Op/ed: Candidate promises needed change

My name is David Cleary, and I am an independent candidate for the state House of Representatives, 160th district. I am not affiliated with any political party, just a citizen running for elected office. I am asking that you consider voting for me on Nov.  8.

David Cleary

David Cleary

I am an aircraft systems engineer, project manager, and former Naval officer with the skills, leadership and integrity to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania’s 160th House district. I was born and raised in Bismarck, N.D.  (same hometown as Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz). I left my childhood home for the Naval Academy. After graduating from the Naval Academy, I reported to flight training and earned my wings of gold as a naval flight officer. My Naval service included a tour in Japan and two deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch (the no-fly zone established over southern Iraq). My military service awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Kuwait Liberation Medal and various other service awards.

I am an active member of the community and several veterans’ organizations. I am the past chair of a youth soccer league and I have coached various youth sports teams. I am a member of American Legion Post 93, VFW Post 6835, the Navy League of Philadelphia, and a Red Cross volunteer. I am a fundraiser for the Organization for Autism research and help raise awareness about autism through marathon running. I have also served as the family readiness coordinator for an Army Reserve unit.

I have a bachelor's of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master's in business administration from Saint Joseph’s University. I live in Concord Township with my wife, Patricia Tuggle, and four children, James, Beverly, John and Michael.

I am running for office because I don’t like what has become of our state government. Our representatives are too controlled by the puppet strings of their political party caucuses and the special interest political action committees (PACs) that donate to their campaigns. We expect our representatives to be the peoples’ voice, and be a check and balance on the operations of the state’s executive and judicial branches. I intend to be that voice that restores public trust in our state government.

Our legislature is the second costliest in the country while Pennsylvania is the sixth most populace state. The overhead cost to pay for large staffs is unnecessary and shows a lack of fiscal discipline. Today’s state government is bloated with excess and waste. We need legislators that understand how a smaller more efficient government operates, and can translate that mindset to the broader operations of all levels and branches of state government.

Pennsylvania needs open, transparent government in all branches and at all levels. The 2008 open records law, written and passed by our legislature, falls short in many ways. The legislators who passed the right-to-know law (RTKL) continue to use private email for their work. They never intended for this law to include their actions as public officials.

Ethical problems continue to plague our state. The bar for ethical behavior of our elected and appointed government officials is very low, if it even exists. I contacted Pennsylvania’s Ethics Commission about a judicial candidate who did not disclose that he was an officer and part owner in a business that was delinquent in paying $200,000 in property taxes. It is bad enough a judge does not think he needs to pay taxes like everyone else, but the Ethics Commission actually determined that the judge’s failure to report the property tax delinquency was not an ethics violation? I will quote Thomas Jefferson on this one: “Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government, but illegal for the citizenry.”

We need elected officials who will not look the other way when there is gross misconduct. Leaders who will demand high ethical standards from our public officials. I have the experience, aptitude and integrity to restore public trust in our state government and to work as a legislator to make our state government more cost effective and efficient.

Your ballot will have eight races for you to vote on Nov. 8. I will be in the eighth race listed on the ballot, and I would like you to consider voting for David Cleary to be your next representative to the Pennsylvania State House. For more information on my candidacy you can go to my website: www.cleary4pahouse.com.

Note: The 160th legislative district includes Bethel, Chadds Ford, Concord and Upper Chichester townships in Delaware County; and Kennett Square, Kennett, Pennsbury and Pocopson townships in Chester County.

David Cleary

Independent candidate for the 160th state House district

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