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MEET THE NOVEMBER 2, 2021 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES

Here’s an overview of the offices and Democratic candidates running for township, county and state offices in the November 2nd General Election. The individuals elected to every single one of these offices in 2021 will have an impact on your family’s well-being and the policies that govern the township, county, and state so please click on the links to learn more about the candidates. Sample ballots with our recommended candidates highlighted will be available here in mid-to-late September.

EASTTOWN TOWNSHIP CANDIDATES

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS (Elect 2) – Easttown Township is governed by a 5 member Board of Supervisors who serve staggered terms of 6 years with elections occurring in odd years (2021, 2023, etc.) Detailed information about how townships operate in Pennsylvania and the role of the Supervisors is available in the March 2018 Pennnsylvania Township Supervisors Handbook. You can also learn more about the Board of Supervisors on the Easttown Township website.

Currently, three of the five supervisors are Republican. Electing a Democrat this year, will give Democrats the majority for the Board for the first time since the Civil War!  

    • Elect Alex Bosco, Democrat for Easttown Board of Supervisors Resume
      • Promote common sense changes to planning and zoning consistent with the intent of the Easttown Comprehensive
        Plan
      • Listen actively to the public’s concern about new projects.
      • Commit to fair, open and honest communication. 
    • Elect Erik Unger, Democrat for Easttown Board of SupervisorsWebsite, Resume, Bio
      • Preserve the uniqueness and character of the community
      • Ensure community planning and development is consistent with our community’s values
      • Ensure transparent communication between the Board of Supervisors and the community during development proposals.

BOARD OF AUDITORS (Elect 1) – The Board is responsible for reviewing the annual audit of township finances which is done by an outside auditing firm and then sending necessary recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The 3 member Board of Auditors serve staggered 6-year terms.

    • Elect Eric Borjeson, Democrat for Board of Auditors 
      • A longtime Easttown resident and a graduate of Conestoga, Gettysburg College, and the Villanova University School of Law
      • Licensed Attorney with over 25 years experience
      • Certified as a specialist in the practice of Workers Compensation Law by the PA Bar Association’s Section on Workers Compensation.

TAX COLLECTOR (Elect 1)Easttown has one elected tax collector who serves a four year term. While the Chester County Treasurer collects real estate taxes, the tax collector also collects certain special township assessments. In addition, they can be appointed to collect certain taxes levied under the Local Tax Enabling Act, such as the per capita and local services taxes. Learn more about Easttown Taxes. 

    • Elect Valinda Garcia, Democrat for Tax Collector Resume
      • Long time resident
      • Valinda’s professional experience as a tax attorney will provide a fresh perspective for oversight of the Easttown Township tax process.

CONSTABLE (Elect 1) – Easttown has one constable who serves a six year term. The constable is an officer of the court with the primary responsibility of keeping the peace at polling sites, delivering subpoenas, summons, divorce papers, etc. on behalf of the court, and transporting prisoners. Learn more here and from the Chester County Constable Handbook.

    • Elect Harrison Chaess (Incumbent), Democrat for Constable – Resume 
      • Incumbent for the past 5 years
      • Fully credentialed and licensed
      • Committed to serving Easttown through providing constable services to the Chester County courts which includes transporting troubled youth to various facilities for Chester County Children & Youth.

THE JUDGE OF ELECTIONS has the ultimate responsibility for the conduct of a polling place and the personnel working there. He or she must take an oath to admit only those voters who are properly registered and entitled to vote, to prevent fraud, deceit or abuse, and to make 3 sure that all votes at the end of the day are accurately tabulated. The Judge is also responsible for opening and closing the polls, and for all the paperwork required on Election Day. These elected positions carry a four-year commitment to running two elections per year from 2022 to 2026. Those elected will receive training by the Chester County Elections Bureau.  Detailed Job Description

    • Judge of Elections Democratic Candidates (One per precinct)
      • Precinct 1 – Cheska Levy
      • Precinct 2 – Don RaibleBio
      • Precinct 3 –  Marilyn Furfari
      • Precinct 4 – None announced yet. Please consider running as a write-in candidate! Contact us
      • Precinct 5 – Scott CarpenterResume
      • Precinct 6 – None announced yet. Please consider running as a write-in candidate! Contact us
      • Precinct 7 – Stacey Rohrbeck (member of the Easttown Township Democratic Committee)Resume

