By Katherine Coble || Contributing Writer
Lancaster native and Congressional candidate Christina Hartman has an important message for F&M students: your voice matters.
The 38-year-old Democrat is currently running for a seat in the House of Representatives on a platform stressing educational opportunity, employment, and bipartisan negotiation. Before entering the political arena, Hartman advocated for democracy and civic development abroad through nonprofit organizations. Now she hopes to represent Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District in the Capitol. The 16th District’s current representative, Republican Joe Pitts, will retire this year after 19 years in Congress.
Hartman says that Congress needs “folks that are willing to negotiate and compromise and come to the middle to get something done for average people.” She believes that she can be one of them.
Though this is a local election and not all F&M students are registered in the 16th District, Hartman stresses that all Franklin & Marshall students should be invested in the outcome. Their representative in Congress can be their voice in our federal government, advocating for the issues they care about most. The elections that occur in Lancaster have an impact on Franklin & Marshall students even after graduation.
“What we see more and more now from F&M students is people who decide to settle in the area. We’ve got a great community in Lancaster, a lot of great jobs, and folks are sticking around,” Hartman explains. These local elections affect everyone connected to the F&M campus, whether they are students, alumni, faculty, or staff. By voting, young people can better ensure their issues are being represented in Washington and their voices are being heard by policy-makers.
Hartman acknowledges that, in the face of Congressional gridlock, this may sound like an idealized vision of how our political system actually works. “I can understand why [young people] are disgruntled and feel left out of the political process… But the only way to be heard is to participate and make your voice louder.” She suggests young people come out to the polls in large numbers to express support for the candidates they align with best.
For F&M students that are interested in political activism, Hartman says that there are many different ways to get involved. They can volunteer on a political campaign through field work or office work, help out a nonprofit or advocacy organization they are passionate about, or write to their representatives in Congress about what matters most to them.
Hartman encourages young people to speak up and share what they care about with the people representing them in Washington, despite the inefficiencies that have plagued Congress in recent years.
“Our government is so broken right now, and nothing is working,” she says. Hartman believes Congress must re-build itself by working across the aisle. “You know that when you compromise or when you negotiate with somebody, you don’t always get exactly what you want… The solutions won’t be perfect. But they will be compromises that everyone can live with and they will help move our country forward.”
Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Polls will be open from 7:00a.m. until 8:00p.m. in the state of Pennsylvania.
First-year Katherine Coble is a Contributing Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of lancasteronline.com.