Public statements and bios posted by the candidates running for county-wide office.
After the overdose death of his son, Brendan, 23, last year, Larry co-founded the Opioid Crisis Action Network (OCAN) to address this national health emergency by researching a policy platform requiring private health insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid to cover best medical practices. 104 candidates nationwide, 74 from PA, endorsed the OCAN platform. (See opioidcrisisactionnetwork.com) As a member of county council, Larry will work to expand the drug, mental health and veterans’ courts and insure that medication assisted recovery regimes are encouraged and supported. There is no one more qualified to implement a county health department to co-ordinate our response to this national disaster which is taking the lives of four Delaware County residents per week.
Sixteen years ago, after a successful 20-year career in software sales, Larry took a $100,000 pay cut and became a public school teacher and coach in Philadelphia. He has been a union member since 2012 and helped lead an organization campaign at a charter school 2010-2011. Larry is committed to policies that will increase union jobs in Delco, bring jobs to the Chester port and infrastructure projects to our area roads and bridges, protect workers’ rights, and insure that county and contractors’ workers are paid fair and competitive wages.
Larry graduated from Haverford High and Princeton University. In 1997, he founded Citizens for Good Government, which successfully lobbied to preserve open space at the former state hospital site and put the insurance contract out to an open bid, saving taxpayers money. Larry called for the resignation of two corrupt Haverford officials (1991 and 2002). Larry testified at DER hearings against a proposed ash dump at the abandoned quarry off Township Line Road (1987) and over-development bordering our water supply, the Springton Reservoir (2000). This past year, Larry has spoken at Marple Township meetings advocating for the preservation of the forests on the Don Guanella property, and at County Council and Middletown Council meetings against the the locating of the Sunoco pipeline within 650 feet of schools and senior living facilities. Larry has been a dedicated grassroots activist for over 30 years who will apply this leadership experience to county council.
Larry will work to eliminate the only privately run prison in PA and insure that inmates receive best practices mental health and addiction treatment so that recidivism rates are reduced. Larry will work to reform the cash bail system so that those accused of non-violent offenses awaiting trial who cannot afford bail will not be imprisoned simply because they are poor. This is not only the only constitutional approach; it will also save taxpayers money.
Larry lives in Havertown with Heather, his wife of 28 years, and his daughter, Shelby.
Larry's campaign is fueled by small donations. No dark money is welcome. Reject big money in politics and elect a representative of the middle class and the poor who listens and responds to each and every citizen!
Public servant, and platform strategist, Sharon Booker has devoted her life to working in government administration and community activism. Sharon resides in Sharon Hill Borough, serving her second term as Sharon Hill Borough Councilwoman and member of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, and also serving her first term on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Party representing the Eighth Senatorial District. She is a member of the Women’s Caucus and the Progressive Caucus.
Since being elected to serve on Sharon Hill Borough Council in 2013, Booker has been liaison to the Sharon Hill's Recreation Board, Library Board, the Art & Culture Commission, and is also a board member of the Sharon Hill Sewer, Highway & Planning Commission. She currently serves as a leader in the Delaware County Democratic Party, Convener on The Delaware County Black Caucus, participated in numerous political campaigns, provided delegate selection training throughout the Delaware Valley, and was appointed and served as the first Chairperson of Diversity and Inclusion for both the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee Black Caucus and the Delaware County Democratic party.
Booker is an alumna of Eckerd College and Temple University’s Schools of Journalism and Communication. She is a performing artist, motivational speaker, lecturer on her experiences with West African culture, having been a featured poet performing throughout the US, the coast of West Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe. She performed solo and as part of two Women’s Collective’s- “Wings of Worth” and “For Women.” As an author and self-publisher of two books of poetry, Sharon has been featured in several anthologies, journals, and an award-winning documentary. She was selected as an Outstanding Young Woman of America and a recipient of the Dr. C. Delores Tucker Humanitarian Award for Community Service. She and her husband, Assarif, are also small business owners in the service industry.
Anthony Moore is the current Parks Service Manger for the City of Chester. During his tenure, under the direction of Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams, Mr. Moore has been able to secure funding for and was project cooridnator for several recreational projects, throughout the City of Chester.
Mr. Moore's passion with the environment has led him to work with Chester Shade Tree commission, Pennvest to have more than 500 trees planted throughout various parks and locations in the city of Chester.