ELECTION INSPECTORS are responsible for checking voters’ registration documents and preparing certificates to authorize voters to cast their ballots. They ensure that the voting process is legal and administered fairly by verifying the signatures of voters as they sign the poll book (the big book on the table with the names of voters). The Inspectors are also responsible for checking to be sure the voting machine numbers are accurate at the end of the day. These elected positions carry a four-year commitment to running two elections per year from 2022 to 2026. Each precinct should have two inspectors with one being designated as the Majority Inspector and the other as the Minority Inspector. Those elected will receive training by the Chester County Elections Bureau. Detailed Job Description

    • Election Inspector Democratic Candidates (One per precinct)
      • Precinct 1 – Farha Vasanwala
      • Precinct 2 – Kristine Adams (member of the Easttown Township Democratic Committee)Resume
      • Precinct 3 – Deborah Dooling
      • Precinct 4 – Margaret Dalesandro (incumbent and member of the Easttown Township Democratic Committee) 
      • Precinct 5 – Virginia Simon (member of the Easttown Township Democratic Committee)
      • Precinct 6 – Maria Jo Fitzgerald
      • Precinct 7 – John Juzbasich – Resume

TE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES

TE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS (Elect 2 for Region  3) The Tredyffrin/Easttown(TE) School District serves the townships of Tredyffrin and Easttown, encompassing 38 square miles in eastern Chester County. The TE School District is divided into three regions of nearly equal population with all of Easttown Township in Region 3.

There are nine members on the TE School Board serving 4 year staggered terms with elections occurring in the odd years (2021, 2023, etc.) Here is an excellent Guide to School Boards in Pennsylvania with information about the role of school boards and their elected officials.  You may also learn more about the School Board on the TE School Board website.

    • Elect Susan Audrain, Democrat for TE School BoardBio, Resume, Statement Supporting TE Covid Mitigation Protocol
      • Support comprehensive multifaceted evaluation of students for academic, social and emotional support
      • Listen respectfully to all students, teachers, parents and administrators to address concerns
      • Maximize taxpayer dollars through critical analysis of data to evaluate cost-effective alternatives.
    • Elect Maryann Piccioni, Democrat for TE School Board Bio
      • Provide the most conducive environment for student achievement
      • Build resources to ensure that curriculum standards are maximized
      • Protect our taxpayer dollars by ensuring program strength
      • Commit to financial accountability that provides students with the top-notch education they deserve

CHESTER COUNTY CANDIDATES

COUNTY CLERK OF COURTS (Elect 1) – is the chief clerk and record keeper for the criminal division of the Court of Common Pleas. The office, with about 25 people, is responsible for maintaining records of all criminal cases, posting bail docketing all criminal records, assessing costs and fines for criminal cases, collecting monies on summary appeal cases, preparing forms for PennDot relating to motor vehicle offenses and filing forms related to the transfer of roads to a municipality. ($74,380 annual salary) 

    • Elect Yolanda Van de Krol (Incumbent), Democrat for County Clerk of Courts  – WebsiteFacebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Video
      • A native of Massachusetts, with degrees from Hamilton College and the University of Delaware, Yolanda spent 22 years as a bank executive in the Philadelphia region. Her long list of volunteer work includes Board President of Tredyffrin Township Libraries and Assistant Treasurer of West Chester Rotary. She ran successfully for Clerk of Courts in 2017 to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and to streamline services to ensure that the administration of justice is efficient and accurate. As Clerk of Courts, she has implemented e-filing and other technological improvements. Her overall philosophy is that accurate records provide the basis for fair trials for victims and defendants alike.Working with the DA, the President Judge and Juvenile Probation, she is expunging records for non-violent, low-level juvenile offenders who qualify but have neglected to expunge their records before they turned 18; thus “because of our collaboration on juvenile expungements, a mistake will no longer define a person’s life and limit their opportunities.” As a Board member of the Friends Association, Yolanda has been instrumental in setting up Chester County’s Eviction Prevention Court program.

COUNTY CONTROLLER (Elect 1)is the chief financial officer of the county and is responsible for overseeing the county’s fiscal affairs. The Controller’s office of some 34 employees maintains accounting records and is responsible for the internal audit function which assesses the adequacy of controls and good business practices. The Controller also prepares the county’s annual financial report and all related public documents. ($74,380 annual salary) 

    • Elect Margaret Reif (Incumbent), Democrat for County Controller – Website,ResumeFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Video
      • Margaret holds a degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Scranton. She was controller for a Malvern-based non-profit, managed a family-owned small business for over 25 years, and worked as investment liaison at Vanguard. She has been a community activist for issues such as maintaining open space and child advocacy. She has provided transparency, accountability and efficiency to the residents of Chester County by bringing a fresh eye to precious taxpayer resource allocation. As Controller, she has found ways to improve and streamline processes within the County leading to significant cost savings for the taxpayers.

