Tredyffrin Democratic Party

Election 2017: Candidates for Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, TESD School Board & Magisterial District Judge, District 15-4-01

The 2017 Election campaign season is officially underway for Tredyffrin Township supervisor, TE School District directors and Magisterial District Judge candidates.

All candidates who wished to appear on the Democratic or Republican ballot in the Primary Election needed to have filed their “nomination petitions” along with a “statement of financial interests” with Chester County Voter Services. The nomination petition documents required the signature of registered voters, who are enrolled in the party of which the candidate sought nomination and reside in the electoral district of the office sought. The statement of financial interests requires the candidate to provide information regarding the filer’s source of income.

Below is the list of our local candidates for supervisor, school board and magisterial district judge – best of luck to all those taking the journey!  Regardless of party affiliation and stance on specific issues, we thank you for your time, effort and willingness to serve!

The last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions is March 22.  The Primary Election date is May 16.

Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors

There are three Tredyffrin Township supervisor positions available – two at-large and one in the middle district.  Currently serving at-large supervisor Mark Freed (D) and middle district supervisor Evelyn Richter (R) have chosen not to seek reelection.  At-large supervisor Murph Wysocki (D) is seeking a second term. Terms are four years.

Three attorneys, a physician, corporate CEO and real estate agent will vie for Tredyffrin Township’s three available supervisor seats.

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large: Raffi Terzian, MD
  • Supervisor at Large: Robin Bond, Attorney
  • District 2 (Middle): Beth Coppola, Real Estate Agent

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has announced the following candidates: (official endorsement meeting not yet held)

  • Supervisor at Large: Matthew Holt, Attorney
  • Supervisor at Large: Murph Wysocki, Attorney *
  • District 2 (Middle): Kevin O’Nell, CEO, Peoplelinx

* Incumbent

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TE School District School Board

For the 2017 election, there is a change to the election districts in the TE School District. The regional election districts in the TE School District were approved for realignment last year to address changes in population that had resulted in disparity among the voting regions. The new regional election districts take effect with the 2017 voting cycle. Terms on the school board are four years.

Voting Precincts: (Representatives will serve through December 31, 2017.)

Region 1- Tredyffrin E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, M-1, M-5, M-6
Region 2- Tredyffrin  M-2, M-3, M-4, M-7, W-1, W-2, W-3, W-4, W-5
Region 3- Easttown 1-7

Voting Precincts Beginning with the 2017 Election: 

Region 1- Tredyffrin E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, M-1, M-2, M-5, M-6, W-3, W-4,
Region 2- Tredyffrin M-3, M-4, M-7, W-1, W-2, W-5
Region 3- Tredyffrin E-1, Easttown 1-7

The Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidate for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Region 2: Doug Anestad, Senior Technology Consultant

The Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has announced the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director: (official endorsement meeting not yet held)

  • Region 1: Scott Dorsey, Pastor, Director of Children’s Services *
  • Region 2: Kyle Boyer, Educator

* Incumbent

Incumbent school board director Scott Dorsey (D) is seeking a second term on the TE School Board. The Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has chosen not to oppose Rev. Dorsey in the Region 1 school board race.

Incumbent school board directors Doug Carlson (R) and Virginia Lastner (R) are seeking reelection for a second term in Region 3.  Carlson currently serves as the President of the TE School Board.

UPDATE: Candidates Tina Whitlow (D) and Heather Ward (D) have filed to run for TE School Board for Region 3.

The Region 2 school board race will be interesting.  Republican Doug Anestad, a computer consultant, attends many of the school district meetings and is an active resident participant – most notably outspoken in his opposition of the VF Middle School fencing project (which the current school board elected to install).  Anestad’s opponent in the school board race is candidate Kyle Boyer (D) who is a currently a TESD social studies teacher at VF Middle School.  I do not recall when we have had a candidate for the TE School Board, who was a current TE School District teacher.  This could prove to be a delicate balance for candidate Boyer – employed as a teacher in the school district where he seeks to serve on its school board.

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Magisterial District Judge, District 15-4-01

Incumbent Analisa Sondergaard (D), an attorney is seeking her second 6-year term for Magisterial District Judge, District 15-4-01.  Opposing Sondergaard is Liz Mercogliano(R), attorney, realtor and RN.

