Editorial: Andy Dinniman. Ours.
● By Richard Gaw
His presence was constant and governed by the forces of reason
and temerity. His voice was calming and reassuring. During two of the most
catastrophic periods of our nation's history, Americans leaned on a man whose paralysis
could not support the weight of his own body.
State Sen. Andy Dinniman has been in the public eye in Chester County longer than most of your children have been alive, and when he announced that he would not seek a fourth term as Chester County's key voice in Harrisburg, the news reverberated around the halls of our local government, and in the gathering spots where the news of our county is picked apart and sifted through. To many of his constituents, they could not remember when Dinniman was not their Senator, and in fact, his career in the Senate and his three terms as Chester County Commissioner dates back to 1991.
Were any of us – his constituency – surprised when Dinniman's announcement, which arrived one month after he formally declared his intentions to run for a fourth four-year term, sounded as if its words were pulled directly from the decency of his conscience?
“This was a very tough decision, especially knowing just how many of you have already contributed your time and energy to my reelection campaign – from fundraising to volunteering to circulating petitions,” Dinniman's statement read. “However, as I sit at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center with my wife, Margo, who is now recovering from surgery, we both came to the sudden realization this was not the time to run again.”
Throughout his political career, Dinniman has been a savior and a leading voice, a legislator and a bulldog, a proverbial thorn in the side of his opponents and an orator of impeccable skill, whose voice echoes in the halls of Harrisburg as effectively as it does when he has pulled up a chair at a nursing home or a school or a hospital, and offered up whispers of encouragement to those who most need it.
Andrew Dinniman is 75 now, and while we are right to accept his retirement begrudgingly, we must also reconcile to the truth that he has given all of himself to us, and for that, we should be grateful.
He has a new mountain to climb now. He finds himself in the role of caretaker – a role he has so admiringly performed for his constituents – but now it is Margo's turn to receive his care, so that she “may again walk freely and live without constant pain for the first time in years.”
He has no reason to fear of being alone in his newest role. We will not let him fall. It's just the way things are done in the county that Andrew Dinniman loves.
He's one of us. He's ours.