My name is Rich Sterner, and I am running to represent the residents of State Senate District 33 in the Pennsylvania Senate. If you live in Adams County, Eastern Franklin County, Hanover and the surrounding townships, or Shippensburg and the surrounding townships, I am asking for your vote on November 3rd.
Today, I want to introduce myself to you and share my reasons for running for office.
I am the Democratic Party candidate for Pennsylvania Senate in District 33. However, I consider myself a moderate Democrat. In fact, for much of my voting life, I was a registered Republican – a “Reagan Republican.”
Although my party affiliation is Democrat, I do not focus on partisan political ideology. Instead, I focus on listening to and representing all residents of District 33.
Rather than following a party line, I seek to understand the facts surrounding an issue; to find a solution that will resolve the issue; and to secure support for that solution with anyone who agrees with me, regardless of party affiliation.
Even as a student in high school and college, I learned the importance of working with others for the good of everyone through my involvement in team sports and musical ensembles. As an athlete and musician, I learned to work with others to achieve something that I could never achieve on my own. I learned that everyone has something to contribute to the process, and everyone’s input needs to be valued.
In my early adult years, I spent a few months working as a UPS delivery driver. My brief stint as a UPS driver taught me one of my first, and most valuable, leadership lessons – Always look to the furthest point down the road.
Taking an action that is momentarily expedient and provides temporary relief is often not the best long-term strategy to address a problem. Sometimes it ends up making the problem worse. Visionary leadership requires the ability to see the long-term consequences of current actions.
As an adult, I spent 25 years in public education, first as a Social Studies teacher, then as a middle school and high school principal. I also coached football. In retirement, I am a member of the school board at Bermudian Springs School District. My experiences as a coach, teacher, principal and school board member have taught me how to bring people together around a common purpose and work to achieve a common goal.
My career in education taught me that there are many ways to resolve an issue. It also taught me that meaningful solutions require discussion, understanding, and ultimately compromise. The ability to “see the furthest point down the road” makes it easier to determine the best course of action to achieve long-term benefits.
I decided to run for Pennsylvania Senate because I believe this type of visionary, results-oriented leadership is sorely lacking in Harrisburg. There are too many problems not being resolved due to partisan, political posturing, and an unwillingness to compromise.
Too many of our State Representatives and State Senators concern themselves with playing to base constituencies rather than working toward solutions that benefit the vast majority of Pennsylvanians.
I am not interested in playing political games. I am interested in working with colleagues to find long-term solutions to difficult issues.
Those issues include:
- Providing affordable health insurance for everyone, which is not dependent on job security;
- Securing fair and equitable funding for K-12 schools; enacting property tax reform that maintains a high standard of local control;
- Maintaining clean air and clean waterways without job losses due to environmental restrictions;
- Putting an end to gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement;
- Finding solutions to gun violence that don’t impinge on Second Amendment rights;
- Promoting social justice and law enforcement reforms;
- Supporting volunteer emergency services and responders.
Achieving solutions to these issues requires leadership and vision; leadership that listens to all sides of an issue and consults with recognized experts; and vision that is focused on achieving a long-term goal and anticipates the consequences of short term actions.
As an example, throughout the current pandemic crisis I have consistently advocated for consulting with and following the guidance offered by medical experts, while keeping an eye on “the furthest point down the road” to ensure the health and safety for everyone.
As principal at Biglerville High School, I had the privilege of greeting each graduating senior individually. I shook their hands just before they received their diplomas. When I looked in their eyes, I saw the potential each one of them had to become a productive, contributing member of society. Ultimately, my decision to be your State Senator is motivated by my desire to help these young people fulfill that potential.
It is in that spirit that I ask for your vote.
Submitted by the Sterner for Pennsylvania campaign committee on behalf of Rich Sterner, 33rd District candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate.
Sterner is an Adams County resident.