Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Primary Election Day Tuesday, May 16: Your Vote Matters!

Tuesday, May 16 is Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania. In the words of Napoléon Bonaparte, “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

You have to be a registered Democrat or a registered Republican to vote in the Primary Election tomorrow, May 16. Sadly, Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that does not permit Independent candidates, like myself, to participate in the Primary Election. Independent voter registrations continue to rise and it is quite possible that these voters may be the deciding factor for local elections in November.

For the D’s and R’s — the message is to get out and vote tomorrow! In the words of Napoléon Bonaparte, “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

Below is a list of supervisor, school board and magisterial judge candidates. Some of the candidates have personal campaign website and Facebook pages. Take the time to know your candidates before you vote!
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 endorsed the following candidates:

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

* Incumbent
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 edorsed the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

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

* Incumbent
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. Candidates Tina Whitlow (D) and Heather Ward (D) are opposing Carlson and Lastner for the TE School Board in Region 3.
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.

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      Asked what she’d like to accomplish if elected to the school board this fall, Ward said, “Greater transparency with the community. We currently don’t televise committee meetings and that’s where a lot of decisions are made.”

      “There’s some spending decisions being made, there could be a greater focus on where our funds are going and direct them toward students and lower our property taxes on our residents,” said Ward. While she would not promise that taxes would be reduced, she said, “I think it’s something the board needs to analyze in our spending.” However, Ward conceded that much of what drives the district’s expenses is related to pension and special education costs.

      Ward, meanwhile, has already made national news. Her candidacy was highlighted by Time magazine in an article about young Democrats in the Trump era:

  1. It means that if the election were held today, Easttown candidates Heather Ward and Tina Whitlow would be your new school board directors having prevailed over Easttown candidates Virginia Lastner and Doug Carlosn.

    1. I like Scott Dorsey but don’t like that he is a minister serving as a public official. The wall of separation says that the government cannot make laws that favor one religion over the other. The government cannot endorse any particular religion, but isn’t that what we’re doing by electing a Minister as a school Board Director? I have never seen Scott use his position as a Minister to make or sway policy but when his peers on the School Board refer to him as “Reverend Dorsey” while serving in his official capacity as Director, it is highly offensive to the hard work and dedication our fore fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, put forth when shaping our current system of government.

  2. No no, no no no. Can’t do this. Bad enough that Dorsey has no one running against him. Even worse that another candidate is a Minister too.


  3. A couple of interesting things here, School District-wise. I’m one of the least religious folks ever, but I’ve never been upset by Scott’s daytime job, which he has only referenced in the context of relevant things like humanitarian values and leadership experience. I can’t speak for Kyle Boyer, though, since he has not participated in TESD governance meetings so far.

    Clearly an energized Democratic and parent base turned out in the Primary election (I think I heard, for Chester County overall, 93% more Ds vs two years ago). It will be interesting to see how that plays out by November, when perhaps more Rs will turn out and also hopefully voters will get a chance to assess the candidates on their individual merits as potential School Directors. The choices are clearly defined: experience from service TO the District vs experience from recent participation IN, and service FOR, the District.

    1. And let’s not forget that registered Independents like myself, were not permitted to vote in PA Primary Election. All those votes from Independents will be up for grabs come November. I know many Independents who are not ‘political party’ loyal — who review the candidates individually and vote for the most qualified person, based on their experience, education, etc. not whether they have a ‘R’ or ‘D’ next to their name.

  4. The comments are interesting. Though I disagree with some of what has been said, I respect that people have different views. As a reader, I can only guess at the writers’ motivations. Perhaps casting aspersions and raising doubts are the true intent. Though probably not.

    FYI: Both Scott Dorsey and Kyle Boyer are employed full-time in secular positions – Scott as a Program Director for an adoption and foster care agency, and Kyle as an educator. How would their religious training impede their ability to make good judgments as school board directors? I think T/E residents can feel comfortable that they are men of good moral character who understand and care deeply about the welfare of children. Should Sunday school teachers be suspect too? Supervisor candidate Kevin O’Nell teaches Sunday school. Does that negatively impact his ability to make sound decisions as as a supervisor? Few would think so. Respect for the separation of church and state is not in question in any of these cases.

    Calling Scott “Reverend” Dorsey is a sign of respect. Have you noticed Roberta Hotinski is referred to as “Dr.” Hotinski? Again, just a matter of respect.

    Regarding running unopposed, is it un-American? It happens frequently at the state and even at the federal level. Why? Gerrymandering has divided state and federal legislative districts into areas that are not competitive.
    But on a local level, SB vice-president Scott Dorsey is running unopposed because the local party made a decision not to run someone against him – because I believe, they agreed he represents the entire community well enough to earn their respect and support.

    School Board elections were never meant to be partisan. The welfare of the district’s students, the concerns of residents and the taxpayers should be uppermost in the minds of all nine SB directors. Once on the school board, partisan affiliations are put aside. I also have heard from sitting supervisors that this is largely true as well. Not negating the fact that many local elected officials have deeply held political beliefs, they have the well-being of the community uppermost in their minds when making decisions and voting.

