Public statements and bios posted by the candidates running for county-wide office.
As many of you know, I am running for one of the three seats on Delaware County Council up for election in 2019. For years, our county has lagged behind in economic growth, workforce development, and open space preservation. I am running to be your councilwoman to move the needle towards progress, and to bring real, meaningful change to Delaware County. As your councilwoman, I will work to, among other goals, improve the conditions and oversight at our county’s prison, implement a county-level healthcare department, and expand job training programs for students.
I have met many of you through my active local political life. I serve on the executive board of the Delco Young Dems and the Women’s Democratic Club of Delaware County. I represent Delaware County on the Democratic State Committee, and serve as a director on the Upper Darby School Board. On the school board, I serve as the Co-Chair for the Finance and Operations Committee, and represent the district on the Delaware County Intermediate Unit Board of Directors.
My professional career is a little more eclectic. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine; and afterwards, was afforded the opportunity to play professional basketball in Ireland. I worked as a graduate assistant and basketball coach at East Stroudsburg University while earning my Master’s degree. I then worked at the United States Military Academy at West Point training female cadets before earning my Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. I have been a tenure-track college professor for the past seven years and am now a professor and program director in the Kinesiology department at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. In addition to my teaching, research, and administrative duties, I co-chair a community outreach project called Health Career Academy to educate high school students in Philadelphia about potential future careers in the healthcare industry. I am also spearheading a project called Early STEAM, working in local Philadelphia elementary schools to introduce young inner-city students to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).
Community service and public engagement are core values of mine, and have been since I was young. I believe that improving your local community is a hands-on job, and that’s the spirit and energy I will bring to both this campaign and to the County Council. I look forward to speaking with each of you in the days and months ahead as we build a winning ticket for 2019.
Jack is the proud son of a union family who has lived his American Dream in Delaware County.
His father Fred dropped out of Upper Darby High School at 17 to join the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After proudly serving his country, Fred raised his family into the middle class through his hard work as a SEPTA driver and member of the United Transportation Union (UTU).
His mother Henrietta was born in Soviet Ukraine and immigrated to America as a World War II refugee from a Nazi slave labor camp. After the war, Henrietta and her family lived homeless on the streets of war ravaged Europe until they settled in the City of Chester in 1951 and began their lives as free people.
Inspired by his parents’ pursuit of the American Dream, Jack worked his way through college, graduating at the age of thirty-four by completing his course work at night and on weekends. While still in law school, Jack joined the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office as an intern representing the Commonwealth in pre-trial hearings. In 2000, Jack graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, passed the bar, and was appointed as an Assistant Delaware County District Attorney prosecuting criminals in juvenile and adult criminal courts.
Just one year later, in 2001, Jack was recruited to join the U.S. Department of Justice as the policy analyst and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) gun violence reduction initiative in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 2004 Jack was appointed Assistant United States Attorney and assigned to lead a gun violence task force targeting the “Badlands” of North Central Philadelphia. Jack had the distinction of earning a 100% conviction rate in his four and half years as a federal prosecutor.
In 2006, Governor Edward G. Rendell appointed Jack as Pennsylvania’s Safe Schools Advocate for the Philadelphia School District. In this unique watchdog role, Jack established a reputation for independence and integrity by publicly reporting the School District’s systemic failure to properly report violent crimes. Because of his work, District officials made changes in policy to better protect children and teachers. In 2012, the Philadelphia Inquirer won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on school violence that based in part on Jack’s advocacy.
Appointed Deputy State Treasurer for Consumer Programs in 2017, Jack worked with State Treasurer Joe Torsella to establish the PA ABLE savings program for people with disabilities and the Keystone Scholars grant program to give every child born or adopted in Pennsylvania after a brighter future by seeding a 529 higher education savings account to encourage every child to reach their dreams through higher education and career training.
A long time Delco resident, Jack graduated from St. Denis in Havertown and attended Archbishop Carroll before graduating from Ridley Senior High School.
Jack currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Delaware County Bar Association and as a founding member of Delco Coalition for Prison Reform (CPR). He lives in Havertown with his wife Judi, son John, and daughter Sarah, both students at Haverford Middle School.
Court of Common Pleas Judge
My name is Mike Farrell, and I am running for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Political candidates are supposed to tell voters about their strengths. We recite our resumes and tout our accomplishments, hoping that you will be impressed.
We don’t often share the challenges we face. But sometimes we grow more from our challenges than our accomplishments.
I have many things I’m proud of. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, with a dual degree in economics and political science. I attended Penn on a full scholarship. And, I got my law degree from Cornell Law School.
I am also proud to say that I served this country in uniform as an Army officer. The day I graduated from Penn, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. I served as a platoon leader and battalion staff officer for almost ten years,
including some time in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
I am proud of my legal experience. I have been an attorney for 26 years. In that time, I have litigated cases at just about every level of Court. I have tried cases to juries. I have done bench trials. I have tried cases in state court and federal court. I have done arbitrations and administrative hearings. I have argued before state and federal appellate courts. I even spent a year working as general counsel to a brewery.