Anthony Moore is the current Chairman of the City of Chester's Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to Mayor and Council and/or the Zoning Hearing Board concerning various construction projects. Projects during Mr. Moore's tenure include; Chicago Pizza Uno restaurant, Candlewood Suites and Hotel, Chester Charter School for the Performing Arts, Dollar General stores, and Kimberly Clark Natural Gas co generation power plant.
Tinu Moss’ career is rooted in one thing: her unrelenting determination to provide a voice to the voiceless.
Tinu is a lifelong resident of Delaware County, and this is where she has chosen to raise her family. Her father came to the United States in 1972 from Ijebu Ode, Nigeria earning his BA in Accounting, and an MBA, from Rutgers University. Her mother, a 35 year SEIU member and civil rights activist, was born and raised in Newnan, Georgia and earned her BA from Rosemont College.
Tinu’s family was working-class, making their home in Yeadon. The oldest of three daughters, she graduated from Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne in 1994. After high school, she attended Duke University on an academic scholarship, earning two bachelor’s degrees. She earned a BA in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Geology. After graduating, she worked with Prudential Securities in New York and then Merrill Lynch in Philadelphia as a Financial Consultant. Though she enjoyed educating people on how to navigate the financial markets, her passion for helping people led her to law school.
Tinu earned her Juris Doctorate from Temple University Beasley School of Law as well as an LLM in Taxation. While at Temple University, she had the high honor of receiving the E. Wallace Chadwick Memorial Scholarship. During her time in law school, she interned for the City of Philadelphia Law Department and was a law clerk for Judges Sandy L.V. Byrd and Sheila Woods-Skipper.
She currently practices law at Kenneth R. Schuster & Associates focusing primarily on divorce, custody, child support, and minor criminal offenses. Her passion for her work and compassion for her clients led her to her role on the court-appointed list for juvenile criminal defendants. As a result, she has become adept in the laws pertaining to children and is skilled at uncovering the factors and details which impact a child's overall familial situation.
In addition to her legal practice, Tinu is the Borough Manager for Yeadon Borough. In this capacity she serves as the chief administrative officer of the Borough and is responsible to Council as a whole for the proper and efficient administration of the affairs of the Borough. As the manager, she supervises and is responsible for the activities of all Borough departments except the police department. She worked closely with the Finance Director and each department to garner estimates of revenues and expenditures to craft a budget for the 2019 fiscal year. She is also responsible for managing and directing the finances of the Borough to insure proper investments of all municipal funds in excess of immediate needs as well as the administration of all loans.
Tinu was an elected Democratic Committee Person in Yeadon from 2010-2018, and volunteered for the Democratic Party prior to her elected position. She is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Darby where she has served as an usher for the last seven years. During her leisure time, Mrs. Moss enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Anthony B. Moss Sr., Business Agent for Laborers’ Local 413, and their son, Aidyn.
For those of you who don't know me, following is some personal and professional background. On a personal level, I am the first generation son of Serbian immigrants. My father escaped from a Nazi concentration camp, and after several years spent in refugee camps, emigrated to Detroit. He eventually moved to Indiana, working as a machinist for GM and was a proud member of the UAW. Following his passing, my mother moved the family to Monessen, a steel town in Western PA where she supported my brother and I as a domestic. We lived in public housing and I can honestly say that I am well acquainted with the struggles of the working poor. I have lived it. I worked my way through Duquesne (BS) and Pitt (MBA) as a bartender. I moved to DELCO in 1988, and have lived in Lansdowne for 25 years.
Professionally, I spent the first 25 years of my career in Banking, initially public finance and later global banking with US Bank and HSBC. I helped take my division at HSBC from $10 million in annual revenue to $220 million annually. I had the invaluable opportunity to work with clients in 50 countries. After the financial crisis, I was downsized at HSBC and moved to Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor where I concentrated my practice on nonprofits and families with a member having special needs- a rewarding niche that ultimately changed my life. I pivoted to nonprofit work, managing the Special Needs and Special Education trust programs at a 501(c)(3) in Wayne, keeping clients eligible for benefits while enhancing their quality of life. Since October, I have operated my own firm, Special Needs Advocacy Services, providing trustee services and benefits consulting. I am proud that my wife shares my passion, as she has spent her entire career working in Early Intervention.
