Putting the presidential election in perspective

Why the down-ballot races are just as important

Michael Guido, News Editor

The 2020 election cycle has been consumed with the upcoming presidential election between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.
The eyes of the world are on this consequential race, and from now until Nov. 3, 95% of the political focus will be on which man will occupy the White House for four years.
However, lost in the discord is the importance of the down-ballot races, the races that truly have an effect on your day-to-day life.
Now, that’s not to say the presidential election isn’t important and that electing a president has no influence in your life. The president, after all, is the chief policy maker, commander of the armed forces, maintainer of the bully pulpit and the figurehead whom many look to in times of crisis and distress.
All of those aspects influence our lives to some degree.
Yet, the races that dictate how much funding your roads get, how much grant money your local schools get and how much business growth occurs in your local community come from the local down-ballot races.
The races for the state House, state Senate, Congress and others are the races seldom talked about but carry much weight.
It wasn’t President Trump who got Erie-based organizations $300,000 in state funding to help local residents with housing costs; that was instead spearheaded by Erie’s state house delegation featuring Rep. Ryan Bizzaro, Rep. Bob Merski and Rep. Pat Harkins.
It wasn’t Joe Biden who acquired nearly $3.5 million in water and sewer grants for Erie municipalities; that was state Sen. Dan Laughlin.
It wasn’t even our governor who sought and obtained grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Erie-based Community Health Net to assist the health care provider in combating COVID-19; that was Rep. Mike Kelly.
But do you know what all these elected officials have in common? They’re all on the ballot in November.
These are the elected officials who are closest to you as individuals and hear your concerns, fears and desires as both voters and constituents.
These are the people who take the ideas and input and craft it all into potential law.
But unfortunately, many voters can’t identify these offices or these officeholders. Whatever the reason may be, many are unaware of the role these individuals play in ensuring money comes back to the region, and the role they play in speaking for the communities they represent both on the state and federal level.
It’s important this election that even as you make the all-important decision of who to vote for for president, you also take the time to become an all-around informed voter.
Learn about the candidates, both Democrat and Republican. Learn about the issues, learn where the candidates stand, learn about what they have said and done and what they intend to do if elected. You as the voter have the power to determine if these people remain in office or get elected to office.
This November, cut through the noise and make your educated, informed voice heard at the ballot box.

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