Coffee With the Candidates

John Fey, Centurion Staff

Bucks Democrats hosted “Coffee with Candidates,” an event to give students an opportunity to speak face-to-face with Bucks County Democratic candidates before the midterm elections.
“This is the most important election of my life,” said congressional candidate Scott Wallace.
Wallace later lost to Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick by about 9,000 votes.
While Wallace was the star of the show among his other candidates, students in attendance also had the pleasure of speaking to other Bucks County Democrats like Perry Warren of Newtown, Tina Davis of Bristol, and Wendy Ullman of Plumstead Township.
Wendy Ullman is no stranger to the Newtown campus. She was a former English professor at Bucks who is ran on the promise of protecting those in her district. Her pamphlet has her quoted saying “I will challenge the status quo for the hard working families of Bucks County.”
Ullman ended up winning a seat long held by republican Marguerite Quinn, she is now the state representative for the 143rd state house district.
Wendy was eager to speak to students, “This event gives students the opportunity to talk to candidates, and we hear you!”
When asked about the current administration, Wendy commented “We’re just not doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” referring to both Republicans and fellow Democrats in office.
But Ullman plans to change all that. One way she plans on doing so is by pushing for universal background checks for those wishing to purchase firearms. She mentioned how Bucks County has been affected by this, mentioning the killings of four young men last year by Cosmo DiNardo.
“Our students and younger generation should be a major priority to us,” Ullman said.
The message of protecting students and all people in Bucks County was shared by all the politicians enjoying coffee and food with students and faculty.
One other such politician was Meredith Buck of Chalfont. Buck knows what it means to care for others. A longtime nurse, she volunteered with the Red Cross to give medical aid to those at Ground Zero on 9/11. She has also been an attorney for the last 15 years.
“We are about the people, and we will listen to the people,” Buck said.
Buck ended up losing her race for the 144th state representative seat to Republican and former U.S. Navy pilot Todd Polinchock.
Another hopeful Democrat at the event was Helen Tai of Solebury, a member of the House of Representatives from the 178th District.
Helen was the first minority woman state representative in district 178, a big change for the area and encouraging to see the diversity of voters in the Bucks County area.
Helen knows some students don’t necessarily care about politics, she said, “Voting is a privilege that we should all take advantage of, everyone has some reason to vote whether you realize it or not, so have your voice heard!”
Helen spoke of the main issues she would push if elected: healthcare, funding education, and protecting the citizens in her district.
She was elected in a Special Election in May and hoped to secure her position, but ended up losing her seat to Wendi Thomas on Nov. 6.
Campaign manager PJ O’Brien also spoke on why young citizens need to realize how these elected officials decide on so many major things like the economy, job availability, and healthcare.
“We need to realize so many of our decisions run through the people we choose to run our country.” O’Brien said.
Around 10:30 a.m., Scott Wallace entered the Solarium with a crowd of supporters and students surrounding him. A few students with “Wallace for Congress” shirts could be seen amongst the crowd.
Having Wallace, arguably the most talked about Democrat in the Bucks County elections present, made the event all the more serious. One could see the interest in politics in the students and staff of Bucks when it came time for him and other Democrats to ask questions.
Wallace spoke of healthcare at length and what he would do to protect it for all residents of Bucks County. He wants to make sure Medicare is available to all those in need, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.
At one point while speaking, Wallace mentioned the downsides of his opponent Brian Fitzpatrick. He believes that Fitzpatrick, who supports many of the policies of President Trump, is working to help the wealthy 1 percent, something Wallace opposes greatly.
He also mentioned Fitzpatrick’s strong ties to Paul Ryan, something Wallace mentioned in previous debates with Fitzpatrick.
“He talks about being bi-partisan and then goes on to support Trump and Ryan, two of the most partisan politicians in America,” Wallace said.
“I’m a Democrat, (and) he’s a Republican. We have both chosen sides and he wants to pretend like he is fair and even,” he said.
Wallace and the other candidates talked and conversed with students until around 11 a.m. The interest in politics and policies being offered by the local Democrats held the attention of all the students present, which was a telling sign of the high voter turnout on Nov. 6.
With all the enthusiasm and strong belief in American politics that could be found in the Solarium that day, one has to wonder if an interest in politics is here to stay in a once apolitical generation of students.