The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Area candidates offer their responses to pre-election questionnaire


By editor@phoenixvillenews.com">Justin Finneran, Editor@PhoneixvilleNews.com

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Phoenix Reporter & Item fielded a short questionnaire to multiple candidites competeing in different election races in our coverage area. Here are the responses we received:
ROYERSFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL
Vote for four
Who’s running:
Bruce D. Buckwalter, Sr. Republican (incumbent)
Paul Chrisman Republican (incumbent)
Charles J. Bowers Republican (incumbent)
John S. Grispon Republican (incumbent)
Anil Dham Democrat
Matt Stehman Democrat
Shawnette Jones Democrat
David Stehman Democrat
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Paul Chrisman
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Owner of New Street Auto Service in Spring City
Political Experience: Served as a member of the Royersford Planning Commission and as Chair of the Planning Commission. Filled a vacancy in Borough Council two years ago.
Reason for running : I enjoy interacting with the other members of council and the residents of Royersford.
What will you do if elected: I would like to keep the borough moving forward with things like finding our new chief of police and the streetscape projects – we are revitalizing 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue, and the intersection of First Ave. and Main Street – which will be getting a new traffic light. I would like to finish all of these projects, which take time, and continue moving forward.
Anil Dham
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Physical Therapist with HealthSouth Rehabilitations
Political Experience: First time a as a candidate, past experience campaigning for Democrats and Republicans
Reason for running: While Royersford is a great town, I see the areas around it thriving – our downtown has 10-12 empty store fronts, and I am not seeing the current council doing anything to improve on this – I feel we need to change the status quo because I want to see Royersford thrive.
What will you do if elected: I will work with the local chamber of commerce the help bring businesses into Royersford to fill the empty storefronts. I will Work with the school district to on tax abatement to help bring new businesses to town. I also want to reduce the vehicle speeding in Royersford – starting with better enforcement – and I feel that the taxes are too high for the services that we receive, that is a balance that needs to be corrected.
John S. Grispon
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Retired insurance broker
Political Experience: 16 years as a member of the Spring–Ford School Board, 14 years as a Republican Committeeman
Reason for running: I enjoy serving my community, as I did with the school board, and I would like to continue doing so.
What will you do if elected: I believe the current council is doing well. Royersford has seen a lot of improvements and I would like to continue on in that direction by seeing through the revitalization projects that we started.
PERKIOMEN VALLEY SCHOOL DIRECTOR
Vote for six
Who’s Running:
Richard Bouher Republican
Rachael Charyna - Cross-filed
Alex Rodriguez - Cross-filed
Lori Snyder - Cross-filed (incumbent)
Lynn K. Bigelow - Cross-filed (incumbent)
John King Republican (incumbent)
Paul Smith - 2 year term – Cross-filed (incumbent)
Andrea Galambos - 2 year term – Cross-filed (incumbent)
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Richard Bouher
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Construction Project Manager
Political Experience: Republican Committee Person for Perkiomen Township
Reason for running: The current School Board has little, or no experience in construction, and has made poor decisions in the past. Currently there is a GESA contract that doesn’t meet the “letter of the law”, is behind schedule, has little or no over site (an electrician was electrocuted as South Elementary), one of the primary reasons for doing the project was to save money by converting to natural gas for the boilers, but the 7M design/build contract was issued without checking to see if PECO will provide gas, and they will not.
What will you do if elected: My primary goal is to provide over site for the facilities/construction, as well as attempt to provide more transparency about how the Board operates.
Lynn K. Bigelow
Party Affiliation: Cross-filed, both Republican and Democrat
Occupation: Director of Finance, SEDONA Corporation, King of Prussia, PA
Political Experience: I have served in the position of School Director for two four-year terms (2005 to 2013) in the Perkiomen Valley School District. I served for three years as Board President, and I am currently serving as Board Vice President. Perkiomen Valley has risen to 17th of 533 PA districts in most recent SchoolDigger.com rankings.
Reason for running: I am committed to serve the Perkiomen Valley community by working to raise the standards in our schools and provide an educational environment in which each student can reach their maximum potential. I am also committed to demanding efficient use of resources in our schools.
