When it comes to voting for an animal welfare agenda, it’s pretty easy to be ambivalent. Among the candidates, there are a few in both parties with exceptionally good- and bad- positions on the animal welfare issues of the day. A very few.
Most seem to fall right in the middle. They are the ones who reply to constituent inquiries with, “Thank you for contacting me, I am studying the matter.” Or, “This is a very important issue and I will take your input into consideration.” Or they simply don’t reply at all. Who wants to vote for that? If they can’t answer a simple question about whether pigeon shoots are hunting or whether puppies should be on wire flooring, what will they answer?
I think kittens are cute, do you think kittens are cute? “Thank for contacting me, I will take your input on this very important kitten matter into consideration.”
It is made even worse when you have a district with an incumbent who has generally dodged even speaking about an issue that impacts his very district fighting a rival with potential ties to the issue itself. Such is the case in PA House 125, which sees incumbent Democrat Tim Seip facing Republican challenger Mike Tobash, with a No Party challenge by Dennis Baylor (whose No Party affiliation might be better termed No Chance of Winning Party, and will likely only serve as spoiler between Tobash and Seip). According to Pennsylvania Independent, this race is a toss-up. But a toss-up between what?
The 125th might ring a bell as the long time home of the Hegins Pigeon Shoot, now gone but not forgotten. If you care about the fact that Pennsylvania is the last legal refuge of pigeon shoots and that shoots are once again spreading across our State like mold, you might wonder where these two candidates stand on the issue. Good luck finding out. Neither seems to want to make a comment on it.
Seip has been deft at avoiding any public comment about the shoots, in my personal experience not even returning phone calls or emails about the issue. One wonders what that means.
On the other hand, Mike Tobash is a charter member of the Tri-Valley Lions Club, which raised money vending food at the Hegins Pigeon Shoot. He has presumably spent his fair share of time at the shoots. One wonders where he stands on them now (or if he’s the same guy quoted here).
Of course, not taking a public position of something doesn’t mean you endorse it. Neither does being a member of an organization which has a peripheral involvement in something repugnant. But what are we to think when neither will tell us where they stand on something as black and white as whether launching birds from catapults is “hunting” or cruelty? So the 125th is the poster district for “inspiring” the ambivalent voter.
I’m sure they will tell us they think taxes are too damn high. And that we should be tough on criminals. That they love all ten amendments on the Bill of Rights. Maybe even that they think kittens are cute.
How about something with some meat on the bone, something that will separate one from the other, like where they stand on passing the short and sweet pigeon shoot ban legislation that has languished in the House for the past year? Give the voters of their district something to vote for. Or against. But give your ambivalent voters something. It might just get one of you elected.