Protesters picket at John Lawrence's office
Six protesters held signs in front of the Jennersville office of Rep. John Lawrence on Oct. 15.
By John Chambless
Behind a banner for the Women's Rights Coalition of Southern Chester County, a small group of protesers held signs in front of the Jennersville office of Rep. John Lawrence on the morning of Oct. 15 to show their disapproval of Lawrence's record on several issues.
Coalition founder Cindy Losco has organized several demonstrations at the offices of Joe Pitts and Lawrence, and has several more scheduled before Election Day. Her main issue with Lawrence, she said, “is that he voted with Corbett. So there's de-funding of public education, not taxing the drilling companies, trying to supress the vote with voter ID laws. That's a lot of it.”
The women's coalition was first sparked by Lawrence's support of House Bill 77, which caught the wrath of several groups statewide. It sought to mandate ultrasounds for women before they were granted abortions, and suggested that women should be forced to look at the image of the fetus.
“He's kind of dropped that, maybe because of the protests that have happened in the past," Losco said. "He was a co-sponsor of the bill in 2010, but I don't know that they ever voted on it. I'd like for us to take a little bit of credit for that,” she added, smiling.
Democratic candidate Ann Schott attended the protest, holding a sign that read, “Fair funding of education."
Schott, who is running against Lawrence in the 13th District, took half an hour out of her packed campaigning schedule because, “first and foremost, my passion is for education," she said. "That's who I am.”
Schott, who was a teacher in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District until last June, has solicited support from teachers throughout Chester County. “I'm here because nowhere do I see evidence that John Lawrence or Gov. Corbett care deeply about public education," she said. "Education has been cut. No one knows that better than a classroom teacher. … I love the classroom, my students, my colleagues, but in my heart I couldn't stand by and watch another two years – possibly three years – of cuts.”
Lawrence, in particular, lacks a record of supporting public education, Schott said. “It's one thing to say you support education, but back it up. Show me the classrooms you've been in, show me the teachers you've talked to, show me the curriculum you've looked at that has been altered or changed, show me the supplies that are fewer and fewer in our schools. Then tell me you've got an initiative plan. Then, maybe I'll listen to you.”
Lawrence was seen at the window of his office overlooking the protest site, but he did not come outside to meet the protesters.
Schott said that as she's door-to-door to speak to voters, “I start right off with, 'I'm a teacher.' It's been a wonderful experience," she said. "I'm in my element. This man said to me the other day, 'Give me a reason to vote for you and not John Lawrence,' and I said, 'All I'm going to tell you is that this district could not send one person with more passion in her heart for education than Ann Schott.”
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.