Dems picnic focuses on good food, candidates and getting out the vote

Encouraging area residents to register to vote and be a part of the democratic process, the Lycoming County Democratic Committee held a picnic and voter registration rally Sunday at Memorial Park.

“It matters” was the theme of the event – which featured food, music and speakers – as they stressed that every vote counts.

John Mussare, chairman of the committee, explained that citizens should want to vote because they care about themselves. He said the only way to have government work for the public is to have its voice heard.

“We need to have our voices heard. And how do you have your voice heard? You vote, bottom line,” he told the group that gathered at the event.

Mussare went on to say that local elections are just as important as state and presidential elections, as local elections directly affect the city and county.

“Are you concerned about what’s going on in the city? Are you concerned about pool closings? Are you concerned about shootings? Are you concerned about where money is being spent or, more importantly, where it’s not being spent?” Mussare said.

“Everything these people do on a daily basis impacts your life,” he added.

State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport, also talked about the importance of local elections.

“Local elections are as important as presidential elections,” Mirabito said.

Among other issues, Mirabito said that by making the public’s voice heard it allowed it to push out the “old boy system” that he said currently is running things locally.

Warren Earl, committee chairman of voter registration, said that the weekend event was just the first of many efforts the committee would be doing to get as many citizens registered as it could. In the coming weeks, Earl said the committee plans on “flooding the city.”

He explained that volunteers will be canvassing the city to register those who have yet to do so. Earl also encouraged those at Sunday’s picnic to help.

“Nobody’s going to leave today without at least two or three (voter registration forms),” he said.

Joshua Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners, who came to the event to show support, also noted that citizens get to “sit at the table” to create change when they register to vote.

And although Mussare believes the best candidates are in the democratic party, he said the goal of the event was to make sure everyone had their voice heard.

“I want people to register. Who you ultimately vote for is a personal thing but just vote,” he said.