What will you do if elected: My top priorities for this position are:
- Provide a safe and healthy learning environment.
- Improve educational environment to achieve each student’s maximum potential, emphasizing personalized learning techniques and alignment of curriculum to state standards and testing.
- Work with state legislature to provide for a fair local taxing system, more cost-saving measures, and increased state funding for our schools.
- Advance the quality of staff, implementing best practices in hiring and staff development including accountability for student achievement to improve instruction.
- Promote parent, community and business involvement.
- Provide the best possible education at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers.
John King
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Retired Dairy Manager
Political Experience: School Board Member for over 25 years
Reason for running: I am running because I want to help children in the district to continue to grow to be productive members of society. I feel that the district has done a great job with this and needs to continue to find ways for families to be successful. Education is a huge part of our community and I want to support that in any way possible. I feel that I have done a good job over the years by helping provide a wide array of learning experiences for children in the Perkiomen Valley School District.
What will you do if elected: If elected I will continue to strive to keep class sizes small as well as keeping taxes as low as possible. I will try to have a wide variety of opportunities for children to experience while in school. I will work with the administration to ensure all children are being educated and all parents are being supported.
TRAPPE BOROUGH COUNCIL
Vote for four
Who’s running:
Tammy Liberi - Republican, Democratic (incumbent)
Nevin H. Scholl - Republican, Democratic (incumbent)
Pat Webster - Republican, Democratic
Cathy Johnson – Republican (incumbent)
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Pat Webster
Party Affiliation: Republican (will also appear on Democratic Ticket)
Occupation: Real Estate Agent with CENTURY 21 Alliance (2002 – present)
Political Experience: A 20+ year career in community and government affairs with PECO Energy. As Government Affairs Manager, established positive working relationships with elected and appointed municipal officials, and regularly appeared at borough, township, planning commission and sewer authority meetings. Resolved conflict and addressed issues with elected and appointed officials, residents and as spokesperson to the news media. Worked closely with PEMA, FEMA, Montco and local law enforcement officials during emergency situations including tornados, gas explosions, floods and other situations requiring a unified command.
Reason for running: I believe I can make a difference as the newest member of Trappe Borough Council. With a commitment to open and direct communication, all residents can be confident that their interests will be protected – not special interests. On Election Day, the ‘politics’ of the election cycle end, and good government through teamwork is the ultimate Goal.
What will you do if elected: If elected, I will continue to seek opportunities to meet residents and business owners in an effort to understand their needs and point-of-view. I will take advantage of educational opportunities offered through the PA State Association of Boroughs to help me make more informed decisions as a borough official. I will also work to achieve better communication and a spirit of cooperation between council members, staff, residents and the business community.
Nevin H. Scholl
Party Affiliation: Republican (also won Democrat primary election)
Occupation: Private Investor
Political Experience: Ten years on both Trappe Borough Council and Finance Committee Chairman, 4 years Collegeville-Trappe Municipal Authority, 2 years Collegeville-Trappe Joint Public Works Committee, 2 years Vice President of Trappe Borough Council
Reason for running: Would like to assist Trappe in being the best it can be. CPA registration and 22 years’ experience as president of two manufacturing companies provides the background needed to consistently keep Trappe municipal tax rates among the lowest in Montgomery County and for seven years the lowest in Montgomery County.
Enthusiastically support local control of water and sewer services through the existing joint committee with Collegeville. Willing to fight for continued annual receipt of Pennsylvania funded pension credits, which along with other cost saving measures, will help preserve our comparatively low water and sewer rates.
What will you do if elected: Along with my Republican running mates, Pat Webster, Cathy Johnson and Tammy Liberi, I will continue to seek cost savings in Borough expenses so we can keep taxes to a minimum while maintaining essential services for residents.
By way of example this past year we were able to competitively bid and accept a superior trash contract, which over the next four years locks in savings of $111,000 annually. In addition this year we locked in casualty insurance savings, which will reward the Borough for exercising good risk management policies in this and future years.
