The Centurion

A Sit Down with Bucks Instructor and Congressional Candidate Steve Bacher

Gabby Houck

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I met Steve Bacher at a quaint deli not far from the Newtown campus. He rushed into the restaurant, about 10 minutes late and while eagerly shaking my hand, confessed to me through a chuckle “I think the hardest thing about all of this has been trying to be on time!” He then apologized profusely for being late, as if my time, the time of a rookie student journalist even mattered in the midst of his congressional campaign.
And if you’re reading this and the name Bacher sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably had him for your 8 a.m. comp. 110 class last semester. Or you might have seen him on campus protesting fracking. Steve was also the former head of the Bucks Digital marketing department for eight years, and now, the lifelong democrat is running for his chance to unseat Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.
When I asked Steve what shaped his political views he told me, “My mother was a social worker, so I grew up hearing about those less fortunate than me… and my father was an engineer, so I grew up hearing about solar panels and rechargeable batteries.”
In between bites of his scrambled egg and cheese sandwich, his “usual” as he told our waitress, he told me that the election of President Trump, and Congressman Fitzpatrick both had a hand in inspiring him to run for the congressional seat of the 8th district.
To some, Steve may seem like a rookie candidate, but after sitting down with him I learned that in 2007 he ran for Freeholder in Cape May County, N.J. Steve actually became the first democratic candidate in a Cape May County to even come close to winning a position in local government.
“I watched state senators run unopposed, elections would come and go and I’d rarely see a Democrat even bother to run, and when they did, they wouldn’t even show up for debates.”
After seeing this for five years Steve went to the head of the party and said, “Look, if you have anyone better than me that’s great, but if you don’t, I’ll at least show up for the debates.”
Fast forward 11 years later, and nearly the same situation happened again, Steve watched Congressmen Fitzpatrick’s website closely for months, waiting for him to comment on racist hate speech incidents happening in the area.
“I watched his website, waiting for a public statement, I watched his Facebook feed, his twitter feed, and there was nothing. Veterans Day came, then thanksgiving came, and he celebrated those, but still there was nothing about the hate speech incidents.”
“Finally December rolled around and I just couldn’t contain myself, I wrote a letter to the editor kinda calling him out for his shameful silence, then lo and behold he showed up to an anti-hate speech event about a month later.”
However, this appearance wasn’t enough for Steve. When talking about this situation with Fitzpatrick, Steve referenced the quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “We won’t remember the hateful words of our enemies, what we will remember is the silence of our friends.” Steve went on to say “He [Fitzpatrick] claims to be a friend to everyone in the community, but he was silent.” Fitzpatrick’s silence is what can be seen as Steve’s political breaking point. Following the congressman’s failure to speak on the matter, Steve went to several people in his party. When no democrat he knew would step up, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
I contacted Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office about Steve’s comments but he declined to answer.
And while a congressional seat may hold a little more weight than that of a freeholder, it doesn’t seem to be effecting Steve’s confidence, especially in front of audiences of potential voters.
It’s funny, while I sat with Steve he was gentle, quiet, almost sort of reserved. He didn’t have the attitude or ego that you’d usually expect from a politician. He even apologized for eating during our interview, and at one point he leaned into his campaign manager, Mary, and jokingly said, “Just stop me if I say something stupid.”
But at the meet the candidate’s night for the Warminster democrats, Steve brought a new energy to the room. An energy that made you forget about the smell of weak coffee and the fact that this meeting had gone almost an hour over its allotted time.
Steve was the only candidate that didn’t bring up the Super Bowl for cheap applause, he adhered only to what mattered.
He spoke of a living wage for minimum wage workers. Bringing an end to fracking through the climate dividend proposal, a proposal that would raise the price of fossil fuels and would force an end to fracking. Steve also made vocal that night that he’s a proud feminist and the funding of Planned Parenthood should never be in danger. These are just some of the issues Steve hopes to tackle if he were to be elected.
Steve met the crowd excitedly. He ran up and asked us all to stand, loosen up, and liven up, so that we could all be fully prepared for what he was about to say. He even urged us to grab some donuts, telling us he didn’t mind. Steve even refused a mic, which, in a room full of people with hearing aids, is a risky move.
When I thought of the contrast between crowd Steve, and, one-on-one Steve, I remembered what he told me about speaking before crowds.
“You know the beauty of teaching an 8 a.m. was that it forced me to just come in and start talking even if my brain wasn’t really ready for it.”
“You want to be able to answer questions on the fly, but more importantly, you sometimes only have five minutes to speak, so you need to make that five minutes the best you possibly can. It doesn’t make me nervous, but I will admit I do struggle with memorization.”
That night Steve did have his notecards in hand, but it wasn’t like watching an awkward high schooler read off the slide of a presentation. He knew what he was there to say, the notecards were just there to keep him on track when the audience got a little too excited. He coolly glanced down every so often, but never got lost.
Steve left morale high for the democrats who want nothing more than to take back this swing district. He eagerly told the room of potential voters that “It’s all about exciting people, you have to excite them to get out and vote, and that’s what I want to do.”
Steve left the front of the room with the roar of applause at his heels, he had officially excited that audience to take their district back, and inspired hope in those who are very unsatisfied with our current congressman.
The Democratic Party primary election takes place on May 15, 2018, where Steve will be running against fellow democratic candidates Scott Wallace and Rachel Reddick. In the meantime, check out Steve’s Facebook page “Steve Bacher for Congress” and see where he’s speaking next. If you had him last semester, he may have not made you excited to write an analytical essay, but he just might inspire you to get out and vote.

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