The current State Representative Kerry Benninghoff said that one reason he chose to campaign during this year’s Grange Fair is because it is a friendly place where people can meet their candidates.
He said it’s both “fun and friendly.”
“It’s inherit on me to talk and listen to people who can give us a hands on perspective on many of the issues,” he said. “People are more involved in the Fair and this is a fun opportunity to kick off the political [campain].”
Benninghoff stressed the need to reach out towards the agricultural crowd the Fair brings in every year and it also encourages farmers to speak their minds about issues that interrupt the farming process. Time is money, he said.
Of course, Bennighoff said that he has reached out to students and student groups on campus. But, it’s still difficult to determine how students get information through the media, he said.
“Students are more likely to text and e-mail [issues] because of technology advances- information is now instantaneous. People are more savvy than contacting their state legislative,” he said.
It’s important too for people to get information from a wide variety of sources and not to rely whatever they get in the mail, he said.
Benninghoff is currently running for his 9th term as State Representative and said that while he has been in office Pennsylvania has had a balanced budget without raising taxes or borrowing money, he said.
Of course, on the other side of the coin, Michael Pipe, County Commissioner and a representative for Charles Dumas, said that Dumas doesn’t have a million dollar campaign budget and Dumas has to rely on grassroots methods to spread the word about his campaign.
“People want to talk and get the scoop and not simply hear a sound bite,” Pipe said. “We’re reaching out to students through voter registration and we have an office on Allen Street.”
Dumas shouldn’t have any trouble connecting with the student body because he has been a professor at Penn State’s School of Theatre for a number of years, he said.
Dumas is running for Congress in the 5th district on the democratic ticket.
“I think if you want to be successful in politics it’s about working with people you disagree with and sitting down and having a conversation,” Pipe said.
The Grange Fair librarian, J.A. Babay, said that the Grange Fair gives an opportunity for candidates to connect with voters but also 4-H organizations.
“I myself find it very successful [for them] instead of sitting in their offices,” Babay said. “It’s a great way to meet candidates instead of getting a call.”
Candidates from both parties will host a potluck dinner at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29 on Holman Lane at the Grange Fair.
To email reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org