September has arrived and with it non-stop coverage of the presidential campaign. But, even if you’ve stayed up late to watch the convention speeches, read the party platforms, or visited the campaign web sites, you’d be hard pressed to know where the candidates stand on historic preservation. Such is our movement’s blessing and its curse.
On the one hand preservation can claim a higher degree of bi-partisanship than most interest groups. The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit is popular on both sides of the aisle and both Republican and Democratic administrations have determined that the Historic Preservation Fund is well managed and serves to carry out the purposes for which it was authorized--at the General Accounting Office this passes as the highest form of praise. At the same time, while mayors may or may not tout their preservation credentials, candidates for national office never do, leaving us to look deep between the lines to figure out whether or not their policies would be good or ghastly for our work.
| Credit: Obama-www.whitehouse.gov, Romney-Gage Skidmore (via Wikipedia).
So just imagine, what if you were able to put the issue on the table in this presidential campaign? What would you ask, and more importantly, what would they answer? Here is your chance – let’s just say you’ve been given one shot on a nationally televised presidential debate to ask one question about historic preservation. What would it be? What would you ask? Start typing, you never know when the sponsor of the next debate might call and ask.