Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Fisher on Running For Office
Last night, I was honored to receive the Republican nomination for a seat in the state Assembly, to represent the district where I have lived for over fifty years.

Fisher -- Stump Speech

After ordering some campaign letterheads, and cards, and writing my political "CV", what am I supposed to do now? Get a haircut, maybe, and get my car washed. Be sure to say "Good Morning" to everyone I meet and don't forget to go to church. Perhaps this lull is the time to write a campaign speech, so here goes my first try at one.

CAMPAIGN SPEECH -- Fisher for Assembly. Good afternoon, fellow citizens of the 6th District. I'm here to ask for your vote to become your local representative in the State Assembly. (at this point, insert a joke).

This district's voter registration is 60/40 in favor of my opponents, so I have to work hard as a Republican, and I've got to convince some Democrats to vote for me. I've never met my opponents, so I have no reason to dislike the poor souls, except to note they are on my road, and everybody likes to be given a choice. They are incumbents, but since I have never heard of them before, their incumbency is probably a criticism rather than an asset. I'd be very happy to appear on the same platform with them in a debate, but the League of Women Voters report this is a request which is invariably declined. So, until their campaign managers say something bad about me, I'm not going to be the one to start negative campaigning. Besides, at my age, anything bad about me might be taken as a compliment.

When the Assembly was first started, right here in Haddonfield at the Indian King Tavern, the British were making it difficult to conduct a town meeting, so it seemed best to elect representatives who could assemble in some safe place and conduct business in whatever way they could. The representatives wanted to do what their townspeople wanted, but often they had to guess what was best and take the consequences if they were wrong. Generals Wayne, LaFayette, and Pulaski were rushing around doing the nation's business, but the Assemblymen had to keep the local candles burning.

The reason I bring that up is I have already been deluged with questionnaires and pamphlets, and hammered with what sound like muttered threats, from Issue Groups from all over the country. I'm not sure what the Sierra Club wants from a district that is sixteen feet above sea level. And I doubt if the New Jersey Assembly has much influence over the Alaska wildlife preserve or the possible bombing of Syria. I will be very happy to discuss such issues with all of you, but please don't expect me to have the slightest influence, even if I am elected. So these national interest groups are peddling things I don't plan to spend much time on. Please don't misunderstand. Many are worthy projects, they just don't have anything to do with the New Jersey Assembly, and they stir up animosities between me and other nice guys from Hackensack or Atlantic City which are a big source of the famously bitter partisanship you hear about.

In fact, there only three planks in my platform, and the rest of the time I plan to listen. The first, of course, is Medicine. Medicine and health insurance are state regulated, so I imagine I would be put on some medical or insurance committee where I have some experience to contribute.

The second is rebuilding the dunes along the shore. I've seen articles bitterly denouncing the use of the eminent domain, taking away the property of citizens without due recompense. Unfortunately, the State of New Jersey owns the beach, so there is no eminent domain involved unless someone has changed something. On the other side of it, I strongly disapprove of neighbors brow-beating each other about something they feel strongly about. Especially when I am afraid the ocean is going to take that beach away, all too soon. My position comes down to costs. If the dunes will probably bring in more tourist revenue than they cost, I would probably agree to take the risk. I go to the shore every summer, but I'm a renter. I never thought the risk of owning a house that blows away was worth it.

The third local issue is dredging the Delaware River. Jersey owns a side of both the Hudson and Delaware, so we are involved. The Chinese are spending heavily to widen the Panama Canal, eventually leading for Atlantic Coast ports. Delaware needs to be deepened to 45 feet, the Hudson to 50 feet. I have no objection to New Jersey supporting both of them, but I am told New York is holding up the Delaware dredging in order to let New York get finished first. And I have been told, but would scarcely believe, that some South Jersey politicians have been favoring the New York position in return for enhancing their own state-wide ambitions. If there is any truth to this, you can count on me to vote the other way.

Originally published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013; most-recently modified: Friday, May 17, 2019