Ron Graham is no stranger to local politics and now he’s ready for a shot at making the leap to serving at the state level.
Graham has served on the East Pikeland Board of Supervisors since 2008 and he’s been the chairman of the board since 2009. He is now running on the Democratic ballot to represent the 155th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Graham’s family has lived in the East Pikeland area for generations. He said his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all farmers here but he took a somewhat different path pursuing college education and serving in the military.
Graham has a B.S. in aviation science from Edison State University, J.D. from Widener University Law School, and masters in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a retired colonel and master Army aviator.
Environmental issues are a big priority for Graham. Twenty years ago, he served as president of the Green Valleys Watershed Association, and he is still active with that organization. He said they have protected Valley Creek from development and stopped Perrier from taking water from wells in Chester County, which would have depleted the watershed.
“In East Pikeland, we’ve protected 200 acres of open space,” Graham said. “I have a pretty good record on environmental issues.”
“I don’t’ drive an electric car though,” he joked.
He said natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania should be taxed and the money from the tax could be used to supplement school funding as well as ensure pipelines are properly regulated and inspected.
Another important issue for Graham is making sure schools are safe, especially in light of recent school shootings, such as the one in Parkland, Florida in which a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Graham said police in the area of the Phoenixville School District are well-trained on how to handle an active shooter incident, and are ready to respond to such an incident within three minutes of being alerted. He said as a state representative, he would introduce legislation to increase funding for school safety and training and equipment to make sure police are prepared to protect students and staff at schools.
On the issue of redistricting, Graham said the state Supreme Court had a head start with its decision to draw a new congressional map after ruling the old one violated the state Constitution due to partisan gerrymandering. However, he said the Legislature will still have to deal with the issue and come up with a plan to make sure redistricting is done in a fair, non-partisan way so that everyone’s vote counts. The districts should not look like “squiggly amoebas,” he said.
Graham said campaigning for public office is like going through a job interview, and he has a proven record of experience with his service in the military and on the East Pikeland Board of Supervisors.
“I’m proud of my credentials, and they stack up great against anyone else on ticket,” he said.
He said one of his proudest accomplishments as a supervisor was voting to reduce the real estate tax in the township by 25 percent while still maintaining the same quality and quantity of government services. He said he also oversaw the reorganization of the East Pikeland Police Department and voted to appoint the first woman police chief in the township’s history.
He said as a supervisor, he’s been on top of maintaining roads in East Pikeland, and as a state representative he would introduce legislation to ensure Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is better maintained.
Graham is the president and co-founder of the law firm Graham & Mauer. He also founded a real estate investment company in 1979, which he sold in 2008, he said.
Graham and his wife, Lyn, have raised three daughters, all of whom are college graduates; one is now a practicing mother, one is a practicing physician and one is a practicing attorney, he said.
Danielle Friel Otten is also running on the Democratic ballot in the 155th House District. Republican state Rep. Becky Corbin currently represents the 155th District. She is seeking re-election and running unopposed in the Republican primary. The district includes the townships of East Brandywine, West Brandywine, East Pikeland, Uwchlan, Upper Uwchlan, West Vincent, and the borough of Spring City and part of Phoenixville.
Pennsylvania’s primary elections will be held Tuesday, May 15. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.