Mayoral election

I have lived in the East End of Williamsport for 12 years, work here, am a homeowner, and, with my wife, I am raising my 4-year-old son here. I am also not a member of either major political party, and I vote based on issues and platforms, not the candidate’s party or identity. The upcoming mayoral election really matters to me, my family, and frankly anyone else who lives in Williamsport, because, our Mayor is the dominant force in city government and city government impacts us each day across every aspect of our lives. I am excited at the opportunity to choose between two fine candidates running for Mayor. But since an election is a choice, voters deserve the opportunity to learn the differences between the candidates. And, rightly or wrongly, in my busy life, I tend to rely on the press to provide that information in an accessible format …

I took some time to research the candidates and, in full disclosure, I now have an Eric Beiter for Mayor sign in my front yard. Mr. Beiter, as an experienced businessman, entrepreneur, and outsider to the political process, has promised to chart a bright future for Williamsport and I believe he has the qualities to follow through on those plans. His Contract with Williamsport presents objective information about what he stands for and a clear standard against which to judge his performance as a Mayor. That is accountability. It is also how a business operates, setting defined goals and working to achieve them, and I believe local government would benefit from a business-oriented restructuring and perspective. Mr. Beiter has experience managing a labor force and keeping it working efficiently; he is the man for the job of reforming City Hall. Furthermore, Mr. Beiter, as a businessman and entrepreneur, knows firsthand how to attract businesses to Williamsport and keep them and the jobs they provide here. Additionally, as the parent of a young child, I am very concerned about crime in the City, and I fully support community policing, where the police build and foster relationships with residents as individuals, rather than viewing residents as some collective problem. Mr. Beiter also supports community and park development, which is important to those of us with limited space. These are some of the reasons Mr. Beiter has my support.

However, I also mentioned earlier in this letter that there is another fine candidate for Mayor, even though I do not support him in this election, and he is Derek Slaughter. I voted for Mr. Slaughter in his election to City Council, and I believe he has generally performed well in that capacity. But, in conducting my research of his record, I was unable to actually find any legislation he had proposed while he was on Council, even just legislation to make government smaller or more efficient. This concerns me if it is true that he has not proposed any legislation. Additionally, Mr. Slaughter’s campaign features slogans and terms like “good government” and “accountability” without any concrete proposals for how he plans to make Williamsport a better place to live. I have been unable to find any Contract or similar plan he is proposing with Williamsport, and it causes me to wonder if he is a candidate much like our outgoing Mayor, who was also a school teacher with City Council experience and became Mayor as a promotion. Mr. Slaughter, an educator with no apparent management experience, will likely have a significant learning curve to manage city government efficiently. In fairness, Mr. Slaughter does have some experience (roughly 20 months) with city government as a Councilman, but as I indicated earlier, I favor a business management approach to the problems we face …

I want to be clear that my vote for Mr. Beiter represents my sharing in his vision to improve Williamsport, not necessarily an indictment of Mr. Slaughter as a Councilman or a candidate. Our shared future needs to be decided by informed voters. Do your own research, draw your own conclusions, and vote accordingly.

Josh Cochran


Submitted via Virtual Newsroom


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