I’m running for public office. COVID-19 has changed everything about campaigning | Opinion

Pennsylvania House candidate Brittney Rodas (Facebook photo)

By Brittney Rodas

This global pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives. Together, we have seen the effects in our communities, schools, and cities. As a candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in central Pennsylvania’s 105th district, I have seen the strength of our unified community. We are all in this together.

We have learned from state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and medical experts that the coronavirus doesn’t discriminate by zip code, race, or political ideology.

Together, we started our campaign in the winter of 2020 through shared values to make Dauphin County stronger. In the wake of a global pandemic, the need for leaders who represent our values is more apparent now more than ever.

One of the most important components of both campaigning and leadership is meeting people where they are. For us, that was pretty easy because we are scared too.

Just like most families, we struggled to find toilet paper and bottled water also. This pandemic is showing the importance of community leadership. We are seeing in real time just how important our values are for working families across our communities. From paid sick leave to the rising cost of healthcare, our convictions and values make a difference in people’s lives. We see that need now more than ever.

Running for public office takes you out of your comfort zone. From asking people for grassroots support to knocking on a stranger’s doors to have a conversation.

COVID-19 in Pa.: Wolf signs order allowing allowing state to move personal protective equipment and ventilators among healthcare facilities

Instead of more personal gatherings in living rooms across the district right now, we transitioned to online communication to keep everyone safe.

But, even from afar, I have witnessed what I have seen my entire life — our community is special. At every level, people are serving through little acts of kindness. Some are learning to sew for the first time so that they can donate a few masks, others are only leaving the house so that they can donate blood to save a life. We are seeing that you don’t need a title to make a difference.

In between homeschooling my two young children while our schools and daycares are closed, I am making calls to inform families about great programs that are available — from free lunches to loan forgiveness programs, together we are responsible for helping each other find these opportunities.

Soon, our businesses will reopen; kids will return to the classroom, and I will return to more conventional ways of campaigning.

But, we must carry the lessons from this pandemic with us moving forward. We must always remember how our values impact workers and working families everyday. And, when we do return to “normal,” I hope we remember the hope and civility we shared because in so many ways, it represents what makes our district so special.

Brittney Rodas is a Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the Dauphin County-based 105th District.