I am proud of the fact that I have run for office. In 2006 and 2010, I was the Democratic nominee running for the 26th state senate district. I came very close to unseating a longtime Republican incumbent at a time when Democrats didn’t
win very many races in Delaware County. And, I am proud that I married a woman from Springfield, my wife Donna, and
that we are raising our fourteen-year-old twins, Connor and Christina.
Many of those things I’m proud of, however, were accomplished while I also faced a challenge: Parkinson’s Disease.
When I was I thirty-one, and an ambitious young litigator at a big firm downtown, I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s Disease. And, suddenly, life became very real.
It didn’t seem to matter as much anymore if I worked at the biggest firm, or what floor of a glass tower my office was on or what awards I had won. Parkinson’s was a real-world struggle. The kind of “rubber meets the road” struggle people face when they come before a judge. In fact, Parkinson’s has taught me more about being a judge than any Ivy League school I attended or case I tried, or military post. Because, it taught me empathy.
A judge, a good judge, needs empathy, a fundamental understanding that every case is more than just facts and law, it is about the lives of people. It may be about someone who has been the victim of a crime, who has already done the most courageous thing just by coming forward. It may be about someone injured by negligence. It may be about someone with a business dispute, or a family in trouble.
An empathetic judge is able to see that in every case, there are people who are hoping. Hoping that someone will listen to their story and will decide their case with wisdom. We need empathy now, more than ever. Empathy is what tells us that you don’t separate children from their families at a
border. Empathy would not let us require those same children to face a hearing alone, without representation. Empathy tells us that victims of sexual assault shouldn’t be attacked for coming forward.
We live in strange times. More and more, when the other branches of government fail us, we look to the judiciary.
Yes, it is important that a judge have a good education, years of experience and a record of service. But now, more than ever before, we must choose judges who also have the empathy for the human condition to apply them.
Political candidates are only supposed to talk about their strengths. But, I think it is important for me to ignore that wisdom.
It is hard for me to admit that I have a disability. Frankly, it takes a little courage for disabled people to put themselves out there and be part of the world. When you feel “different,” when people stare, or worse, when they look away, it is embarrassing. But, that is what I want to encourage disabled people to do. We have to participate in the world. We need to show up. Because, people with disabilities have something to contribute, something to say.
That is why I am running for judge, because I am qualified. And to prove that having a disability does not mean you are disqualified. And so, I hope you will consider supporting me.
My name is Stephanie Klein, and in early January I will be formally declaring my candidacy for one of the four vacancies on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Over the years, I have met many Delaware County Democratic Committee members. For those of you whom I have not yet had the pleasure to meet, I would like to introduce myself.
I was honored to serve for 18 years as the Magisterial District Judge for Media, Nether Providence and Swarthmore. I was the first Democrat and first woman elected to the position. I was first elected in a district with a 2-1 Republican majority and subsequently was re-elected twice.
I went to law school because I wanted to use the law to help people. I was hired out of law school by legal aid to represent veterans in their appeals of their less than honorable discharges and of denial of VA benefits. Many of these veterans had lost all hope in the system. By listening to their stories and accompanying them to hearings, I was able to help many of them restore their honor and access sorely needed veterans’ benefits. Later, I represented poor clients denied benefits like unemployment and Social Security Disability to appeal at administrative hearings, and in state and federal court.
When my family and I moved to Pennsylvania and Delaware County, I had the opportunity to clerk for Delaware County’s last Democratic judge, Edward Lawhorne. I experienced first-hand how a fair and thoughtful judge could positively impact both the litigants in his courtroom and the broader community. After Judge Lawhorne lost his re-election bid, Delaware County Legal Assistance in the City of Chester hired me to revitalize their volunteer attorney program. Over five years, I recruited several hundred attorneys to advise and represent clients who otherwise would lack legal representation and advice.
In 1995, I ran for Magisterial District Judge. What fueled my run was my clients’ stories: veterans and the disabled denied benefits to which they were due; domestic violence victims seeking protective orders; tenants facing eviction and homelessness; seniors ripped off by the unscrupulous, to name a few. As a judge, I was intent on listening to every litigant’s story to ensure that each had the opportunity to be heard. And I was determined to try to offer every single litigant a fair day in court.
Every day I came to work mindful of my judicial oath and determined to adjudicate cases fairly and impartially and but also convey to each litigant that I recognized the importance of their case. A license suspension, a collateral result of a traffic conviction, could result in loss of a job because a person could no longer travel to work. Eviction might result in homelessness. Truancy was a symptom of trouble at home and continued absenteeism could result in failure to graduate. I worked with litigants on both sides to come up with alternatives, like substance abuse or mental health treatment instead of jail, or an agreed payment plan instead of an eviction. These alternatives made a difference. I am most proud of getting kids back to school in truancy cases. For example, several years ago, I ran into a formerly truant student who had an undiagnosed mental health issue that kept her out of school. She beamed and thanked me for helping her- she graduated high school and was doing well in college.
My philosophy as a Magisterial District Judge, the philosophy I will hold as a Common Pleas Judge, has been informed by my clients as an attorney and all my litigants as a judge. Cases are not just about applying statutes-- a cut-and-paste style of justice-- cases are about people.
2018 was an amazing year for the Delco Dems. I am so excited about our achievements and I look forward to even more successes in 2019. I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season filled with family and friends and a happy and healthy new year.