On one of the hottest days of the summer yet, members of the Lycoming County Democratic Committee gathered at Short Park in Loyalsock Township on Sunday to share a meal and share a vision on how to come together and bring a victory to the Democratic candidates on the ballot in November’s general election.
Two of those candidates, Mike Molesevich, candidate for Congressional District 15, and Amanda Waldman, candidate for Congressional District 9, were on hand at the picnic. Local elected officials who also spoke to the crowd of about 90 people included Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter and Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito.
Opening statements by Slaughter touched on what he called the “good momentum” happening in the city.
“A groundbreaking or a ribbon-cutting in what seems like every week, which is really good. A lot of economic development,” Slaughter said.
After detailing the industries and businesses that are part of that economic development, Slaughter told those at the event to consider the good candidates running on the Democratic ticket up and down the ballot.
“Make sure you talk to relatives, talk to your family, talk about all the candidates, not just at the top of the ticket, but right on down through,” he said.
“Make sure we keep that going right on through. Let’s get the top of the ticket all the way down elected into office and get the positive change we need to keep this momentum going,” Slaughter continued.
“We say this every single time that this is the most important election, but this really is the most important election of our time,” he stated, which was met with loud applause.
Mirabito, too, stressed the importance of the upcoming election. Noting that the events since that 2020 presidential election and claims by the Republicans that the election was stolen have been aimed at keeping the base energized by former president Donald Trump.
“We have to energize the base, too,” Mirabito said, referring to the Democrats.
“We have to get the base to understand that what they see happening, whether it’s the Supreme Court taking over medical decisions that affect men and women…and when government starts taking those decisions out of the hands of individuals, it’s only a matter of time before other rights go away, too. And, we need to explain that to people,” he said.
Mirabito urged people to reach across party lines and talk to Republicans in the county, some who want to just move on from the talk about a stolen election.
“We have to have politics that talks across the aisle to Independents and Republicans not just because we need to do it to win, but we need to do it to govern,” Mirabito said.
“We’ve got to talk to Republicans, talk to Democrats, talk to your Republican friends. Find the issues that are important to them and get them to vote the ticket up and down,” he said.
Waldman, who is from the Hughesville area, also encouraged voters across the area to unite to try to bring the country back together.
“Our duty right now in this moment is not just to elect Democrats up and down. It is to unite our country again, because we must come back together or we will not have a country anymore.
“If someone is in dire need, everyone sitting here is going to do that. We step up to each others’ needs — that’s what Democrats do. And this moment is no different. We can understand, we can reach out, we can have a conversation,” she said.
Addressing the gubernatorial race which is pitting Democrat Josh Shapiro against Republican Doug Mastriano, Waldman said, “We’re going to get Josh Shapiro and Austin Davis (Shapiro’s running mate for lieutenant governor) across the finish line — we are going to ensure Doug Mastriano has no political future.”
Calling Mastriano a law breaker and an oath violator, Waldman said, “I want dishonest Doug to know everyone in Pennsylvania is against a liar.”
Waldman urged the crowd to stand up to the lies.
“In this moment, I also know that a good portion of Republicans in Lycoming County don’t support the nonsense, but they’re not vocal about it. They’re not out in the open about standing up against this because they’re also afraid of the far right faction in their party, the far right faction that wants everyone to believe that the election was stolen because their guy didn’t win,” Waldman stated.
She challenged those attending the event to make sure that five of their Democratic friends get out to vote in November.
“More importantly, for both Mike (Molesevich) and myself, we need you to bring along at least one Republican with you to vote for us… let them know they’re not alone in the truth. Let them know there is a huge family behind them. We’re not trying to change them to make them Democrats. We want to restore our country back to the human decency that we’ve been known around the world for, “ she added.
Molesevich, who is running to represent Congressional District 15, told the audience that he had just received notification that he was certified to run just two days before the picnic because three Republican-controlled counties refused to send in their primary election results. The hold-up was a dispute over the date on a mail-in ballot.
He shared that his campaign has been working to establish itself, including hiring staff and everything else that goes on behind the scene.
“I will run and do the best I can with what I got,” Molesevich said.
“I’ve been in business for 35 years. I’m not stupid. I’m not going to go into debt, but I will do everything I can with what I have,” he said.
The event was hosted by the Lycoming County Democratic Committee. McKenna Long is the newly elected chairperson of the committee.
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