Unlike the school board and supervisor candidates, where only 10 signatures are required on the nomination petitions, the magisterial district judge candidates are required to have 100 signatures. As is the case with school board candidates, those seeking district judge position, can cross-file and appear on both Republican and Democratic ballots.  To appear on both Republican and Democratic ballots, a school board candidate would need to have a minimum of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats signatures and a magisterial district judge candidate would need a minimum of 100 signatures from each political party.

Tredyffrin Township At-Large supervisor candidates Elva Bankins, Louis Horvath, Trip Lukens & Sean Moir respond

Supervisor Candidates for Tredyffrin Township, At-Large
Elva Bankins (D)
Louis Horvath (D)
Trip Lukens (R)
Sean Moir (R)

The Tredyffrin Township Supervisor candidates were asked to answer the following question in 500 words or less.

Please identify a specific character trait that makes you an effective leader. Give an example(s) of how you have utilized that personal characteristic in previous leadership position and, if elected, how residents will benefit from that particular trait.  Be specific.

The four candidate responses follow below in alphabetical order according to last name. If your question and/or comment is for a specific candidate, please refer to that individual by name so as not to confuse the reader. Voters will select two of these candidates on November 3 for the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Elva Bankins (D
At-Large

Communication & Active Listener

With 20+ years of experience in corporate management, technology start-ups and non-profit board leadership, I bring an ability to communicate by actively listening and understanding the needs of others.  A small business owner and certified leadership coach, I am a communicator who believes in an open and transparent approach to decision-making and resolving issues.

One example of how I utilized my communication and active listening skills within several disparate groups was in my leadership role with a career services firm. The firm’s purpose was to assist employees who were downsized or “laid off” with their job search.  As the general manager, I served several different constituencies with varied and conflicting interests.  For example, there were two types of customers; one was my corporate customer who paid for their employee’s services and the other was the effected employee who utilized the services.  Additionally, there were many full-time, part-time and contractors who worked for the firm. My responsibilities were extensive. I managed the budget process (P&L), facilities, operations, sales and customer satisfaction. My communications and listening skills while working with multiple constituents were critical to the success of this multi-site operation.

At the request of our corporate customers, the firm opened an office location in the Westlake’s Office Complex in Berwyn, PA. I had continuous meetings with the realtors, our firm’s controller, telecommunications reps, movers, etc., and our employees to ensure a smooth and successful new office opening. While communicating and listening to many constituents, I held costs under budget for the move, ensured customer satisfaction and maintained open and transparent communications throughout the process.

How will this trait benefit Tredyffrin Residents?

If I am elected to the Board of Supervisors, Tredyffrin residents will benefit by getting a communicator who is an active listener. A 22+ year resident of this township, the Board will gain a business professional who can listen to multiple constituents and who will work tirelessly for successfully outcomes. If elected, my vision is to foster closer relationships with our residents and companies that conduct business in Tredyffrin to build a closer sense of community.  As a communicator, I bring compassion and a responsible and prudent approach to decision-making while seeking new ways to ensure that we are focused on building a foundation that solidifies the future of Tredyffrin Township and our residents.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Louis Horvath (D
At-Large

Character traits that best describe me are my lifelong determination to achieve competency, serve others and be a person of the highest integrity.

I am from a humble background. I grew up in the coal region of Western Pennsylvania as the son of a coal miner and a cleaning lady who were not able to attend high school. My roots have provided me with the values of humility, respect and service to all people.

I began my devotion to service at the age of 15 when I entered the Catholic seminary to study for the priesthood. My original intention was to serve others as a missionary in South America. But after graduating from college, I decided to seek a different vocational direction. I completed my graduate studies in Community Health at Temple University and embarked on a rewarding career in health care and education.

My professional career started as a clinician counseling people with alcohol addiction and their families. As I grew in my understanding of the disease, I developed a comprehensive program that improved successful outcomes in meeting patient needs.

My career grew in senior management by enhancing medical services in hospital settings; coordinating mental health services at three organizations; and serving the elderly and special needs children through care management and home care services.

With over 25 years of successful leadership experience in managing health services, addressing and responding to the special needs of the community and listening to their concerns,  my journey as a health care administrator and university educator has equipped me with the knowledge, skills and competency to serve the community as a Township Supervisor. They include:

  • Managing employees and benefit administration
  • Monitoring large budgets and capital improvements
  • Improving information system;
  • Leading growth and change in multiple organizations

For three years now I have been fully committed to motivating and guiding students at St. Joseph’s University to become future leaders. I tell my students they will achieve as leaders through determination and by remaining true to themselves and their highest values.

