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Liberty Township Supervisor Walter Barlow

(11/2) The most important question in every election – including the upcoming election for supervisor in my township, Liberty Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania (on Tuesday, November 7) – is also the question most rarely addressed: what is the fundamental responsibility of an elected official? The answer is quite simple.

There is but one duty of an elected official: to serve the public. To ensure that employees, finances, and operations are managed properly and in the best interests of all citizens. To advance only those measures that will benefit the public as a whole. To investigate and expose any and all wrongdoing. To encourage and elevate public discourse, so that all viewpoints are heard and respected. In short, an elected official must be a servant of the public – representing all citizens fairly and equally.

That is the principle I have followed since being elected two years ago. It is why I pressed for an investigation of my township’s finances, which revealed nearly $100,000 (and possibly much more) in funds misallocated, lost, or outright embezzled by the township’s former treasurer. It is why I have continued to push for a full audit of the township’s books, and insisted that all business be conducted in meetings open to the public. It is why I have advanced multiple measures to reform the township’s governance and management. And it is why I have endeavored at all times to engage with all citizens, even those with whom I disagree, and demanded that everyone be treated with respect.

Others do not follow the same principle, however. The supervisors with whom I serve resisted any investigation or disclosure of misdeeds of the former treasurer, and they have continued to block further inquiry into township accounts or past mismanagement. They have granted those who support their own views and interests – including my opponent in the upcoming election – unique access to township resources and communication channels. They have allowed and indeed encouraged them to denigrate and defame other citizens, even at township meetings, as my opponent has done on many occasions (often in vulgar and aggressive terms).

I originally ran for election to combat such abuse, and I am running for reelection to stop it. I hope that, with the support of other concerned citizens, we can achieve that goal and secure the government that we deserve: one that serves all the people – not only its officials and their friends.

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