Musings of a State Senator

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | Jul 25, 2009

"Chester County is the best place to find centrist values."
Senator Andrew Dinniman

Some months ago I heard Senator Andrew Dinniman share an inspiring message to our Regional Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce. In a day when many politicians seem to polarize, aggravate, and disappoint us, his reflections lifted all of our spirits a bit higher. 

Here are some of his thoughts on items we value here in Chester County (in general) and Phoenixville (in particular). 

We value land. "We have a land ethic in Chester County. We have here a very special sense of place. Many beautiful structures have been built on our land but to lose the land we lose the soul. People have to go somewhere. Why not here?" 

I think of those words as I drive around our neighborhood. This place is not just any place. It really is very special and the Senator helped affirm that to me. 

We value entrepreneurship. "We need to reward the small business person. We need to reward those who take risks. We give special awards like the 'Minuteman Award' from the National Federation of Independent Businesses." 

I think of those words as I pick up my Maple Lawn dry cleaning from Sue or stop for gas at the new station in town or get my shoes repaired by Dan Pisano Shoe Repair or get a cone from John at Petrucci's or talk to Jeff at the Kimberton Inn. And the Senator helped affirm that to me. 

We value good schools and libraries. "A worker needs knowledge and skills to excel. Not every student marches to the same drum. We have charter schools, home schools, cyber schools as well as regular schools. We customize everything. The world of standardization is over." 

I think of those words as I hear my local educator friends speak with passion of their commitment to educational excellence. I read of their exploits in our paper The Phoenix and with each accomplishment I realize how these educational investments are improving our community. And the Senator helped affirm that to me. 

We value government. "Unfortunately, too many people don't talk to each other anymore. They insult each other. And it is draining on the culture of our country. Chester County is the best place to find centrist values. We are fiscally conservative. We provide access to our citizens. We end perks and bonuses to our state employees." 

I think of those words as I realize the array of dedicated public servants who sacrifice on our behalf every day. Sure, there are a few negative exceptions but the overwhelming majority is doing their best to make positive change for all of us. And the Senator helped affirm that to me. 

We value altruism. "Chester County is one of the leading counties in the country with individuals with significant disposable income. We will not be judged by our history or how wealthy we were but how much we have helped others. And Phoenixville is known for its sense of community. That sense is very precious. It's like being a part of a family. We help each other. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that we are all woven together into a single garment of destiny." 

I think of those words as I move around our community whether I am passing a stranger on the street or stop to greet a familiar friend. We are all connected to each other and what a great place to live. And, the Senator helped affirm that to me. 

I once heard someone say that Senator Dinniman engages in such a comprehensive way in our community he even attends letter openings. Although that remark makes me smile, I must agree that whenever I am around him it is obvious that he has the best of our community at heart. 

Thank you, Senator Dinniman, for all you do for all of us. 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
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