The upcoming 8th Councilmanic district election marks the first highly competitive race in a dozen years. And the stakes are high.
The upcoming 8th Councilmanic district election marks the first highly competitive race in a dozen years. And the stakes are high. The 8th District includes all or some of 10 different neighborhoods, all of which are facing a range of problems – including a lack of affordable housing and a rise in crime. The outcome of this election also may have broader implications, as the incumbent Councilmember Cindy Bass, with more seniority than most of her peers, potentially could win the powerful role of City Council president if reelected.
The Chestnut Hill Local is partnering with the neighborhood groups West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) and East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN), among others, to offer residents a chance to consider each candidate carefully at a debate featuring Bass and her challenger, Seth Anderson-Oberman. The debate is scheduled for April 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 W. Ellet St.
This election is an opportunity for residents to choose their future – whether that’s staying the course by reelecting an incumbent or taking a different path with a political newcomer. Bass and Anderson-Oberman have distinctly different ideas about how to address the lack of affordable housing, for instance. And residents who are increasingly concerned about their safety and wellbeing as crime rates rise will want to consider what their elected leaders plan to do about that.
In a larger political landscape dominated by national issues, local elections like this one are more important than ever. Decisions made by local officials have a direct impact on the daily lives of residents, and their choices can have the power to build – and sometimes damage – their communities. The upcoming debate is a crucial opportunity for citizens to engage with the candidates, learn about their stances on pressing issues, and ultimately make an informed decision at the polls.
In the coming weeks, WMAN and EMAN also are joining forces to sponsor two other moderated town hall-style forums – one for mayoral candidates and the other for city council at-large candidates. Dates for those events are not yet available.
In-person voter registration will be integrated into all the events, with pre-printed cards featuring QR codes linking to Philadelphia's online voter registration system, and volunteers available to assist community members. Special efforts will be made to include renters in the community, who often are overlooked in engagement efforts and account for a significant portion of neighborhood diversity in terms of socioeconomic status and race.