For the first time in my life, I am actively campaigning for a political candidate: Hobie Crystle for district attorney.

The disconnect: Crystle is running as a Democrat; I am a Republican.

When I started volunteering, I was warned that many people in Lancaster County would flat-out refuse to consider a candidate who is not Republican. They were right. While canvassing in my own community, I’ve had people shut the door outright, saying, “I only vote for Republicans.”

Party should not be a deciding factor in this race — the election is Nov. 5 — because the district attorney’s decisions are never determined by partisan affiliation; they are solely guided by the Constitution, interpreted through the personal values and ethics of the DA. In fact, if the DA is loyal to any other entity, we have a serious imbalance of power in our justice system.

When I stopped to think about how to make sure the justice system reflects my values, I realized party wasn’t what was important. Only one candidate is prioritizing keeping parents with children and workers at jobs. It’s taking some courage, but I’m crossing party lines to make sure that person gets elected.

I would encourage you to think of your values outside of Democrats and Republicans. Think instead about who wants to keep with the established broken system, and who wants to make our community safe and whole.

As for me, I’m voting for someone who shares my values, who is loyal to no one but our community.

Pamela Getting Stauffer