This letter to the editor was submitted to LebTown. Read our submission policy here.

Three candidates for the open PA 48th Senatorial District seat spoke about substantive issues during the April 20 League of Women Voters forum. Democrat Calvin (Doc) Clements, Independent Ed Krebs and Libertarian Tim McMaster tackled gerrymandering, education, property tax reform, mail-in voting, COVID, policing, wages and other matters that go to the heart of residents’ worries.

But you know who was missing? Republican candidate Christopher Gebhard. Apparently he is so sure he has the election wrapped up as a Republican in a red district that he feels he doesn’t need to bother. 

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He later told a PennLive reporter that he had another commitment, but he didn’t even have the decency to respond when the League of Women Voters of the Harrisburg Area reached out to him on multiple occasions by phone and email. 

Apparently he preferred to dodge voters’ questions.

He is arrogant enough to think he doesn’t need to  talk to his constituents. He assumes he will win, so he doesn’t care.

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Maybe he’s right. The county has a tradition of voting for the Republican, no matter his qualifications or his stand on the issues.

But are the people of Lebanon County really happy with the leadership here? We made national news for our large number of COVID cases and our small number of vaccinated residents. That’s what happens when our state representatives tell us that putting a small piece of cloth across your mouth to prevent the spread of a deadly disease is “living in fear,” or “taking away our liberties.” Or that asking children to wear a mask so we can open schools is “child abuse.” The result is a COVID outbreak which makes it harder – not easier – to open our businesses.

Maybe it’s time to take a look at other options. Anybody who would like to see what Clements, Krebs and McMaster have to say on the issues that affect your daily lives can listen to a recording of the Zoom meeting at lwvhbg.org.

This is an important election for an open seat. Every registered voter can cast their ballot, whether Republican, Democrat, Independent or other. The winner will be decided at the primary election in May, not the general election in November.

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The gerrymandered 48th district includes all of Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York.

Monica von Dobeneck is a retired newspaper reporter. She lives in South Londonderry Township.

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