Sunday, April 13, 2008

In God We Trust, but not Elected Officials

I was recently asked by a friend, "How will you deal with the last minute primary election filing of Annie McWilliams, candidate for Plainfield City Council?" It was not a question of whom I support (Annie McWilliams is the one!). It was how I, as an elected Democrat, would reconcile myself with the local Democratic Party which supports the incumbent at large Council representative.


This is not always an easy question for local Democratic council members to answer. There is heavy pressure to support the choice of Assemblyman Jerry Green, the chairman of the Plainfield Democratic Committee, who has ultimate authority for who gets to run on the party line in the primary election. There are also consequences for "not being a team player." For instance, my wishes to continue serving on the Council Finance Committee and as the Council's representative on the Planning Board were ignored in January by incoming Council President and "team player" Harold Gibson. Let's face it - that is how politics is played at all levels.









Supporting Ms McWilliams, my questioning friend thought, would not be good for my political career. It would weaken my influence in local government. Probably true in the short run. So why would I do it?


Two reasons:

1) It seems that when a political party maintains power for a long period, its leaders get overconfident from their success. They may forget that the purpose of a primary election is to strengthen the quality of candidates through competition. Does this sound familiar? I may support Frank Lautenberg, but isn't it a good thing that Rob Andrews gives the Democratic Party voters a choice? Same thing in Plainfield, especially Plainfield where we haven't always had much choice and as a consequence, not always quality candidates.





2) I am encouraged by Annie McWilliams' candidacy. As a life long Democrat who believes in the values and traditions of my party, I am worried that some of my party leaders are losing touch with the people. The people do not trust the people they elect. I see too much emphasis on protecting the power of the party over the needs of the party's constituents. For example: if the people came first, my party would have implemented real pay to play legislation by now. Young talented outsiders like Annie McWilliams are just what the Democratic Party needs.



I think we are a reflection of the national scene where Barack Obama has created hope for new solutions. Annie McWilliams is the local reflection of this phenomenon and we should be very glad to have her name on the ballot. Plainfield has many struggles at this point in time and progress will be slow in the short run. But Obama and McWilliams are why I am optimistic about the United States and Plainfield in the long run.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Storch, for your refreshing honesty. I think Jerry Green and his candidate Harold Gibson as representatives of the "old guard" will try to make you pay a harsher political price. I think it is time for new leadership. I have spoken to Annie McWilliams before. She is a smart and engaging young person and her work as a youth advocate combined with her finance background and concern for our community convince me that she will be an effective representative for Plainfield. Her work at Shiloh Baptist Church where she is a member shows that she, as a deeply spiritual young woman, truly cares. On the other hand, Mr. Gibson has made no new proposals and has no new ideas. He is very much "business as usual." He hasn't spoken out at all about any of the issues facing Plainfield. By refusing to reappoint you as the council rep (and watchdog) of the Planning Board and to the finance committee, he is demonstrating that his political will is dominated by that of the bosses and not the people of Plainfield.

olddoc said...

Bravo! We have elections to give people choices, A one party boss run civic unit is a microcosmic China or Iran. We should not abdicate the privileges granted us under the Constitution. see Doc's Potpourri blog.

Anonymous said...

you go girl!

Anonymous said...

It is honesty like yours which will make this city better. Once the fear (of what I don't know. Jerry Green is just a person), is gone, people will begin to start taking action in Plainfield.

I applaud your honesty, and don't know that people will vote for the Jerry Green person in Ward 2. You have served us well, and remember, Jerry can run who he wants, but people still have to power of the vote!

Anonymous said...

Bravo to you Mr. Storch. Your honesty and candor are refreshing. Only if we had more like you on the council. I have meet Annie and feel that she will bring a breath of fresh air and youth into our city government.
And to quote Barack I am "BITTER" you don't have to go to middle America to find this,just walk around Plainfield. I love Plainfield but the damage that has been done by 20+ plus years of business as usual under the Jerry Green has made me bitter.

IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE IN AMERICA AND PLAINFIELD.

ANNIE ! ANNIE ! THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT.

Anonymous said...

Cory, Thank you, for being you.
I am sooo happy that you have not lost your focus and integrity. We shared many years together on the Plainfied Board of Education, I could always count on you to express your opinion for what you felt was just and right. Continue.....

Rohon said...

it is nice to know someone cares,my 16 year old ask me about annie mcwillaims and was floored so i take her to see her and was amazed to know soneone so young is running to be mayor, she as a real role model, very smart and leave a nice impression on my baby girl. just do it annie go for head,Rohon in plainfield.....

Anonymous said...

Councilman Storch,
If I didn't read it, I would have a hard time believing you said it. Your found voice is that of a leader! And one that is prepared to put Planfield and its residents first. Plainfielders want to see the Queen City move forward and are heart broken that after 30 years we are still a struggling community that the market place, with the exception of the exploiters of people and property, has turned its back on. Plainfield can reclaim the tile of the Queen City when thoughtful people, like yourself, step forward and put the welll being of the city first; that's leadership!
Bill Hetfield