    As far as the Primary results, more than 600 more Democrats turned out to vote. And Tredyffrin Republicans cast over 1300 votes for cross-filed Democrats. By comparison, Democrats cast only 133 votes for cross-filed Republicans.

    An encouraging day for Democrats, but we know the general election will be a whole new ballgame.

    1. I don’t know if Scott and Kyle’s religious training impede’s their ability to make good judgements or not and that is not the point. Because someone is “religious” does not mean they have good moral character and are therefore capable of making good decisions as school board directors, but you’re right, that is the implied unstated connection that they and you want voters to make and that is exactly why Jefferson, Madison etc. want to keep religion out of politics. Sounds like you know better than them.

      Because running opposed happens at the state level or any level, for whatever reason does not make it OK. It is disgraceful, especially in this district with so many smart qualified people who offer their expertise.

      I agree that it was an encouraging day for D’s.

      1. It is my understanding that separation of state and religion, in its original intent was to prevent the state from establishing a religion “of state”.. perhaps just another of the misunderstood and contorted dictates of the founding fathers and the constitution. If a religious “test” is required for public duty, then the founders would have been disqualified for duty.

        It is interesting that there are an abundance of “attorneys” who run and win election to the board.. Is this good, or bad, or neutral?

        If I am wrong about the religion issue, please clarify for me. thanks

    2. Ms.Keohane,
      Thank-you for the following:

      As far as the Primary results, more than 600 more Democrats turned out to vote. And Tredyffrin Republicans cast over 1300 votes for cross-filed Democrats. By comparison, Democrats cast only 133 votes for cross-filed Republicans.

      Backlash from Trump scandals together with Democrat outrage could turn the election upside down in November. Alot could happen by then, but this early indicator does not look good for R’s.

  5. Religious leaders and their followers should relish in the wall of separation, rather than trying to knock it down. Why? Because it is there not only to keep religion out of government, but to keep government out of religion. Clearly Jefferson’s objective was to create an environment in which people were free to believe what they want without government interference and the best way to do that is to keep church and state apart.

    It is offensive as an American for Scott Dorsey to be referred to as “Reverend” when serving as a public official. It does not show respect for Dorsey, it shows disrespect for every voting American living in this District. Referring to him as “Reverend Dorsey” when executing his position as School Board Director is a dishonorable, deceptive, and unprincipled way to use his position as “Reverend” to influence his job as School Board Director.

  6. Patty, do you know if Boyer is still a teacher in T/E or did he resign. I recall there was discussion on here a few months ago but don’t know what happened.

    1. Kyle Boyer is a teacher at Valley Forge Middle School. At one point, I was told that he would be resigning at the end of the school year. However, I noticed that his name did not appear on the published list of those leaving at the end of the 2016/17 school year, but don’t know if that means anything. Maybe he is staying in the District or maybe he hasn’t found another job yet, sorry I just don’t have any further information.


    Let’s talk about your tax dollars and public education. Fund Reserves

    It’s typical Pennsylvania,” says Democratic State Auditor Gene DePasquale, who audits school districts. “It’s a mindset that says they have to hoard money.”

    He’s now beginning to audit reserve funds when he audits school district budgets.

    I’d note messages seeking comment from House and Senate Education Committee chairmen – Rep. David Hickernell (R., Lancaster) and Sen. John Eichelberger (R., Blair) – brought no responses.

    Lower Merion was sued last year for seeking a tax increase while holding large reserves; it’s seeking a tax increase again this year.

    And ask yourself who, at the state or local level, is diligently managing your tax dollars.

  8. Doug Anestad is the right choice for School Board Director in Region 2. Doug’s past experience as a teacher together with his current experience in the work force as a technology consultant makes him the best candidate for the job.

    As a current teacher, how can Kyle Boyer possibly represent the citizens of Region 2? He’ll have to excuse himself during contract talks, he should excuse himself during disciplinary procedures involving fellow teachers (friends) and he’ll be Rich Gusick’s boss! Or will Rich Gusick still be his boss……….only during school hours? See what I mean? Very cloudy area and way too much drama. Don’t we have enough of that already?

    Vote for Doug.

  9. It’s great that young/educated citizens look to give back through community service. I read Heather’s profile in the Inquirer. I did notice the local budget blames she laid on the State Pensions and unfunded Special Ed costs and her thought that “we need more help from Harrisburg”. This is the Kool Aid the Board drinks now. The truth is that PSERS increases are subsiding (per plan) and Special Ed costs in the District are forecast as flat next year….YET; the tax increase about to be adopted is the maximum allowed AGAIN. And, of course, like the last six years…the District has a projected budget Surplus adding more tax dollars to their fund balance. Dollars we were told were needed for education.

    I wish her luck in the coming election but I encourage her (and all the candidates) to do their own financial analysis of the District’s fiscal history/operations. No one better than Ray Clarke (who posts here often) for an independent point of view. Make your own decisions but gather as much information as you can before taking the job. This is not an R or D thing but a Governance issue.

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