Local politics are often met with apathy and skepticism. Voters tend to think of candidates acting on behalf of a personal agenda rather than for the benefit of the community.
The candidates of the 8th District City Council election are trying to change this assumption. “This is not a rehearsed position,” 8th District City Council candidate Verna Tyner said. “It is a day-to-day job where the candidate must interact with the community.”
Tyner, one of seven candidates for the City Council seat, has seen a lot of “fluff” politics over the past couple of months and she is not thrilled about it. She has tried to avoid any type of rehearsing in her own campaign by meeting hundreds of voters and listening to their concerns.
Tyner wants the residents of the 8th District to know that she is a “real” candidate and one that has been involved in the community for over 40 years.
The 8th District Candidate debate on Wednesday, April 27, will be an ideal platform for her to promote her plans and experience. The debate will be held at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, located at 35 W. Chelten Ave.
After months of participating in individual events, the debate will bring the candidates together to discuss their differing views on how the district should be represented. One thing many of the candidates can agree on is that change is vital to the survival of the district.
“The only thing I’ve learned about the district is that we all want the same thing,” Tyner said, “which is good representation, fair and open process, someone to listen to and understand their needs. We need economic development and we need jobs.”
Communication between residents and their leaders is an integral aspect of Tyner’s campaign and is exhibited in her upcoming graduation from LaSalle University with a degree in communications. The debate will serve as a larger platform for residents not familiar with Tyner to become more acquainted with her agenda.
The debate follows the three “Eyes on the Eighth” voters’ forums that were hosted by newsworks.org. The forums gave a chance for voters to voice their concerns about the current state of the district and what they hope the newly elected official will accomplish in office. Although the forums often had a low turnout, they allowed for those in attendance to let their voices be heard.
The moderated discussions brought out the most important issues to residents. The discussions included concerns for housing, education, job, zoning and public safety. A major issue that many candidates are still trying to establish who they are and what they stand for.
Candidate Howard Treatman, an influential member of the Germantown community for 17 years, has gone door to door to inform voters that he is a “true, independent candidate” who is not tied to other politicians.
Candidate Robin Tasco, member of the International Brotherhood of Electricians Workers Local 98, isn’t worried about preparing for the debate. “If you know the issues and you know the concerns, there really shouldn’t be any surprises. I believe I know what they are throughout the district,” Tasco said. “So what’s there to prepare for?”
Democratic candidate Greg Paulmier has had plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming debate. Besides living in the 8th District all his life, the 2011 election is his fourth time running for the City Council position. “I ran after her [Donna Reed Miller’s] very first term. I knew a change was needed,” Paulmier said.
Neighborhood Networks, a grassroots organization dedicated to connecting locals on a social and political level, recently endorsed Paulmier for the 8th District City Council position. This endorsement is an indication that Paulmier is reaching out to a new audience.
“From the past I have had a solid group in each election I’ve run in,” Paulmier said. “This election I feel that I have attracted a number of newer people that really add a great dynamic and new energy to the campaign. It’s kind of like a snowball effect.”
The 8th District Candidate Debate will most likely not conclude in a yelling match between opponents. It will, however, offer voters a chance to be able to differentiate the candidates from one another when presented on a leveled playing field.
In the coming weeks Verna Tyner will continue to show she is real by hosting rallies and events leading up to the elections on May 17. She will make room for some virtual campaigning though, “Of course we will be using social media. It’s the way of the world today.”
More information about the 8th District Candidate debate can be found here.
G-Town radio will stream the event live.