I am an individual committed to the ethical principles of autonomy, which entails respect for others, social justice, and having the courage to do the right thing in the right way. A person of high expectations of self and others, I would like to serve in the best interest of the community. I do my research and homework and base decisions on facts and truth. My interest in service is rooted in my family background, my career in health services and in higher education.

Finally, my strength lies in my spirituality and integrity.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Trip Lukens (R
At-Large

Consensus Builder

I am a proven consensus builder.  For the last eight years, I have served Tredyffrin Township as a member of the Planning Commission.  For four of those years, I was elected by a bipartisan group of my peers to serve as either the Vice Chairman or Chairman.

During my eight years of service, I have worked with individuals with competing interest to craft compromises that have worked well for the township.  I have been active in advocating for our communities.  I was involved in drafting the Township’s Comprehensive and Historic Preservation plans.  I have worked to modernize the Township’s zoning ordinances.  Those efforts continue as I work to address problems that remain within the Zoning Code which have allowed for excessive density in some of the Township’s Zoning Districts.  I have worked diligently to reduce the impact of Storm Water throughout the Township.

My ability to build consensus and to be a bipartisan leader is illustrated by the fact that three former Democratic candidates for Supervisor chose to contribute financially to my campaign to become a Tredyffrin Township Supervisor.

The makeup of the next Board of Supervisors will have members of both parties.  The Township will be best served by having a Supervisor with a history of working with people of differing points of view.  Given my eight years of service on the Planning Commission and my professional experience in real estate and finance, I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve as a member of the Board of Supervisors.

As a father of three young children, I know how important it is for the Township to provide and support top notch police and fire departments, great municipal parks, and excellent libraries. Tredyffrin Township is a wonderful place to live and I consider myself blessed to be able to raise a family here.  Departing Supervisors Mike Heaberg, Kristen Mayock, and J.D. DiBuonaventuro have provided a history of delivering an excellent level of service from the Township with a proven history of excellent fiscal management.  I intend to continue this legacy.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Sean Moir (R
At-Large

Consensus Builder

As a member of Tredyffrin’s Park Board for the last ten years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of projects that directly affect the daily lives of township residents.  Sometimes these involve virtually unquestionable community improvements – like the new scoreboard at Wilson Park – but sometimes the projects also require community buy-in.  In these latter cases it’s important to have the ability to act as a consensus builder.

Over the last year I’ve been working on an initiative to establish a safe and convenient access to the Chester Valley Trail from D’Ambrosia Park.  This has required working closely with neighboring residents, Supervisors, Park Board members, Public Works, township staff, the Friends of the Chester Valley Trail, Chester County Parks and Facilities, and the adjacent landowner, to develop a mutually agreeable solution for trail access.

When I first approached the Supervisors about this idea in early 2014 there was some concern about neighborhood reaction, so I was asked to contact the residents to discuss the idea.  I invited a group of neighbors to attend a Park Board meeting where I presented a possible plan for the D’Ambrosia trail access.  There were about a dozen residents in attendance and they expressed their concerns primarily about increased traffic and privacy issues.  After demonstrating how we could address these issues, we called for a vote and the neighbors unanimously and enthusiastically agreed to support the project.

After various follow-up meetings on and off site with residents and township staff to discuss possible trail alignments, we developed a plan that was approved by the Supervisors.  I also met with representatives from the Friends of the Chester Valley Trail, as well as Chester County Parks and Facilities to formalize a connection agreement.  Since this access requires crossing a small section of private property, I contacted the property owner, and managed to foster an agreement between his attorney and the township solicitor.

The project is now in the construction phase, and should be open to the public next spring.

This particular example demonstrates that even the most seemingly simple of public projects can require buy-in from a vast array of stakeholders, any of whom could cause an initiative to stall out.  It is critical in these cases to always respect the wishes of all parties involved, especially residents who don’t necessarily have an official role in municipal projects.  Only then, through thoughtful consensus building and perseverance, can a public project succeed.

