As many of you who have read this paper, met me at your door or visited my website or Facebook page are aware, I am an Independent candidate for State House District 129. The current occupant of this seat has run unopposed for the last three elections (as do most of our state legislators) and I decided that I would make an effort to give her some competition. I did so knowing that I would have to collect at least 2,000 signatures from registered voters in the district. It seemed like an unfair requirement, but it is the law and it wasn’t a surprise.
For the first nine weeks of collecting signatures I averaged well over 100 a week and am more than halfway to my goal. Then COVID-19 hit and our world changed. Social distancing became an ever-present part of our vocabulary. Schools and businesses closed and many workers, including me, were temporarily sent home. Travel plans changed. My own plans to visit my father in Arizona had to be canceled as his senior living facility didn’t want any unnecessary visitors.
As most of us stayed home and tried to understand this health crisis, we heard about or witnessed the best and worst in human behavior. We saw people taking care of one another’s children and reaching out to do favors for elderly neighbors and, sadly, others grabbing a lifetime supply of hand sanitizer and toilet paper off the shelves of local stores.
A primary focus of my small world continues to be the need to collect signatures to reach my goal of earning a spot on the November ballot. While my health is excellent, (walking and running 5-8 miles a day has that effect) I know some residents may be even more anxious to open their door to a stranger who is requesting their signature on an election petition. I have appealed to the Secretary of State and have been granted a one-month extension to the signature collection process. I wish that I could be as certain that this crisis will end that quickly.
So, I ask you, dear voter, if I knock on your door will you feel comfortable opening it to receive my campaign literature and sign my petition? If you see my tent in the courthouse square, will you be willing to stop by and add your signature to my efforts to promote competition and democracy on this year’s ballot?
Nearly 250 years ago our nation’s founders began an experiment in democracy never before attempted. Now confronted with health and economic challenges previously unknown to most of us, my small part of this experiment will continue. Please let me know what you think I should do by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Reed of High Falls is an independent candidate for House District 129, which includes northern Monroe County.