In the community, I have been involved in varying degrees in Democratic politics since the early 1980's. I held local office in Lansdowne from 2007-17, first as municipal auditor and then as Vice President of Borough Council. I have also sat on the Board of the Lansdowne Boys and Girls Club, and the Lansdowne Economic Development Corp.
I sincerely appreciate those that took the time to read this lengthy post, and humbly ask for your support in the upcoming campaign.
I was born and raised in Havertown. When I moved back to Delaware County, after college and law school, one thing remained the same. "This is a one-party county,” I told my husband. “Maybe one of us should register as a Republican." He looked at me oddly—he’s from Massachusetts--and said it wouldn’t be him. I decided it would not be me either. If I was going to use my skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to our community, I would do it as a Democrat.
I first got my feet wet in local government when I helped negotiate a resolution to a zoning issue concerning the SEPTA train station in our neighborhood. I worked to preserve open spaces while I served six years on the Township Planning Commission and was part of the first multi-municipal planning effort for the Wallingford Swarthmore School District. I won a seat on the Nether Providence Board of Commissioners and dug into the dirty work, the Sewer Authority, and whatever else needed doing.
My commitment to service doesn’t start or end with politics. Community service is part of my DNA. My great uncle, Walter Reuther, led a fight for economic equality and civil rights as president of the UAW. My mother helped start the Friends of the Haverford Township Free Library and I followed her in her footsteps as a Girl Scout leader and cookie mom. I’ve served on the boards of non-profits that provide child care, arts education and mental and behavioral health services. For over ten years, I worked with Nether Providence Township and local organizations and businesses to raise money for our Township first responders. I've always worked for good government initiatives.
As a lawyer, my practice centers on tax and business matters but I am also the solicitor for Rutledge Borough, where I get a wide-ranging view of the challenges facing our smaller municipalities. I represented the Headstrong Foundation in their successful effort to obtain a zoning accommodation for Nick's House in Swarthmore. I supported the Delco Coalition for Prison Reform in their push to livestream the meetings of the Prison Board, and did the research that enabled Council members Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden to introduce a resolution to provide for County Council oversight of the County’s private prison contract.
Throughout these experiences, I’ve kept my eye on the big picture: freeing the county from the control of the Republican machine to ensure our government works for all residents of Delaware County. In 2015, I ran for County Council. Turnout still favored the Republicans. We did not win but I gained invaluable experience - both of what it takes to run a successful campaign as well as a greater appreciation of the 49 municipalities that make up Delaware County. When my 2015 county race was over, I dedicated myself to my local Democratic committee. We have built an organization in Nether Providence that can support Democratic candidates. In 2017, I helped elect our County slate and chaired Controller Joanne Phillip's campaign. Now I want to build on that success and run again for County Council.
The 2019 election will bring historic change to Delaware County if we endorse strong candidates who can do the hard work of transforming our county government once they are elected. I can do the job and ask for your support.
Elaine Paul Schaefer
Elaine Paul Schaefer has been an engaged resident and environmental activist in the Newtown Square section of Radnor Township for over 20 years. Her unique blend of professional and political experiences makes her a compelling candidate for Delaware County Council. She served as the first female President of her Township's Board of Commissioners, won a Republican seat that flipped her Township blue in 2009, and implemented major government reform arising from unprecedented government corruption and waste. None of those accomplishments would have been possible without her personal call to action, and decades of commitment to improving her community.
Elaine became deeply involved in local politics in 2002, when proposed development of the Ardrossan Farm inspired her to found the Radnor Conservancy. With her new organization, she led a successful open space bond referendum campaign to save 71 acres of the historical farm from suburban development with a stunning 79% of the vote. When the time came for Radnor Township to issue the bond, the Republican controlled Board of Commissioners stalled and failed to deliver. But Elaine was committed to her cause. So, she ran to replace them. Her victory, in a Republican District, was the seat needed to flip the Board of Commissioners in her town to Democratic control. Little did she know that her work had just begun.
At that time, the Township was in a state of disarray with a financial corruption controversy, a record of deficit spending and high levels of resident distrust of the local government. Under Elaine’s leadership, the new Democratic majority completely revamped the government, appointing an entirely new management structure, instituting a higher level of financial reporting, increasing transparency and right-sizing the staff. The Board remains under Democratic control today, and Radnor serves as a model of accountable local government in our region -- a model needed for Delaware County Council.
