To Earn Public Trust, Trust the Public

trustImage by Gerd Altmann
Op-Ed by Stephen Wahrhaftig, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Chester County

The Libertarian Party of Chester County is running candidates in several municipalities this year. Finding candidates can be a challenge for us, since Libertarians, by nature, do not want to be politicians and tend to avoid positions of power. This is because we believe that the average citizen is capable of self-regulation and does not need a politician to tell them how to behave.

In West Chester Borough, our candidate for mayor is Beth Ann Rosica. Beth is unlike the typical politician we are all used to. Like other Libertarians, she does not believe that government mandates are a good way to govern. The latest controversy has centered on vaccination status for borough employees. Ms. Rosica was the only candidate to speak up for the right of borough employees to make their own medical decisions. Every council member and mayoral candidate felt otherwise. The president of the council went as far as to state, “…I’m prepared to lose employees”. Incredibly, he then claimed, “This is not an overreach of our powers.” We beg to disagree, and so did the employees who thanked Beth for standing up for them at the meeting.

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The Chester County official website states that 87% of Chester County adults have received at least one vaccine dose. This is a higher rate than almost all of the country. Yet the call for mandates (or be fired) persists. The Libertarian opposition to mandates is not about vaccines. It is about government overreach. When politicians feel that they can infringe on the rights of their constituents today, they will do so again tomorrow.

At the recent mayoral debate one candidate admitted that “laws can’t mandate problems, people fix problems” but also said, “It is important that we do things to mandate people to do the right things”. Which is it, we wonder? Do we trust people to make decisions, or do we assume they are incapable of running their lives without political oversight?

West Chester borough is like the rest of Chester County – a diverse population of creative, intelligent individuals who offer a wellspring of experience that no individual mayor or city council can match. Why not use the energy and initiative of our community to help solve problems? We have a growing number of empty storefronts, lack of convenient parking, lack of affordable housing, and a fiscal deficit. The answers lie in our community members, borough employees, and university resources. Massive tracts of unused property could be generating desperately needed revenue for the borough. This is a problem waiting to be turned into an opportunity.

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The position of mayor in West Chester has been a stepping stone for those seeking higher office. As we have noted in these pages before, holding two elected positions at the same time is not acceptable to many of us. Conspiring to avoid voter choice when this occurs is something we hope to eliminate with a revision to the borough charter.

Our candidate has pledged to seek no higher office while serving as mayor of this wonderful town. That alone separates her from recent mayors. She is hoping to break the cycle of politics as usual. It is time to allow the community, including borough employees, to make their own decisions. After all, how can a candidate hope to earn public trust if they do not, in turn, trust the public?

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The Libertarian Party of Chester County promotes individual liberty for all residents of Chester County, Pennsylvania. The members are involved in volunteer activities throughout the community, and they work with local governments to ensure that laws and regulations conform to the state constitution. Their monthly meetings are open to the public, and are held at Timothy’s Restaurant in West Chester PA.


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One Comment on “To Earn Public Trust, Trust the Public”

  1. So do Libertarians believe in protecting the community from people who may exercise bad judgment? Think guns, dogs, harassment, unsafe vehicles, loud midnight parties….

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