The Shippensburg Borough Council is composed of six elected officials, each serving four-year terms.
These six members have extensive powers, allowing them to make decisions that impact the community as a whole.
However, they are unpaid officials. So, why would they volunteer their time without being paid?
For council Member Steve Brenize, there are two reasons. First, Brenize grew up in Shippensburg, so his primary reason for running for Council was to give back to the community.
When Brenize decided to run for election, there was an appointed incumbent who ran unopposed the previous year.
Therefore, Brenize’s second reason for running for council was his belief that an election should be contested.
Now that Brenize is a member of the council, he said he hopes to, “make local government responsive to the population based on universal services such as water and sewer and health and safety.”
In Brenize’s opinion, government regulation should not be centered on what a group of people feel the norm should be, but rather the well-being of the people as a whole.
“A good ordinance is based on safety and health,” Brenize said. “It needs to be defined with a good mechanism to measure the harm done to an individual.”
In order to illustrate his views on ordinances, Brenize referred back to the Shippensburg Borough Council meeting that was held on Feb. 5, 2013.
During that meeting, council voted to advertise a revised noise ordinance, which now states that one can be cited when making a disturbance, which is defined as a noise that can be heard across a property or boundary line from 50 feet away from the source of the noise.
Brenize was the only member who opposed the new ordinance.
According to Brenize, he was against the new ordinance because it allows the police officers to be the claimant of the disturbance.
Brenize posed the example that if he were to have a gathering at his home with all of his neighbors from the surrounding properties, then there would be no one left to be disturbed.
However, an officer walking down the street would be able to claim a disturbance and issue a citation.
“The changes made didn’t make it a better ordinance,” Brenize said. “It just made it easier to enforce.”
In terms of Brenize’s political philosophy, he said that he can be pegged as a libertarian in the real-world.
Libertarianism is the political practice in which the members of the party seek freedom and believe that each individual person should have control over his or her own rights.
“As long as you don’t do anything to cause physical or economic harm to me personally, then you are free to go,” Brenize said.
Although Brenize is a libertarian, he realizes that society is not completely open to this mindset right now. Brenize used health care as an example, which he does not feel would be beneficial to the country.
“We have a broken system,” Brenize said. But, even though he does not feel there should be a government health care system, he feels that if the country wants a health care system, “then we need to find a solution.”
As for his own idea for a solution to the health care dilemma, Brenize offered the idea of health care co-ops.
In the instance of health care co-ops, large employers in communities would pay for and establish health care facilities for the community.
For example, in Shippensburg, Volvo Construction Equipment, Shippensburg University, The Beistle Company and the other major employers in the area would pay for healthcare facilities, allowing their employees to have full medical benefits.
Then, other members of the community would be able to purchase health care coverage.
Brenize also suggested that surrounding communities, such as Carlisle and Chambersburg, would be able to join together to provide specialists.
It will be interesting to see the direction the country heads in the future and whether or not some of the libertarian views will be adopted.
But, Brenize will continue to share his views and opinions in the Shippensburg Borough Council and continue to play a key role in Shippensburg’s government.