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Why I am Running (Vera Cole)

I am asked, why are you running? (My grandfather would’ve surely said, “Someone chasing you?”!) I am running because I love Pennsylvania and our Upper Bucks community and I am very, very concerned about what is happening, and not happening, in Harrisburg.

Functioning and responsible state government is necessary—to educate our children, take care of seniors, provide necessary social services, keep our communities safe and our systems just, protect our environment, assure our right to vote and pay our bills. Yet Pennsylvania state government is in turmoil, ineffective even at the most basic of tasks: passing a budget. And, the failings are beyond simply being inept—perjury, ethics charges, misconduct, extortion, bribery, pornography. Are you kidding me?

A recent poll from Franklin & Marshall College confirms that I am not alone in my concern. Two thirds of Pennsylvanians said that the state is “on the wrong track.” And the number one problem facing the state? Government and politicians. Unbelievable. They should be helping to fix problems—not be the problem. This is the United States. Our government is elected by us to serve us.

I had to think very long and carefully about this decision to run. I have a job I love, teaching Energy and Sustainability Policy at Penn State. My life is already full with volunteer work, wonderful friends and a large, loving, growing family. Yet, everyone I talked with said, in so many words, you would be great. Do it! You can help. You know this stuff. You love this stuff. You’re just the kind of person we NEED in Harrisburg. I agreed.

For my love of Pennsylvania, the people in my life and community, the great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews I haven’t yet met, the mountains and forests and waterways and all that inhabit them, I am running. I think I can help. For me, it is truly and only a matter of service.

I am more, however, than willing-to-do-my job and not-corrupt. I am an engineer and an educator, with a PhD and a long history of experience of working with large corporations, small high-tech startups, nonprofits and academia. I am known for my preparedness, attention to detail, friendly candor, willingness to work with others and determination to get the job done. I work really hard, and love it. I’m just kind of wired that way. And, maybe it’s the engineer in me, but I LOVE good ideas. And it doesn’t matter where they come from.

If given the opportunity to serve, I will work with others not only to address today’s business, but to look beyond the end of our noses and think about how we can do better. There are some great ideas out there, and new ones to come, no doubt! What can we do together to assure that all Pennsylvanians have a full opportunity to enjoy a safe, comfortable and happy life?  Let’s just say it will be a very different conversation than the one we are having in and about state government today. I can hardly wait.

Paid for by Friends of Vera Cole
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