COUNTY CORONER (Elect 1)investigates the cause and manner of death of anyone whose death is sudden, accidental, violent or of a suspicious nature. The coroner performs autopsies, conducts inquiries, and determines the cause of death. This office also maintains related records and handles the personal effects of the deceased. ($74,380 annual salary) 

    • Elect Sophia Garcia-Jackson (current Deputy Coroner), Democrat for County Coroner – WebsiteBio, Resume, Facebook, LinkedIn
      • Sophia Garcia-Jackson, the County’s Chief Deputy Coroner, works closely with incumbent Christina VandePol, who has decided not to seek reelection. Sophia manages and oversees all functions of the office: administration, investigations, transportation and morgue-related duties. She has supervisor-on-duty responsibilities and is the direct supervisor for the investigators. Her achievements include streamlining the budget process and changing how payments are made in order to enhance transparency. She sits on multiple task forces throughout the County, coordinating with local law enforcement and other agencies. With the Coroner she shares duties including signing death certificates by providing cause and manner of death. Previously, she worked for the State of New Jersey as a Death Investigator for 6 years. She holds a master’s degree in Forensic Medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from California State with a certification in Forensic Identification, and has completed several internships and training programs. Sophia is certified with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators and is working on the next level of fellowship and certified with the Pennsylvania Coroner’s Education Board. She will be prepared to lead the office on day one and will keep pushing for a modern forensic facility that provides the proper safety mechanisms for the office to work in the most important of circumstances, like a pandemic.

COUNTY TREASURER (Elect 1) –  collects and deposits all monies that come into the county, including real estate taxes, as well as managing investments and debt. The office employs about 20 people and also issues dog, hunting, fishing boat and pistol licenses as well as permits for bingo and small games of chance. ($74,380 annual salary) 

    • Elect Patricia Maisano (Incumbent), Democrat for County Treasurer  – Facebook, LinkedIn 
      • Patricia holds a RN degree from St. Francis School of Nursing and a Doctorate in Health Sciences from Sheffield University. She was sole founder and CIO of IKOR International Inc., providing patient advocacy and professional guardianship services to the profoundly disabled and seniors, a company that from Chester County has grown to more than 70 offices in 20 states. She has served as board member for the YMCA of Brandywine Valley and the Kennett Senior Center. She has the financial experience of successfully running a company and the assets of other individuals for many years. She has conducted her entire business career guided by the core values of integrity, transparency and trust, which she brings to County government. Patricia uses her corporate experience to ensure the Office of the Treasurer maintains tight accounting controls and the ability to innovate to improve services.

PENNSYLVANIA JUDICIARY CANDIDATES

The Pennsylvania Judiciary is made up of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Commonwealth Court, the Superior Court, and trial courts known as the Court of Common Pleas and Minor Courts. Cases typically originate in the Court of Common Pleas and Minor Courts and can be appealed to courts higher up in the system. 

The image below depicts the flow of cases through Pennsylvania’s state  court system. All of the courts have elected judges for 10-year terms except for the Magisterial District Court, Philadelphia Municipal, and Pittsburgh Municipal Judges who serve six-year terms. Judges first elected to 10-year terms are required to run in a non-partisan retention election if they wish to continue to serve.  Learn about how judges are elected in Pennsylvania.  

SUPREME COURT (Elect 1) – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. Seven justices serve on the Court and their job is to make the final judgment in interpreting Pennsylvania’s laws and Constitution. The Court has administrative authority over all aspects of Pennsylvania’s judicial system. As of September 2019, five judges on the court were elected in partisan elections as Democrats, one judge was elected as a Republican, and one judge was appointed by a Democratic governor. Supreme court judges are paid $215,037 annually as of January 2021.

    • Elect Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin, Democrat for Supreme CourtWebsite, Facebook Page, Instagram PageTwitter Page, Resume
      • In 2017, Judge McLaughlin was elected to a seat on the PA Superior Court by defeating a slate of nine candidates for the statewide position. Prior to her election to PA Superior Court, McLaughlin served as a judge on Philadelphia County’s Court of Common Pleas from 2011 to 2017. For nearly two decades before becoming a judge, McLaughlin served in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. Within the D.A.’s office she rose to the position of Chief District Attorney in 2002, making her the youngest female Chief in the city’s history. Judge McLaughlin grew up in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia.  She received her undergraduate degree from Penn State University and her law degree from Widener University School of Law. She then clerked for the President Judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, where she now sits on the bench. In her role as a Superior Court judge, McLaughlin currently serves as liaison between the court and the Pennsylvania Bar Association, a role that has proved critical throughout the COVID pandemic.

