Gettysburg area politicans use Mara Auditorium as electoral battleground

Bob Jackson, Terry Adamik and Professor Benjamin Melusky discuss the issues in Mara Auditorium. Photo Courtesy of Brendan Raleigh

By Brendan Raleigh, Web Editor

The immediate future of Adams County’s political landscape may have been decided this past Monday, Oct. 21, when candidates running for the positions of district magistrate, sheriff and treasurer of Adams County faced-off against one another in a series of debates in Mara Auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Gettysburg College alumnus and Adjunct Professor of Political Science Benjamin Melusky moderated the six candidates as they discussed their various positions on local politics.

“The foundation of the American political system is one based on discussion and differing views,” says Melusky. “[These debates] afford candidates an opportunity to express the views and concerns […] and provide potential voters an opportunity to view their vote choices, standing sideby- side and expressing their differing views.”

Despite having never moderated a debate before, Melusky decided to assist in the coordination of this event after learning of a number of the College’s political science majors’ interest in organizing it themselves.

Junior Logan Phillips is one of the students aiding, along with Melusky, in the organization of the upcoming debate. A political science major, Phillips believes holding and attending such discussions to be imperative for anyone who cares about local politics.

“I think the debate is vital for anyone who is even considering voting in this year’s election,” commented Phillips.

“It is easy to look at things through partisan politics […] but on the local level, it is all about the quality of the individual candidate. Often, the best guy for the job is in a different party. So ,if people want their vote to be informed and responsibly made, learning more about the candidates and attending this debate is a must.”

Melusky opened the event with a quote from Yale political scientist Robert Dahl, stating “‘Politics is a sideshow in the great circus of life,’” before introducing the candidates.

The first to speak were Republican Bob Jackson and 1 5-year-incumbent Terry Adamik for treasurer.

Early on, Jackson established the tone he would set if elected, stating that the job of the treasurer is to “ensure streams of income are maximized,” through the sale of gun permits, pet licenses and gambling permits. Both candidates endorsed the idea of expanding the position of treasurer.

Jackson and Adamik were followed by Republican Matthew Harvey and Democratic nominee Tracey Sheffer, who are vying for the position of Magisterial District Judge, which will soon be vacated by current Judge Thomas Carr.

The candidates for the sheriff’s race, Republican incumbent Jim Muller and Democrat Michael Redding, were also scheduled to debate but Muller was unable to attend due to a family emergency. Chief deputy Len Supenski spoke on his behalf, but did not answer any of the moderator’s questions.

Overall, Melusky was more than satisfied with the outcome of the debate, receiving positive feedback from both candidates and audience members.

“I had one father come up to me with his two children,” recalls Melusky. “And thank me for providing the opportunity to attend this debate. He told me that it was important that his children, and youth more generally, be exposed to political discourse and be involved in the political process. […] Taken together, Gettysburg College was able to provide an essential service to the community.”

The debate was sponsored by the Gettysburg College Political Science Department, the College Republicans, the College Democrats and the Gettysburg Times.

Another debate will follow on Oct. 23, hosted by the Adams County Democratic Committee, between Treasurer Nominees Adamik and Jackson in the Nicary Meeting House. This event will be moderated by Alex Hayes, an editor of The Gettysburg Times newspaper.

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Author: Brendan Raleigh

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