Elaine Paul Schaefer knows what it takes to reform an inefficient, corrupt and dysfunctional government structure. DelCo’s government has been under single-party control for too long and the will of the people isn’t represented by a Board that supports a private prison, fails to support a health department, and doesn’t put a high enough priority on open space preservation. These are issues that negatively impact all of our diverse communities in Delaware County, and we deserve more. Elaine is running to -- once again -- reform a stagnant, unfair system to an accountable, transparent and fair branch of local government.
Change doesn’t come easily. It will be a long, tough journey, but with your help, Elaine hopes to have the responsibility and privilege of working for you.
Elaine lives in the Newtown Square section of Radnor with her husband, John, of 27 years and her poorly trained but lovable Labrador Retriever, Biggie Smalls. Her three children are grown, two working in Boston and her youngest a junior at UNC. Elaine received her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her Juris Doctorate from William and Mary.
Professionally, after starting her career as a lawyer, and founding the Radnor Conservancy, Elaine has continued her commitment to the environment. She is the Executive Director of the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, a non-profit organization that protects the Schuylkill River’s water quality and promotes positive development of Schuylkill River Trail and the communities in the Schuylkill watershed. She has also served on the Delaware County Conservation District Board, and she is currently a board member of Conservation Voters of PA, the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce, the 9/11 Memorial Trail, the Circuit Trail Coalition, and Heritage PA.
Politically, Elaine has been a Democratic Committeewoman for many years. In 2016, she ran for PA State Representative in 165. Despite losing that election in a tough year for Democrats, she set fundraising and volunteer engagement records that cycle. Most of her political energy is spent helping strong female candidates get elected. As recently as 2018, she was an ardent supporter of her newly elected State Representative Jennifer O’Mara, and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon.
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.
Richard Womack, Jr. was destined to live a life of service to his community; it’s in his DNA. His late mother, Mattie Womack, was a deeply spiritual individual who instilled in him an unwavering caring and compassion for all people. His father, Richard Womack, Sr., is a civil rights activist and former leader in the labor movement who taught him to stand up for human and civil rights and fight for workplace improvements, higher pay and better health benefits for working people.
After graduating from Darby Township High School, Richard went on to study political science at Mansfield State College. He is also a graduate of the Negro Trade Union Leadership Council, the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, and the prestigious National Labor College.
Richard currently serves as an advisor to the President for community and religious affairs for the National AFL-CIO, a democratic federation of 55 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women. He has represented Ward 2 on the Darby Township Board of Commissioners since 2009 and was elected Vice President of the Board in 2015. In 2018, he was elected President of the Board of Commissioners. He is currently the Chair of the Darby Township Democratic Party, and formally the Darby Township Police Commissioner.
During his 25 years of service in the Labor Movement, Richard had the opportunity to work on countless campaigns and issues that changed the lives of everyday people. He played a prominent role in several political campaigns, directed get-out-the-vote programs in numerous states, and became experienced in handling grievances, contract negotiations and arbitration hearings. One of his most gratifying achievements was working intimately with the Disability Community and the U.S. Congress to pass the American Disabilities Act.
Richard has been a champion for youth since his younger days when he had to fight for a seat at the table. His commitment to developing young leaders is demonstrated through the nonprofit community organization he founded, Darby Township Community First, which provides mentorship and programs aimed at promoting positive identity, self-esteem, job readiness, and enhanced cultural awareness.
Among Richard’s numerous honors and awards are the National NAACP “Labor of the Year Award,” the A. Phillip Randolph’s “Community Activist Award,” the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist “Labor of the Year Award,” and the Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Social Justice Award.” He is Vice President of the National A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI) and a board member of the NAACP Labor Committee and Rainbow Push Coalition.
The proud father of a daughter, Chantel Womack, and grandfather to Amiyah Womack; is a member of the Highway Church of Christ. His favorite scripture is “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17) and favorite song is “I Will Trust in the Lord.”
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
Spent child and early adulthood in South Philadelphia and graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School in 1986. Graduated from Dickinson College Cum Laude in 1990, and was the recipient of the Charles Mortimer Griffith Award, awarded for excellence in religious studies. Graduated from Villanova School of Law in 1993 and immediately joined DeMarco & DeMarco, P.C. as an associate under his father James J. DeMarco, Sr., focusing on protecting the rights of injured workers. General practice, but focused on litigation. Earned LLM in Trial Advocacy from Temple University in 2003, the only law degree exclusively tailored for trial lawyers.
