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House bill about cross-filing raises questions

House Bill 2093 was passed Monday by the State Government Committee and could come up for a full vote in the next session of the state House as early as Jan. 24.

HB 2093 is intended to eliminate the ability for persons running for school board to cross-file their candidacy and run on both tickets in the primary. Our own local Rep. Marci Mustello, R-11th, actually introduced the bill. It’s good to have the people representing our area get involved and not have it be for the crazy antics we have watched from Reps. Bernstine and Metcalfe. No minors smoking cigars or homophobic rants involved with this bill.

But we do have questions about it. Mustello has always been available to us and open in her comments about her positions, which we greatly appreciate.

HB 2093 seems to have partisan roots though and may not be what we consider to be in the voters best interest even if Mustello’s intentions are pure.

If in fact it would become law, then why should it only apply to school boards. Wouldn’t the same issues apply to city council for instance?

In almost every election cycle for school board, most of the successful candidates do currently cross-file and are often successful in gaining the “highly paid” positions. Of course they are not paid positions but sometimes mostly a popularity contest as opposed to someone really evaluating the skill-set one brings to the board if elected.

Should it really matter whether they are attached at the hip to a certain party? If in fact they are hoping an R or a D is going to bring them votes, they can always put that on their campaign literature, billboards, emery boards and buttons. Certainly, the R next to this writer’s name doesn’t preclude our position on anything. We get just as many rants about being too liberal as we do about being too conservative. If we fail to use that D or R, will we automatically lose the endorsement of the committee of the party? We would expect so, especially if we have pledged to always support that party. We should be bound by our word. That only makes sense.

We would very much support the position of school director being nonpartisan. School board votes should never follow party lines just for the sake of following party lines.

Do you really not know anyone of the opposite party that wouldn’t make a great school board director? Don’t you know at least one current member of your political party that frequently embarrasses you when they speak? We certainly do.

We believe that Mustello’s intentions were very good with this bill. But then the politicians got involved. Now it’s twisting in the wind as Republicans and Democrats alike try to spin it until the masses get dizzy enough to fall over in their direction.

We are glad HB 2093 has been brought forward for discussion, but right now it sits as just another partisan bill hoping to get to the floor with the right timing to squeak by and then avoid a veto. It’s all a game, and just like the Colts learned after getting upset by Jacksonville on Sunday, there is a reason they play the game. Upsets do happen, so Mustello we encourage you to continue to find resolutions to the problems in Pennsylvania politics, but we think this one needs a little more work.

— RV

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