As a Park Board member, I have demonstrated the ability to bring people together to accomplish many objectives.  Not only with trail access, but I did it with the Conestoga Road sidewalk project in 2009, the scoreboard at Wilson Park last year, and I’m currently working with the Audubon Society’s Tredyffrin Bird Town chapter to create a bird sanctuary at Westover Park in Devon.

As Supervisor I would apply the same consensus building approach to bigger projects whether they involve the parks, libraries, infrastructure, stormwater, planning, or public safety.

Tredyffrin Township District 1 East supervisor candidates Paul Olson and Tory Snyder respond

Supervisor Candidates for Tredyffrin Township, District 1 – East
Paul Olson (R) Incumbent
Tory Snyder (D)

The Tredyffrin Township Supervisor candidates were asked to answer the following question in 500 words or less.

Please identify a specific character trait that makes you an effective leader. Give an example(s) of how you have utilized that personal characteristic in previous leadership position and, if elected, how residents will benefit from that particular trait.  Be specific.

The two candidate responses follow below in alphabetical order according to last name. If your question and/or comment is for a specific candidate, please refer to that individual by name so as not to confuse the reader. Voters will select one of these candidates on November 3 for the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Paul Olson (R) Incumbent
District 1 – East

Persistence

My name is Paul Olson and I am running for re-election as Supervisor in the Eastern District of Tredyffrin Township.  My wife, Andrea, and I have lived here since 1969 and we raised our family here.

The character trait that has served me well is persistence.  “Persistence is omnipotent” and through it we are able to achieve many worthwhile goals in life.  This is my firm belief.

In my thirty-seven plus years of service to the citizens of Tredyffrin as a Township Supervisor, I have overseen significant changes in this community and I have always been determined to provide quality services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.

Through the years, I have always been a dedicated worker.  Now, as an employer in a small family-owned company, I have come to understand and appreciate the importance of the following values:

  1. Team involvement (There is no “I” in team);
  2. A ‘Stick-to-It’ attitude; and,
  3. A ‘Never give up’ approach.

All three are critical, not only in the work-a-day world that most of us experience, but in the Public sector as well.

As one of the co-chairs of the Tredyffrin Library Capital Campaign which supported the expansion of the Strafford Library, I helped to raise more than four million dollars in private money for that project. Persistence and perseverance helped us to achieve that success.  I have worked to bring people together on numerous issues and I have always cared deeply about doing what is best for the community.

Since 2007 I have been a member of the Surrey Services Board of Directors.  I am fortunate to be able to work with this wonderful organization which provides such important services to our older citizens.  Our community is blessed with individuals who give of their time, talent, and treasure for volunteer organizations and volunteerism helps make America the great country that it is!

If re-elected, I will continue to be persistent and steadfast in my efforts to make Tredyffrin an even better place to live and work and play.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Candidate Tory Snyder (D)
District 1 – East

Forward-looking Leadership

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

While it is difficult to identify one single trait that has made me an effective leader, I would say that one of my strongest traits, and one that distinguishes me from my opponent, is that I am forward looking in my decision making.

I grew up in the western end of Tredyffrin Township and attended T/E schools. I saw the development of Chesterbrook Shopping Center as the new exciting place to shop in the late 1970s and witnessed its vacancies 30 some years later. I saw the old Wilson farm become Wilson Farm Park and watched Berwyn Paoli Little League create the field of dreams complex.  I have chosen Tredyffrin as my home as I became an adult and parent because I know where we have come from and I can see where we can go as a community. I am invested in Tredyffrin Township and I will contribute to its long term strength and success.

This perspective is essential to taking actions that make sense for Township residents today without burdening Township residents in the future. I believe that this lack of forward thinking among some of our elected officials has resulted in the Township’s moving too slowly and missing out on a number of opportunities to broaden our tax base and provide more amenities for Tredyffrin residents.

Many of my actions first as a member, and then as Chair of the Planning Commission, reflect this philosophy. I always ask what will be the future implications of a decision.  One specific example that I can point to recently is when the developers of the new assisted living facility in Paoli came to the Township with their proposal. While the project had broad political support as proposed, many of the neighbors voiced valid concerns with the project. I shared many of their concerns. As a Planning Commissioner, I was able to add limitations to the Township Code so that this project and any future projects would be presented to the Township in a more appropriate form.

