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Let’s talk politics

Political interest group performs community service

Created date

January 22nd, 2013

Political campaigns come and go, but the political interest group at Ann s Choice, Erickson Living s community in Bucks County, Pa., is active all year long. The non-partisan group welcomes diverse opinions. Its monthly meetings feature speakers from various levels of government and non-officeholders who are active on the political scene. Politics constantly influences our lives whether it s on a local or national level, says Sally Rosen-Plon, who chairs the group. So whether you re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, you need to be interested in politics. The strategy for inviting speakers is straightforward, says Sally s neighbor Ella Cohen. We look for the most interesting people who have something to offer. For example, because the political interest group didn t know what county medical examiners do besides perform autopsies, they invited Bucks County s medical examiner to speak. It s an elected office, says Sally. We should know what that official does. The goal is for people at Ann s Choice to cast intelligent votes. In fact, residents vote right on campus. The community s Keystone Clubhouse is the official polling place for Bucks County s Warminster Twp. #14.

Hot topics

Past meetings have featured well-known guests such as political commentator and author Larry Kane, considered the dean of Philadelphia television news anchors, and U.S. Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick, who led a discussion about national security following the deaths of Moammar Gadhafi and Osama bin Laden. Some meetings, like last November s, are real eye-openers, says Sally. Montgomery County s state representative, an office not on the ballot in Bucks County, presented an inside look at what actually happens during the voting process in the state legislature. Upcoming meetings will feature newly elected township, county, and state-level officeholders. Speakers might also include a political commentator, reporter, or author because, says Sally, they have an overview we d like to hear. The group also performs an especially important service to its community: it hosts annual candidates expos, inviting everyone whose name is on that particular year s ballot. The expos draw a large attendance because people can meet and talk one-on-one with candidates.

Life beyond politics

Ella s and Sally s activities don t stop at politics. The second bedroom of Sally s large Hastings apartment home is part den, part storage room for materials connected with her many campus commitments. The former Huntington Valley resident serves on the interfaith council; chairs the welcome committee; and volunteers at Channel 5, the community s in-house TV studio. Ella is one of the bag ladies at Ann s Choice. She and fellow fabric artist Doris Kalan create, sew, and sell unique handbags and donate the proceeds to the community s scholarship fund for its student servers. Ella moved from Cheltenham to a two-bedroom Jackson-style apartment home. Because of the community s flexible meal plan, delectable chef-prepared meals, and four restaurants, she doesn t cook. So instead of pots and pans, she stashes fabrics in her cupboards.