OP-ED: Climate, open primaries earn Young Awards
Opening Pennsylvania's primaries and leaving climate science to scientists were the topics of our Hiram Young Award winners for May and June.
The results of the May primary were enough to convince Vic Castellano of Springettsbury Township to call for opening Pennsylvania's nominating contests to all voters, regardless of their party affiliation.
And Washington Township resident Mike Omlor took presidential candidate Rick Santorum to task last month for substituting his opinion of climate change for the scientific research that has convinced 97 percent of the experts that the phenomenom is real.
Named in honor of our founder, the Hiram Young Award is given each month to a letter-writer who weighed in recently on the issues, large and small, affecting our community.
Castellano and Omlor will be invited to come in for coffee with our editorial board to see how we form our opinions — and perhaps offer their own on the topic of the day.
Opinion submissions should be directed to editorial page editor Patrick DeLany via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be 400 words or less, while Other Voices op-eds can be up to 800 words.
For verification purposes, all letters must be signed by the writer and should include his or her full address and daytime telephone number. Call DeLany at 505-5418 with questions.
Here are the winning letters:
PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN
Open Pa.'s primaries
Enough is enough. It's time for Pennsylvania's open primary elections to begin. Do you believe our constitutional right to freedom of speech is abridged?
Well, I do.
In the primary election, it is my right to vote for the candidate of my choice, not the parties. I look at the person, the content of his/her character, the one to best serve the people. To do so now may require a person to temporarily divorce oneself from their political party affiliation and be deemed a turncoat or traitor to the party. What a price to pay for freedom of choice. So unjust.
This brings to mind Susan Byrnes, a candidate for county commissioner. She is one of many voters who changed party lines just to support Tom Wolf for governor in the primary election. She endured an unjust attack on her character for having the courage to exercise her right to vote for the person of her choice. It has been done, it is done, and it will continue under this archaic law until it is changed.
To assume that our qualified candidates for county commissioner hold animosity or discontent for one another is absurd.
I believe all elected Republican and Democratic commissioners can work together, having the best interest of their constituents in mind.
It is time for Gov. Wolf and the General Assembly in Harrisburg to come to the aid of their party. The people have spoken. We rally around the call for open primary elections.
Santorum should take own advice
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum needs to follow Rick Santorum's advice. On June 18, the pope is expected to release his much anticipated encyclical on the environment, a statement from the Catholic Church on the moral issues associated with climate change, in hopes of rallying Catholics worldwide and having an impact on climate negotiations being held in Paris this December.
In a Philadelphia radio station interview this week, Rick Santorum gave some excellent advice, saying, "We probably are better off leaving science to the scientists." Santorum also told radio host Dom Giordano, "The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science."
But the church is siding with science, as 97 percent of climate scientists agree that we need dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels to prevent the planet from catastrophic warming.
If only Rick Santorum would follow his own advice and stop dismissing the scientific consensus and now the Catholic Church. Instead, he is substituting his own opinion for science and clinging to denial.
Last year was the warmest year on record, according to NASA, and this year is on track to beat 2014 as warmest on record. Global warming is not going away. Closing our eyes and wishing the problem away is no solution.
I for one will make sure I seek out the climate change views of every presidential candidate and vote for a leader who will listen to what the science, and now the pope, is telling us. I pray they soon start listening.