Kelly Eckel is a commercial litigator at Duane Morris LLP. For more than 20 years, Kelly has represented clients in a wide variety of litigation matters, including but not limited to commercial fraud, complex contracts, business torts, intellectual property, employment litigation, and bankruptcy litigation.
In addition to her extensive litigation experience, Kelly was appointed in 2010 to the American Arbitration Association’s Roster of Neutrals for commercial cases, an exclusive list of accomplished practitioners from legal and business communities throughout the world, who hear and decide cases filed in the AAA forum. As an arbitrator, Kelly frequently presides over pre-trial and trial hearings, resolves discovery disputes, issues rulings and awards, and resolves disputes between parties.
A daughter of German immigrants, Kelly spent her childhood in many parts of the country and world, moving around with her father, a now-retired US Army Colonel. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, where she wrote for the Harvard Crimson and played varsity water polo. After working in fundraising for two years, Kelly moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple Law School, where she was Managing Editor of Temple Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. During law school, Kelly served as a judicial intern to US District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III.
After graduation from law school, Kelly served as a judicial law clerk to US District Court Judge Stanley S. Brotman before entering private practice at Duane Morris.
Kelly resides with her husband, Gregory Ott, their daughters, Madeleine and Cassidy, and their Irish Setter, Reilly, in Upper Providence Township. Madeleine and Cassidy are active, year-round swimmers, at Suburban Seahawks Club in Newtown Square, where Kelly served on the Executive Board for several years, and during the summer, at Knowlton Swim Club in Middletown Township.
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.
An Accomplished Attorney. A graduate of Yale University and New York University School of Law, Rick has more than 35 years of legal experience, including more than 10 years as an arbitrator and a mediator in complex cases. He specializes in construction matters, for which he has developed a national reputation. He is a member of the American College of Construction Lawyers, the most prestigious group of construction lawyers in the country. He now sits on the group’s Board, and has served as the Chair of the group’s Diversity Committee. Rick has written extensively, and has appeared on innumerable panels on a diverse range of legal topics.
A Record of Public Service. From the earliest days of his career as a lawyer, Rick has demonstrated a commitment to public service. While still a law student, Rick volunteered with the ACLU, working in the area of due process rights. As a young lawyer, Rick became active with Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent (VIP), a group that organized lawyers to provide pro bono legal services. Rick served on the VIP Board, and ultimately became President of the organization.
Rick served as Mayor of Swarthmore, the first Democrat to do so. On his first day as Mayor, he joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and often appeared and spoke at rallies for that cause, including in Harrisburg and Washington. During his tenure as Mayor, when the state legislature’s gerrymandering efforts included an attempt to divide the borough, Rick was a named plaintiff in the successful action to stop the legislature. In recognition of his contributions to the community, in 2015 the Swarthmore Lions Club named Rick “Citizen of the Year.”
In 2013 Rick began volunteering at Graterford Prison (now SCI Phoenix), a maximum-security prison about an hour north of Philadelphia. Rick combined his knowledge of historyand the law and created a course for the men – primarily “lifers” – on the history of the American constitution. As a result of the relationships that developed from his teaching, Rick was asked by the men to become their outside liaison and assist in their effort to pass legislation that would permit parole eligibility for lifers. Rick accepted this responsibility and continues to visit the men regularly.
For many years Rick and his family have been active in supporting the efforts of the county party and their municipal committee. On numerous occasions, Rick has served as a lawyer performing “election protection” duties on Election Day, and has assisted with credentialing efforts at party conventions. He has also served as a committee member with the Mid-County Democratic Committee.
A Commitment to Family and Community. Rick is very proud to say that he has been happily married to Margie McAboy for over 34 years. They have two children, Emma (28) and Abby (24), both of whom graduated from Strath Haven in Wallingford. Emma went on to graduate from Vassar, and Abby from Temple where she recently received a master’s degree in city planning. As an All-New England college soccer player, Rick thoroughly enjoyed coaching both of his daughters. For many years Rick and his family belonged to Congregation Beth Israel in Middletown, and Rick served on its Board. Together with family friends, Rick led an effort to hold Hannukah celebrations in Swarthmore for approximately ten years.