Democracy in America

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Beginning this May, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh and the Denis Theatre Foundation will be collaborating to provide a non-partisan series of events on the theme of Democracy in America.

Periodically, often amidst crisis, Americans reconsider the status of their democratic institutions. Today is such a time, characterized by deep levels of polarization, distrust of government and most institutions, and the fraying of civil society, along with fear and uncertainty that leads to growing acceptance of the use of violence to achieve political ends. How can American citizens work together to strengthen our democratic institutions? In this series we will examine the roots of how the concept of democracy was established in United States and how it has been interpreted and challenged through the centuries, and reflect upon what core principles need to be sustained for its continuance. We hope to provide both local and national examples throughout the series, with ample opportunity for discussion and reflection.

The series will include a mix of local citizens and professional speakers, some with national name-recognition. It is designed to be accessible to people from middle school to our most senior citizens. We hope to engage people in dialogue, with questions and comments occurring at the end of each session.

The series begins with a soft opening focused on local politics, addressing the Mt. Lebanon School Board primary in May 2021. It picks back up in September, addressing the issue of voting rights, and then continues through the summer of 2022.

The Mt. Lebanon Public Library will maintain this webpage that will include information for upcoming events in the series, as well as for related local events and resources to support civic engagement. We will be sending out regular e-newsletters to promote upcoming events and new resources. Expect a good deal of communication with the lead-up to the May 18th primary elections.

  1. Recorded Programs
  2. Ballot Questions
  3. Elections 2021
  4. Additional Resources
  5. Upcoming Programs

Recorded Programs:

Mt. Lebanon School Board Candidates Forum from May 4, 2021.
View recording 
here.

In a first-time collaboration, Mt. Lebanon Public Library is proud to announce a partnership with The Denis Theatre Foundation and the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh to host a nonpartisan forum for candidates running in the primary for Mt. Lebanon Board of School Director. Moderated by resident and political analyst Jon Delano and weaving in questions from the community, the co-sponsors see this as a unique civic service of voter education.   

School districts across the country have faced numerous debates over the past generation that resonate in Mt. Lebanon. Among them:  

  • Funding and fiscal management 
  • Capital improvements  
  • Teacher contracts 
  • Student safety 
  • Community and parent input and transparency  
  • Curriculum and 21st century skills  
  • Student well-being and treatment of each other  
  • Inclusion and equity  
  • The use and role of technology 
  • Standardized testing 
  • Data-based decision-making  
  • Choice  
  • And over the past year, decisions in response to the pandemic  

Over the past two decades, Mt. Lebanon residents have witnessed moments of unity in response to these issues, but also periods of great discord and debate. This election reveals distinct approaches to school governance. Ten candidates seek one of the four open positions. Each candidate has been invited to participate.

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Watch the Recording of the PA Supreme Court Candidates' Forum Here:
There are four judges running for one seat on the PA Supreme Court. 

All four candidates participated, P. Kevin Brobson, Patricia A. McCullough, Maria McLaughlin, and Paula A. Patrick. This forum was co-sponsored by PMC, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and the Free Library of Philadelphia. It was moderated by David Senoff, Founding Member of First Law Strategy Group, LLC.

Candidates: 

  •  P. Kevin Brobson, PA Commonwealth Court President Judge
  •  Patricia A. McCullough, PA Commonwealth Court Judge
  •  Maria C. McLaughlin, PA Superior Court Judge
  •  Paula A. Patrick, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge

Learn more about the candidates here:

To use the League of Women Voters vote411.org voters guide simply enter your address then click “go to my races,” then select “Pennsylvania Judge of the Supreme Court.” You will be able to review and compare the candidates. You can also do this for all candidate races below.

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Watch the Recording of the PA Superior Court Candidate Forum Here:
There are four judges running for one seat in the Superior Court (3 Democrats on the primary ballot, with the winner facing the lone Republican candidate in November)

During this forum, moderated by Marcel Pratt (Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP), all four of the candidates for Pennsylvania’s Superior Court answered questions about their experience and why they seek election to the Superior Court. The Candidates were Jill Beck, Timika Lane, Bryan Neft, and Megan Sullivan. Hosted by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the following sponsors: the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and Committee of 70.

Candidates: 

  • Jill Beck, Attorney
  • Timika Lane, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge 
  • Bryan Neft, Attorney 
  • Megan Sullivan, Deputy Attorney General

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Watch the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Courts Candidates Forum Here:
There are two open seats in the Commonwealth Court, with six candidates running for the positions (2 Republicans and 4 Democrats—the top winners from each party will go on to the November elections). 5 of 6 candidates participated in the forum. 

Join us for the PA Commonwealth Court Candidates Forum with candidates: Lori A. Dumas, Amanda Green Hawkins, David L. Spurgeon, Sierra Thomas Street, Sorokes Wallace. (This includes only the candidates who have confirmed their participation in the forum. For a full list of candidates, please visit www.pmconline.org.) It will be moderated by Karl Myers of Stradley Ronon and hosted by PMC and the Dauphin County Library, in conjunction with the following sponsors: Allegheny County Bar Association, Committee of 70, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association.

Candidates: 

  • Judge J. Andrew Crompton 
  • Judge Lori A. Dumas 
  • Amanda Green Hawkins 
  • Judge David L. Spurgeon 
  • Judge Sierra Thomas Street 
  • Stacy Sorokes Wallace

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Watch the Magistrate Forum- District 05-02-19-Mt Lebanon, Dormont Candidate Forum Here:
Five candidates are competing for one seat to replace a retiring incumbent in this district. 

Candidates:

  • Steven Diaz
  • Lisa Borrelli Dorn
  • Duane Fisher
  • Gina Florez
  • Hilary Wheatley Taylor