While not all of the provisions that I suggested were adopted, including a greater amount of open space and a better density standard, I believe that it was my specific leadership and direction that resulted in a better project which met a number of resident concerns and set better standards for future projects.

As a Tredyffrin Township Supervisor (1st District, East) I will be one of the seven people who set policy for our Township, who are elected to govern and to address the needs of all residents in the community.  I would like to serve the people of Tredyffrin as a member of this Board, bringing my forward looking leadership and perspective to keep our community strong in the future.

Head of Tredyffrin Republicans is now in the T/E School Board race!

The twist and turns of local politics … Replacing Dr. George Anderson (who withdrew from the TE School Board race last week) is the current Chair of the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee, Neill Kling.  Neill sent the following note this morning regarding his candidacy for the TE School Board:

Pattye:
Just a quick note to inform your readers that I have been chosen by our Committeepeople in Region 1 to replace George Anderson as one of the Republican School Board candidates from that region.   The decision to run is my own; I have been thinking about doing this for some time now.  I run because I believe that I (along with my now running mates Neal Colligan and Ed Sweeney), will complement the excellent stewardship of sitting Board President Kris Graham, while at the same time offering a fresh perspective on the educational and fiscal choices that are vital to keeping the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District both outstanding and affordable.  Two of my children are graduates of private high schools, and two are and will be attending Conestoga High School, so I have experience as a parent with public and private education.  We should be proud that, at least in our district, public education keeps pace with the many first-class private schools at a fraction of the cost, and that is a testament not only to our wonderful public educators but also to the great parents of our school community.  Nevertheless, in the public sphere, we must be mindful that our operating expenses come from all of our taxpayers, whether they use the schools or not, and that our schools are an integral part of our neighborhoods and must be responsive to their needs as well.  


Commitment to the best education possible combined with a concern for our taxpayers has been the hallmark of the T/E School District for many years.  It is why so many of us have chosen to live and raise our families here.  If elected, I will be honored to help continue and, where necessary, improve upon that wonderful legacy.  


Best,

Neill Kling  

Primary Election 2015 Results for Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors and School Board Races: Amidst Low Turnout, Results Indicate Interest in Change

Your vote mattersPrimary Election 2015 was yesterday and Chester County Voter Services has now calculated the results. Tredyffrin Township has 9,003 registered Republicans and 8,146 registered Democrats. For Primary Day, it was nearly a dead heat of Republicans and Democrats showing up to vote. Approximately 17.8% of the registered Democrats voted (1,447 voters) and 17.7% of the registered Republicans voted (1,596 voters) yesterday. If you want your vote to matter, you have to vote!

I received some early inaccurate results however the following information is verified from the County website. In reviewing the cumulative results, the total vote count for the Board of Supervisor races are as follows:

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor: At-Large 
Sean Moir(R) 1,378
Trip Lukens(R) 1,316
Elva Bankins(D) 1,264
Lou Horvath(D) 1,253

Two at-large seats are available on the Board of Supervisors and no incumbents are in the race. Republicans Mike Heaberg and Kristen Mayock are current at-large supervisors and are not seeking re-election. Both having previously run unsuccessfully for the Board of Supervisors, Moir and Lukens received the highest number of votes in yesterday’s Primary Election. Political newcomers, Democrats Bankins and Horvath followed closely behind Moir and Lukens in total votes.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor:  District 3: West 
Yolanda Van de Krol(D) 444
Heather Greenberg (R) 416

Currently serving Western District supervisor John DiBuonaventuro is not seeking reelection. Both newcomers to the municipal supervisor races, Van de Krol received the highest number of votes in the Primary Election.

Tredyffrin Township Supervisor:  District 1: East 
Paul Olson(R) 466
Tory Snyder(D) 464

The District 1 supervisor race has a re-match between Tredyffrin Township Planning Commissioner chair Tory Snyder(D) and Paul Olson(R), the longest-serving supervisor in the history of the township. If you recall, in 2011, this particular supervisor race was extremely close with only 13 votes separating them in the General Election. For Primary Election 2015, Olson received only two more votes than Snyder. It doesn’t get much closer, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens over the next 6 months.

For many people, the Board of Supervisor races have taken a backseat to the TE School Board races.

Five of the nine seats on the school board are available. Four Board members, Karen Cruickshank (D), Pete Motel(R), Jim Bruce(R) and Liz Mercogliano(R) are not seeking reelection. The fifth available school board seat is held currently by Board President Kris Graham(R) who is seeking reelection.

