It’s all about trust

I cast my first vote in the Pennsylvania Primary on April 28, 1976. On that morning, I walked to the polls with my Dad. On the way we had a conversation that would become my lecture years later on the significance of our vote.

In our discussion, I asked many obvious questions, ‘Who would be there?’, ‘What do they do?’, and ‘Will my vote count?’ I really did not know what to expect so the first two questions were essentially out of curiosity, the last one was the one that most bothered me. My Dad, patiently as always, explained who would be there and what they would be doing. He told me my vote certainly would be counted and it would matter. I immediately asked him how he knew this and his final answer is the one that has stuck with me ever since.

He replied that it’s all about trust. Without trust, many of the underpinnings of our democracy would not, and could not, exist. Quite frankly, in the many years since, I have probably voted for more candidates who did not win than those who won. Without fail I always trusted my vote was counted and that it mattered. To sow distrust in the essential functions of government is to pick at the very fabric of the institution and what has made us the oldest, continuous democracy in the world.

As one of a three-member board of elections for Potter County, I am in part responsible for making sure that your vote will be counted and that it will matter. The Office of Voter Registration and Elections is run by an extremely courteous, competent, and knowledgeable staff that is most worthy of your trust. Each local board of elections is made up of your friends and neighbors who have been trained and have volunteered hours of their time to ensure your vote is counted and that it matters. They, too, are worthy of your trust. While some things are different this year, like no excuse mail-in voting, the people and practices that have always been in place are still here to guard that your vote will be counted, and will matter. It’s all about trust.

Barry Hayman

Potter County Commissioner

Member, Potter County Board of Elections

7 Things

As a veterinarian, most of my work was based on gathering information from owners and their animals, looking up the latest findings from medical research, and striving to create a plan to solve problems that were humane and helpful to the patient, but also affordable and acceptable to the client.

It was popular a while ago to have mugs that say “7 things I learned from my dog.” With this year’s election already underway, I’d like to share “7 things I learned as a veterinarian:”

1. If it’s not your pain you don’t feel it.

2. The greatest good is coming to understand the world as someone else is experiencing it.

3. Every animal species has its own culture and ways of communicating. It helps to try to learn to speak their “language.”

4. Learn to listen: to different people who experience the same events in different ways. Be alert to the body language of the animal, especially during a physical exam.

5. Gather as much information as you can and question its validity until you get a clearer picture of what is happening. Even then, question your assessment and be ready to change in response to new developments.

6. If you are trying to modify behavior, positive interactions, praise and rewards work far better than criticism and harsh treatment.

7. Remember that we humans are also animals. We can choose whether we act like chimpanzees, elephants, bees, dogs, sheep, fish or lions. Humanity cannot survive without a variety of animals and plants. We need each other.

If I were a dog and I had to choose between our two Presidential candidates, I would definitely want to belong to Joe Biden. I support Joe Biden for President, because he gets it.

Ronnie Schenkein, DVM (retired)

Coudersport, PA