COURTS OF APPEAL– Pennsylvania has two statewide intermediate appellate courts systems: the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

COMMONWEALTH COURT (Elect 2) – The Commonwealth Court hears civil cases involving state or local government. It is the only court like it in the country. It not only hears appeals, but sometimes sits as a trial court in certain cases brought by or against the Commonwealth, such as a constitutional challenge to a state law or a tax dispute. The court is made up of nine judges who serve 10-year terms (beginning the January after their election and ending on the first Monday of the January 10 years later – only on even-numbered years). The court generally decides cases in three-judge panels and sits in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. The Commonwealth Court also functions as a trial court in some civil actions by or against the Commonwealth government and cases regarding statewide elections. Commonwealth Court judges are paid $202,898 annually as of January 2021. 

There will be two vacancies and two terms up for retention in 2021. Commonwealth Court judges Anne Covey and Renee Cohn Jubelirer must stand for retention election in November in order to remain on the bench. Nearly every statewide justice or judge who has ever run for retention has won. 

    • Elect Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court Judge Lori Dumas, Democrat for Commonwealth Court – Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
      • Judge Lori Dumas has served on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for over 18 years. Currently assigned to the Civil Division, she has also presided in the Criminal Division.  But Judge Dumas spent most of her years on the bench in the Philadelphia Family Court – Juvenile Division. Growing out of her service in Family Court, Dumas was a leader in creating the First Judicial District’s Juvenile Human Trafficking Court.

        Both in her courtroom and in the community, Dumas has been an educator and advocate on juvenile human trafficking and the trauma it creates for children. She is the local chair of a national non-violence program focused on helping exploited, traumatized youth, has been active with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and is a member of the National Campaign to Stop Violence.

        After growing up in Philadelphia, Judge Dumas earned a BA degree in Sociology at Duke University and her J.D. degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is also a graduate of the Fels Institute of Government at PENN. She has taught law courses at several local institutions.

    • Elect Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge David Spurgeon, Democrat for Commonwealth Court – Facebook, Twitter, Resume
      • A member of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas since 2016, Judge Spurgeon is assigned to the Family Division. He was named a Judicial Fellow by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and is regarded as a national expert on domestic violence. He currently serves as the Chair of the Family Violence Work Group for the 5th Judicial District, regularly serves as a panelist on forums addressing intimate partner violence, and recently appeared as an expert guest on Court TV discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family violence. In 1998, after two years in private practice, Spurgeon joined the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney and remained until 2016. Through his work in the D.A.’s Domestic Violence Trial Unit, he implemented the first Intimate Partner Violence Homicide Review Team, was the Allegheny County Coordinator for the STOP grant under the Violence Against Women Act and co-chair of the DV Task Force. He became a certified police instructor at the Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh Police Academies, assisted in the creation of Veterans’ Court and supervised the attorneys assigned to Mental Health Court.  A graduate of McKeesport Area Senior High School, Judge Spurgeon graduated cum laude from Duquesne University in 1993 with a BA degree in Political Science and German. He received his law degree in 1996 from the Duquesne University School of Law and is currently an adjunct professor at Duquesne University School of Law.

SUPERIOR COURT (Elect 1) – The Superior Court is the appeals court for most citizens and businesses. This Court’s decisions have a significant impact on Pennsylvania’s economy and the quality of life of our citizens. It reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the courts of common pleas in the state’s 67 counties. The court’s judges also review and decide on wiretapping applications presented by the state’s attorney general and district attorneys under Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act. It is one of the busiest intermediate appellate courts in the country. Superior Court judges are paid $202,898 annually as of January 2021. 

Superior Court judges John Bender and Mary Jane Bowes must stand for retention election in November in order to remain on the bench. Nearly every statewide justice or judge who has ever run for retention has won. 

    • Elect Philadelphia Common Pleas Court  Judge Timika Lane, Democrat for Superior Court – Website,  Facebook, Twitter, Resume
      • In her current position on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, where she has served since 2013, Judge Lane is assigned to the Major Trials program in the Criminal Division. She also handles Investigative Grand Jury matters and oversees the Uplift, Fast Track and Branching Up (formerly Roots to Re-entry) programs. Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed her to the County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee (CAPPAC) where she serves as Co-Chair. Prior to joining the Court of Common Pleas bench, Lane served private clients in family law cases, was a trial attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Chief Legal Counsel for State Senator Anthony H. Williams, and the Democratic Executive Director for the Pennsylvania State Senate State Government Committee.