This past year we also investigated possible savings from the installation of LED street lighting. The cost of this technology unfortunately does not currently justify the investment, but this is another example of how we try to be at the cutting edge of municipal cost savings so our taxpayers get the maximum bang for their buck.
Cathy Johnson
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Currently employed as a Registered Nurse, previous employment includes information technology account and project manager for multi-national companies.
Political Experience: Trappe Borough auditor (1 year), planning commission member (1 year) and borough council member (7 years)
Reason for running: I would like to be re-elected to continue serving my neighbors with the best government we can provide. I will continue to be accountable to my neighbors for the decisions I make.
What will you do if elected: Listen to my neighbors. Seek out their thoughts and desires for the shaping of our borough. Reduce or remove taxes though cost containment and good financial planning.
Tammy Liberi
Party Affiliation: Republican
Occupation: Unblinded Drug Manager
Political Experience: Trappe Borough Council Member over 1 year, Trappe Borough Auditor 2 years
Reason for running: Working to improve Council culture to help make Trappe residents and business owners feel encouraged to express concerns during Council meetings.
What will you do if elected: Continue to serve Trappe residents and seek out their thoughts and opinions on matters that concern Trappe.
COLLEGEVILLE BOROUGH COUNCIL
Vote for four
Who’s running:
Rowan Keenan, Republican (incumbent)
Paul MacDonald, Republican (incumbent)
Roderick B. Rees, Republican (incumbent)
Arnold Mann, Republican (incumbent)
Andrea Baptiste, Democrat
Catherine Kernen, Democrat
Mandelyn Kilroy, Democrat
Christopher Nicholas, Democrat
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Andrea Baptiste, Catherine Kernen, Mandelyn Kilroy and Christopher Nicolas:
A joint response from the Democratic Candidates for Collegeville Borough Council
Positions Previously Held: Andrea and Cathy have previously served on Collegeville Council; all four of us are professionals with considerable experience.
Why you are running for office: Especially now that Providence Town Center is becoming the commercial hub for the area with its big box stores, we believe that we need to be proactive in shaping Collegeville’s future, similar to the steps taken to develop Phoenixville’s thriving restaurant, arts and music culture and Skippack’s niche boutiques and restaurants.
Based on the responses of the CEDC’s 2010 residents’ survey, we believe that Collegeville should be repositioned as a destination with excellent restaurants and one-of-a-kind local boutique stores that attract both local and regional shoppers.
We advocate:
• Developing and implementing a strategic vision and plan for Collegeville’s future
• Working to attract new businesses that the residents want and will enjoy patronizing to revitalize our business district
• Using all borough, state and federal resources to the Borough’s fiscal advantage
• Increasing the communication and transparency of the Borough administration and Council with all residents.
What will you do if elected:
Based on the issues we advocate above, we would develop a five-year plan for the Borough with resident and business owners’ input, and then would roll out the plan to attract new businesses to the area and work to make Collegeville an even more vibrant, interesting community.
Paul MacDonald
Party Affiliation: Republican for Collegeville Borough Council (incumbent)
Occupation: Real Estate
Political Experience: I am completing my first term serving on the Collegeville Borough Council. I also serve on the Collegeville Planning Commission and the Public Safety Committee for Fire and Police.
Reason for running: We have a proven record of service to Collegeville Borough. My expectations are that 2014 will be the fourth consecutive year for no tax increase. We are on target for completing all major road resurfacing projects. We have enjoyed economic growth with the addition of 17-18 new businesses in the borough. We completed a $1.4 million Main St. beautification project, negotiated improved and less costly trash and snow removal projects - all without increasing taxes. I want to continue contributing to the momentum we are accomplishing.
What will you do if elected: As already stated above, we have the momentum and plans in place to improve traffic flow such as the upcoming camera-assisted traffic signals at Main St. and Route 29 to handle additional excess traffic due to the Arcola Bridge closure in Lower Providence. We are progressing on storm-drainage issues as well as looking for ways to build on an already positive working relationship with Ursinus College - merging campus life with borough activities and initiatives.
Editor’s note: Equal efforts were made on behalf of 21st Century Media to contact every candidate in each race above. In some instances no reply was given, in others the contact information for a candidate was not available.