On Friday, October 25, our community lost a very special person. Losing her courageous battle against cancer, my dear friend Trish Kreek passed away. Her funeral is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 AM, St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley.
The consummate public servant, Trish served on the Tredyffrin Township Planning Commission for 19 years (4 years as chair) and as township supervisor for 6 years. Until her passing, Trish served with me on the Board of Directors of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. A board member since the Trust’s inception a decade ago, she inspired us with her outlook on life and living — we will miss her tremendously.
Spirited in her discussion of community issues, Trish was always the ‘lady’ in debate; respectful of others opinions. A Republican by voter registration, Trish supported candidates who best reflected her own values, regardless of party affiliation. Taking the high road by focusing on the issues, she was never one that resorted to disparaging individual members of the community.
However, Trish did want more people to pay attention to local politics and elections and was troubled by lack of voter turnout. In our discussions of local politics, she regularly lamented about the partisan divide, believing that the broader mission should be to address important issues that matter to all of us. Trish never supported the pointless battle between the local political parties and struggled to understand why ‘people’ and ‘issues’ were not the most important factors when voting.
I reflect on Trish’ decades of public service, her spirit and support of this community and our many political discussions. Election Day 2013 is barely a week away. In the perfect world, our local politics would be free of partisan interests and individuals elected to serve would do so for all the community. And the interests of the people would always trump the political party the elected official represents. Of course, as Trish would have agreed, there are no perfect political worlds and this community is no different from the rest.
Why are candidates for local office forced to play party politics? Politics has the ability to bring out either the good or the bad. As I read the political campaign literature from the school board and supervisor candidates, I can only hope that the partisanship will not destroy the fabric of our community. I lament for a future of local nonpartisan elections, where there will victoriously emerge individuals whose intelligence, integrity, intestinal fortitude, character and non-alliance with special interests are beyond question. I wish for a future where important issues and candidate differences can be fairly discussed and openly debated.
“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.” ~ Mark Twain
On Election Day, Tuesday, November 5, we will elect whomever we think will do the best job — or at least that’s how we should cast our ballots. Do not wait until entering the voting booth to start thinking about how to vote. Do your homework – be knowledgeable about the candidates and informed on the issues. Informed voting requires study, thought and reflection in advance of casting your ballot. The people, the voters, get to decide who governs them. That will be the final word on partisan politics in local elections, and local government.
My dear friend Trish, you touched all that knew you — we will miss you.
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” ~ It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)