Letter: Restoring trust in Kennett Twp. government

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To The Editor,

In the May 18 Democratic primary, I am challenging the incumbent, Whitney Hoffman. The main issue for Democratic voters is which of us will be better able to win in November. From the beginning, my main contention is that Lisa Moore’s $3.2M embezzlement, which occurred on Hoffman’s watch, will make it impossible for Democrats to win if Hoffman is our candidate, so voting for me is the better option.

But I also believe there is a much larger issue at stake – restoring public trust. The pervasive lack of public trust in government at all levels is not a Democratic or Republican problem, it is a national problem. Public trust starts and ends with public accountability. Regrettably, politicians of both parties are often all too eager to preach public accountability until their own mistakes come to light. Then they try to ride out the storms created by their self-dealing or just plain incompetence, hoping it will all be forgiven or forgotten by the next election cycle.

Sadly, it sometimes works. But when politicians operate this way, and we the voters let them get away with it, our democracy loses. The people lose their trust in their leaders, and ultimately in their very system of government. They begin to see no benefit to speaking out, much less in voting, and democracy itself goes into decline.  At the extreme, some come to see the government as illegitimate and can be manipulated by demagogues to try overthrowing it by force, as we shockingly saw in Washington earlier this year.

How do we revive public trust and get our democracy back? We all have to become accountable, together. In Hoffman’s case, she rightly used what remained of her time in office to try to mitigate the damage that her lack of oversight had helped to bring about, and she needs to be positively acknowledged for that even if the results have been mixed. But to finish the job, to take full responsibility for her mistakes and to restore public confidence, Hoffman should have stepped down at the next available opportunity.

Since she failed to do that, it’s now up to the voters to remove her, either in the primary or, failing that, in the general election. Whatever our party affiliation, we voters need to tell the world that we ultimately hold our leaders to account. That is our job, as voters, and if we don’t do it, we have only ourselves to blame when our democracy inevitably flounders. In this election, holding Hoffman accountable is the first step to restoring the public trust that Lisa Moore stole from us all.

Peter Doehring

Democratic Candidate, Township Supervisor

Kennett Township

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