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Should candidate's bankruptcy be an issue in an election?

The perception of those who’ve filed for bankruptcy in Cuyahoga Falls has no doubt changed over the years. What once may have been viewed as the ultimate taboo is starting to be seen more-and more for what bankruptcy protection was originally intended to be: a way provide people with debt relief while being open and honest with their creditors regarding their financial struggles and attempting to repay them if they can. Yet with media access delving deeper and deeper into issues these days, the question of whether or not a person has to file for bankruptcy protection can be viewed as a gauge of his or her attitude or character is often raised.

Such a question is currently being brought up in a Pennsylvania township election. The incumbent candidate’s decision to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is being cited by his opponents as an indication of his capacity to fulfill the responsibilities of the office. Their assertion is that if he has trouble meeting his personal expenses, he will also inevitably struggle to meet public expenses as well.

For his part, the incumbent points the circumstances which lead to his overwhelming debt. His failed bid for the state representative’s office in 2008 coincided with a transition in his personal business, which led to financial difficulties and, by extension, a large accumulation of debt. His business success today, coupled with his work on a 2014 budget plan that managed to avoid tax increases, is what he believes to be a better indicator of his financial skills than his decision to file for bankruptcy.

Ultimately, in such a situation, it’s for the voters to decide if the man’s bankruptcy affects their opinion on whether or not he is fit for office. Yet many of those voters may be surprised how easy it is to accumulate the kind of debt that leads to bankruptcy, or how quickly they could end up in the same situation. Those wanting more information on the process of filing for personal bankruptcy may wish to speak with a bankruptcy attorney.

Source: “Candidate’s financial struggles at issue in supervisors race” Joan Hellyer, Oct. 24, 2013

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