The unresolved school fencing issues, the very expensive $4 million + maintenance building and the outsourcing of the aides and paraeducators are just three school district issues that recently have had some of us questioning the decisions of the current school board. The Primary Election results indicate an interest from the community in ‘change’, particularly the numbers in Tredyffrin, Region 2.

TE School Board: Tredyffrin West, Region 2
Michele Burger(D) 1138
Ed Sweeney(R) 922
Kris Graham(R) 764
Alan Yockey(D) 691*
(*Not cross-filed)

In the only school board race with an incumbent, Democrat Michele Burger has a commanding lead, with more than 200 votes separating her and Republican Ed Sweeney, with incumbent Kris Graham(R) in third place. With only two seats available in Region 2, if the General Election were held today it would mean that incumbent Kris Graham would no longer be sitting on the school board.

TE School Board: Tredyffrin East, Region 1
Roberta Hotinski(D) 604
Todd Kantorczyk (D) 572
Neal Colligan(R) 495
George Anderson(R) 398*
(*Not cross-filed)

Two positions on the school board are available in Region 1. All political newcomers, the Democratic candidates Roberta Hotinski and Todd Kantorczyk received the two highest vote totals in the Primary Election.

In addition to the Region 1 and Region 2 seats in Tredyffrin Township, Region 3 in Easttown Township has one seat available. Currently serving school board director Dr. Pete Motel(R) is not seeking reelection.

The Primary Election results for Easttown, Region 3 have Republican Kate Murphy receiving 610 votes and Democratic Fran Reardon receiving 268 votes. Reardon did not cross-file. Although both Murphy and Reardon themselves are newcomers to the school board races, Murphy is the daughter of a well-known local political family, Steve and Carol Aichele. Steve Aichele served as the Chief of Staff for former PA Governor Tom Corbett. Carol Aichele served as Secretary of the Commonwealth under Corbett and previously served as a Chester County Commissioner and TE School Board member.

The results of the Region 2 School Board race should be a message not just to incumbent Kris Graham but to the entire school board. More and more people are ‘tuning in’ as to what is going on and do not necessarily support some of this Board’s decisions.  Whether it is the increasing taxes, school fencing, outsourcing of District employees, an over-priced maintenance building, lack of transparency,  etc. – these votes reflect a desire for change.  The Board needs to accept that this is no longer a ‘few discontents’ but that more and more residents are paying attention and are troubled by some of their decisions.

It will be interesting to see if the Primary Election proves to be an indicator for what we will see in November.  It is six months until the General Election and much can happen between now and then, particularly with the addition of the Independent voters.  Pennsylvania does not allow Independent voters a voice in the Primary Election but come November, our votes will count!  I am sure that the local political analysts will have more to say on the Primary Election results and I welcome the discussion.

In closing, I have to include this photo from Primary Day. I ran into the Democrat and Republican chairs (Kathleen Keohane and Neill Kling) at Our Lady of the Assumption, one of the voting locations yesterday and they generously posed for this photo. Although I’m delighted to include it here on Community Matters, I challenged each of them to include it on the respective websites!

Kathleen Keohane and Neill Kling

Kathleen Keohane, Tredyffrin Democratic Party Chair with Neill Kling, Chair of Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee on Primary Election Day, Our Lady of the Assumption.

The Clock Ticks Down to Election Day – Soon it will be up to ‘Us’, the voter!

In less than 36 hours, the polls will open on Tuesday at 7 AM, Election Day.  Soon it will be up to us, the voters.

Although I encourage everyone to take their voice to the polls on Tuesday, I admit that this political campaign season has disappointed.  Some would suggest that negative campaigning is the way to mobilize the partisan base.  Perhaps, but where does that leave the independent and swing voters?  Emotion-packed or personal attacks on campaign mailers play a different role than policy-based attacks.

The political rhetoric in this country has become too vitriolic . . . we are losing the ability to discuss things with civility.  The poisonous rhetoric is everywhere; turn on CNN or read the New York Times . . . ‘our national discourse’ has tumbled to new lows.  Regrettably, it is not limited to the national campaigns but it is right here; in our own backyard.