        Judge Lane was born and raised in West Philadelphia. She pursued a teaching career upon graduation from Howard University. In 2002, she earned her law degree from Rutgers-Camden School of Law in New Jersey. As a law student, she worked for the Pro Bono Domestic Violence Project and the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project. She also co-chaired the Black Law Students Community Outreach program.


COURT OF COMMON PLEAS (Elect 2) – With over 400 judges across the state, the Court of Common Pleas is where most misdemeanor and all felony criminal cases are disposed of, where Orphan’s Court matters are addressed, and where larger civil cases are originated. Family law matters, such as custody, divorce, and support are also addressed at the primary level under the supervision of the Court of Common Pleas for a county. These courts hear criminal and civil cases, including those involving families and children, such as divorce, property division, alimony, child custody and support, paternity and protection orders. They also hear appeals from the lower-level Minor Courts. There are 13 Common Pleas Judges in Chester County. Common Plea judges are paid $186,665 annually as of January 2021. 

    • Elect Alita Rovito, Democrat for Common Pleas Court – WebsiteFacebook, InstagramResume, Video
      • Alita Rovito believes that a good judge must possess impeccable personal integrity, a love of service, and the experience and compassion to apply the law with fairness and respect. Alita has 33 years legal expertise serving the citizens of Chester County.

        She is the only candidate for Judge on the Court of Common Pleas with 15 years of judicial experience as a hearing officer in the Family Court Masters Unit.

        She has served as an educator for other attorneys through continuing legal education, as a Mock Trial coach for high school and college students, as a Moot Court judge for college students, as a leader for the Girl Scouts, as a board member for the Crime Victims Center, and as a volunteer for the Access to Justice Program.

        Alita is a graduate of Penn State University and Dickinson School of Law. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in Chester County and was the first managing attorney of the Chester County’s Child Abuse Unit. She is the founding member of Rovito Law LLC, where she represents men and women in all aspects of family law.

        She has served as an advocate, mediator, and private arbitrator. Alita’s experience, both personal and professional, makes her uniquely qualified to be a compassionate and fair Judge on the Court of Common Pleas.

    • Elect Tony Verwey, Democrat for Common Please Court – Facebook, TwitterResume, Video 
      • Tony has over 30 years of diverse legal experience and a proven track record of public service. Since 2017 at Gawthrop Greenwood in West Chester, he has worked with elected officials at the county and municipal level, appointed boards and commissions, and private clients on a wide range of legal matters including government, ethics, taxation, prevailing wage, education law, real estate development, zoning and land use. In 2006-2017 he was at Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees, and in 2004-2006 was sole proprietor of a law practice representing clients in a variety of matters including legal ethics, professional discipline defense, litigation and wills and estates. In 1993-2004, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, District II, he directed investigations of alleged attorney misconduct. He received his J.D., 1989, from Widener University School of Law after graduating in 1986 from Penn State University. He has made many professional presentations and most recently earned recognition as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer – 2020 (Land Use/Zoning) and as a Main Line Today – 2020 Top Lawyer (Municipal Law).

MINOR COURTS (Elect 1)– These courts are the first level of Pennsylvania’s judiciary and are where most people have experience with the judicial system. Examples of cases include: traffic tickets, landlord-tenant disputes and underage drinking. These courts are also responsible for whether serious criminal cases go to the Court of Common Pleas, preliminary arraignments and preliminary hearings, setting and accepting bail except in murder or voluntary manslaughter cases. These courts are presided over by Magisterial District Judges (MDJs) in Pennsylvania counties and Municipal Court Judges in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. MDJs do not have to be lawyers, but they are required to pass a qualifying exam. Learn more about Magisterial Judges in Chester County.  Also be sure to read this important investigative article about problems with the Magisterial Court system in Pennsylvania. Magisterial judges in Chester County are paid $93,338 annually as of January 2021. Easttown Township is in District Court 15-1-02.

    • Elect Mackenzie Smith, Democrat for Magisterial Judge – Website, FacebookResume
        • “Now more than ever, it is critical that judges at all levels of the judicial system have the qualifications, training and experience to properly evaluate the merits of cases and impartially apply the law.  No one should leave a courtroom feeling like they didn’t get a fair shake because the judge was partial to one side or lacked the experience necessary to fully appreciate the legal or practical implications of his or her decision.  As an attorney with broad experience in criminal law (as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney) and civil law (representing clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to an infant born into the foster system), I will be able to accurately evaluate all legal issues that will come before me as District Judge.  Electing the most qualified judges is good public policy and best serves the community, the taxpayers, and the judicial system.”
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