 in Congress is transparency, says Liz – something that is currently lacking. “Transparency is essential to an engaged electorate, Liz explained, “To me, transparency means knowing who’s behind a bill, the individuals and the special interests. It means knowing what’s in a bill before it is passed into law. It means clear, concise legislation on a single topic so that we, the people, know what’s being debated and are empowered to join the conversation.”

“We need people to feel empowered, to join in the conversation, to feel included and welcome. We need more participation, not less, so we can have a government that is of the people rather than one that is imposed upon them,” said Liz.

Supporters enthusiastically applauded when Liz vowed to “use the megaphone of office to champion the Libertarian principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility, of fiscal conservatism and non-aggression…. I will work to repeal laws that infringe upon our freedoms and will motion to amend legislative packages to remove unrelated items, excess spending or provisions that restrict our liberties.”

Liz will be focusing on building community consensus through the district. Her committee has been working with local partners to promote volunteerism and self-sufficiency. In the coming weeks there will be opportunities for the public to speak personally with Liz to voice their opinions and learn about how she intends to promote the idea of personal freedom throughout her community.

Stop Kicking the Can Down the Road

                Pennsylvanians are reeling from the effects of Governor Wolf’s economic lockdowns to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Unfortunately, the only thing he achieved with this policy was economic destruction for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.  Many businesses have shuttered, causing permanent job loss or career change for their employees and many more are still hanging on, but only by a thread.

                The Governor’s response to the crisis that he helped manufacture was submitted to the legislature earlier this month.  A slew of tax increases on every Pennsylvania worker and small business owner.  A 46% increase in the state’s Personal Income Tax.  This is absurd.  This is the equivalent of kicking us while we are down.

                The Independent Fiscal Office released their assessment of Pennsylvania’s fiscal situation and the outlook for the economy.  It is not good.  Massive budget deficits paired with less than half of the jobs lost under the Governor’s lockdown is leading to a lost economy.  Pennsylvania businesses and workers are fleeing the Commonwealth, leading to a bleak future with higher taxes on those of us who stay.

                Our legislature is not innocent either.  They have consistently voted to kick the budgetary can down the road every year.  The Independent Fiscal Office was projecting deficits of more than $1,1 billion per year, even before the Governor’s lockdown orders were implemented.

                The inability to act on our budget deficits is not only going to lead to higher taxes in Pennsylvania, but to a further drop in population.  Once the 2020 census is finalized, projections already show that Pennsylvania will lose a seat in Congress, shrinking the Commonwealth’s delegation from 18 representatives in the US House of Representatives to 17.  The Independent Fiscal Office projects that Pennsylvania’s population will decline by 1% (about 128,000 people) between 2021 and 2030.  That will most likely lead to more lost representation in Congress.

                Our legislators and governor are enslaving us to government debt.  They are enslaving us to higher taxes.  We are taxed enough already.  They are enslaving us to a future that none of us deserve.  They need to stop kicking the can.  We cannot afford it anymore.

Ryan Bourinski

(Sources)

https://www.fox43.com/article/news/politics/pennsylvania-projected-to-lose-a-congressional-seat-after-the-census/521-05aa85cf-e2e4-483c-b8ee-21d10e1c78a4

https://www.budget.pa.gov/PublicationsAndReports/CommonwealthBudget/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.ifo.state.pa.us/releases/417/Five-Year-Economic-and-Budget-Outlook/

In the March Newsletter…

Liz Terwilliger delivers donation bin to area businesses

Thank you for your continued interest in and support of my campaign.

Since the PA budget season is in full swing, in this edition of the newsletter I have invited Ryan Bourinski, Libertarian Party candidate for Northumberland County Controller, to share his thoughts on the economy.

I want to thank everyone who helped to make our February organ donation awareness and food pantry event in Sayre, PA a success! Thanks to food donated by Child Hunger Outreach Partners in Towanda, PA, we were able to provide a month’s supply of food to 50 families. We shared information about other sources of food in the community as well as information on organ donation with those 50 families and others that arrived after we ran out of food. Special thanks to the two local families who shared their stories about being organ recipients.

We are in the midst of our March Personal Care and Hygiene Drive. My Campaign Committee has partnered with the Lycoming County Libertarian Committee and the Libertarian Party of Tioga County (PA) for this event. In all three counties businesses are volunteering to be donation drop off locations. In Bradford and Tioga Counties we will be distributing donated items in the form of personal kits at a pop-up pantry style event in early April. In Lycoming County, donations will be distributed to the YWCA in Williamsport. We will continue placing collection bins at participating businesses throughout the month of March. The bins will be out through March 28th, when we plan to collect them and begin distribution. I hope you can join us in this event. You can follow what’s happening by clicking here.

On April 2nd we will be holding a special event at Bald Birds Brewing Company in Jersey Shore, PA to officially kick off my run for the Libertarian Party nomination for the 12th Congressional District seat in 2022. I hope you can join us for an evening of fun as we kick off our campaign at our Restoring Liberty event! Learn more and register to join us by clicking here.

Please contact us with your ideas for ways we can positively impact your community!

   ~Liz Terwilliger

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our campaign so far! We have had generous financial donors, but we’ve also had people generously give of their time and talents.

Thank you, Heather Moffett for donating your time and talents to make campaign specific face masks for us! And Thank you, Kate Crosby for donating your time and talents to work with me on designs and emblazoning hats with our campaign logo!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my all volunteer campaign committee for the countless hours and invaluable expertise that they have lent to this effort so far. I am excited to work with this brilliant and growing team in the coming months! Together we will bring change!

My most excellent campaign team includes

  • Ryan Bourinski, Campaign Manager
  • Kurt Golden, Campaign Manager’s Assistant
  • Sally Combs, Contact & Volunteer Coordinator
  • Adele Barone, Fundraising Coordinator
  • Jenn Weir, Event Coordinator
  • Steve Wahrhaftig, Media Relations & Marketing Advisor
  • Mandie Reusch, Social Media Coordinator

All of your work is truly appreciated!

~Liz Terwilliger

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