Certainly some of the campaign mailers and political signs have made good points, but it is the way they are presented.  The politicos are not trying to reach us intellectually; they want to draw on our emotions – make us afraid, angry, anxious.

We all understand that a natural part of any political campaign is opposition research.  After all, a candidate has to make a case to the voter that they are the more experienced, the better prepared, and the best ‘choice’.  Therefore, we should not be surprised that the next step is for the campaign camps to feel pressure to let voters know “the truth” about their opponent, especially if that person has already gone negative. The pressure builds between the opposing sides.  One side attacks and then the other side feels they have little choice but to respond in kind.  Yes, that is the name of the game . . . politics.

Often times during this campaign season, I watched with sadness as members of this community lobbied attacks against each other.  It is such a shame, because for every minute a candidate spends attacking his opponent that is one less minute that could be spent talking about legitimate differences on policy issues that actually affect the voters. Speaking of differences between the sides – at times it has appeared the candidates were more similar than different.

Where does all this leave us for Election Day; what is a voter to do?  There are no campaign enforcement police making sure everyone is telling the truth. My hope for all of you who hold the privilege to vote is to think for yourself.  Do a little research and use that developed human brain of yours.  Please try not to be influenced by the negative campaign ads. Your vote is worth more than a nay saying ad or a half-truth campaign mailer.

Think for yourself, beyond what your neighbor, your friend or co-worker favors. Know the candidates and support those who have shown principled behavior. Exercise your right to vote in a sane, thoughtful manner and make your vote count this Tuesday!

It is now up to ‘us’ . . . the voters.

Community Matters Clarification on BOS and School Board Candidate Responses

It has come to be attention that some readers may be confused about the last couple of Community Matters posts and are questioning why Tredyffrin Republican supervisor and school board candidates did not respond to my questions and that the Democratic candidates did. Hope this post will offer clarification.

In early October, I sent an email to all the Tredyffrin Republican and Democratic supervisor and school board candidates.  In addition, I sent the Republican and Democrat school board candidates in Easttown the same email.  The email asked the candidates to (1) idenify what they thought was the most important issue facing either the school district or the township, (2) the candidate was asked what they would do to help or solve the issue if elected and (3) what in their background or experience qualifies you to help solve the issue.  I was specific and asked that the 3-part question be 200 words or less and gave them a deadline that was prior to the League of Women Voters debates.

The Easttown school board candidates Pete Motel (R) and Craig Lewis (D) responded with their answers prior to the deadline and those responses were posted on Community Matters on October 19.   In that October 19 post, I also explained that the Tredyffrin Republican and Democratic supervisor and school board candidates had declined to participate.  Here is an excerpt from that post:

. . . Believing that it is important for voters to make an informed decision on which candidate they elect to serve us, I saw no downside to the candidates participation in May nor did I at this time.

Much to my surprise, the individual Tredyffrin Republican supervisor and school board candidates declined my offer, suggesting that voters could visit their websites for information and that, “We are more than happy to answer questions from individual voters across Tredyffrin – and are doing so while going door-to-door, attending community events, and more.”

The chair of the Tredyffrin Democratic Party Dariel Jamieson responded on behalf of the Democratic supervisor and school board candidates, declining to participate until after the League of Women Voters debates.  Here is an excerpt from that email:

“Our BOS and School Board candidates prefer not to submit answers to the questions you posed to them until after the LWV [League of Women Voter] debates. The questions were all ones that were asked in the debates two years ago – as they should have been, they are key questions – but to have our answers published first is not fair to the LWV and makes the job of our candidates harder to distinguish themselves in the debates.

Following the League of Women Voters debates, I received responses to my questions from the Democratic supervisor and school board candidates.  Although the responses were past my original deadline, I thought there was value for the voters in posting them.  But so everyone knows, I actually sent a courtesy email to the Republican candidates last week to explain that the I had received the Democratic responses and offered the Republican candidates a second opportunity to answer the questions. My email to the Republican candidates stated that that no response was required if they were not going to participate; and for the record, there was no response to my email.

So there is absolutely no question in anyone’s mind — if the Republican supervisor and school board candidates would like to answer the 3-part question — I am now making a third offer to them.  Candidates — answer the 3-part questions in 200 words or less and email them to me at: tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com  I will be happy to post your responses!  I hope this clarifies the timeline and that I gave all candidates exactly the same opportunity.  I am sorry if there was any confusion!

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