2017 is an off-year election: this means that there will not be any federal offices up for election, but there will be many local and state positions. The election will be held at Coopertown Elementary School on November 7th.
Local elections often can have much more more direct impacts on people’s lives than federal elections can. Local representatives help designate money to schools, parks, and a variety of other services to people that live in the area. Even if you know that the election is important, trying to understand all the different positions that you are voting for can be difficult. Below, you’ll find brief explanations of what all the positions are, as well as a list of who is running for each position. For some of these positions I’ll also give a brief introduction to a few of the candidates.
Delaware County Controller (County) – (1) The Office of the Controller is tasked with managing the funds of Delaware county. It is led by an elected official, and their primary goal is to monitor the funds of the county and ensure transparency.
- Joanne Phillips (D)
- (9) Joanne Phillips is a part of the Delaware County Democratic Committee, and she is one of the candidates sponsored by a Haverford alum, Molly Sheehan, who is also running for the US house of representatives in 2018. Joanne is a former real estate lawyer.
- Robert Kane (R)
- (13) Robert Kane is the Republican candidate for County Controller, and he is an owner of a CPA firm in Newtown Square. He has been the chairman of the Haverford Township Zoning Board for the last 14 years.
Delaware County Council (County) – (14) The Delaware County Council is a five member council and they are responsible for all legislative and administrative functions of the county. They are also responsible for creating a budget and implementing required programs.
- Brian Zidek (D)
- (9) Brian Zidek is currently the president of Excess Reinsurance, a company that works in the health sector. Although from South New Jersey, he has lived in Delaware County for 17 years.
- Kevin Madden (D)
- (9) Kevin Madden is the CEO and Founder of NightOwl Technologies, a technology company that developed a destination app for cities.
- Dave White (R)
- (10) Dave White is an incumbent on the Council and was appointed in January of 2012. Dave is the owner of a full service plumbing, HVAC, and sheet metal contracting company.
- John Perfetti (R)
- (15) John Perfetti is a retired Magisterial Court Judge. He has also served on the Delaware County Department of Human Services’ Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board.
Justice of the Supreme Court (State) – (7) The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court within the state of Pennsylvania. There are seven members of the Supreme Court and they most often will hear appeals from court decisions heard in the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court.
- Dwayne Woodruff (D)
- (11) Dwayne Woodruff is a former Pittsburgh Steeler cornerback, and currently serves as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County. He has also served in a variety of boards and committees, including the National Commission of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board, the Pittsburgh SAFE Workgroup and the Educational Success & Truancy Prevention Committee.
- Sallie Mundy (R)
- (12) Sallie Mundy was elected to the Pennsylvania State Superior Court in 2009, and became the only state elected official from the northern half of Pennsylvania. Justice Mundy currently serves on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as she was appointed to the court in 2016. She is running as the incumbent of this race.
Judge of the Superior Court (State, 4 votes) – (7) The Superior court is one of two appellate court in Pennsylvania meaning they can hear appeals of lower court decisions. The Superior Court hears most appeals from civil and criminal cases from the Courts of Common Pleas and appeals on familial/domestic issues.
- Maria McLaughlin (D)
- Geoffrey Moulton Jr. (D)
- Carolyn Nichols (D)
- Deborah Kunselman (D)
- Craig Stedman (R)
- Wade Kagarise (R)
- Emil Giordano (R)
- Mary Murray (R)
Judge of the Commonwealth Court (State, 2 votes) – (7) The Commonwealth Court is the other of the two appellate courts in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court mostly deals with issues that are related to state government and regulation. They can appeal decisions made by state agencies as well as the Courts of Common Pleas.
- Ellen Ceisler (D)
- Irene Clark (D)
- Paul Lalley (R)
- Christine Fizzano Cannon (R)
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas (State) – (7) The Courts of Common Pleas are the general courts in Pennsylvania that are organized into 60 districts. They are responsible for appeals from minor courts and in matters involving children and families.
- Kelley Eckel (D)
- Jack Whelan (R)
Sheriff (County) – (4) A Sheriff is an administrative law enforcement official who oversees the police in a county. They act similarly to a police chief, and can also assist with criminal investigations.
- Jerry Sanders (D)
- Mary McFall Hopper (R)
- Matthew Wallace (L)
Register of Wills (County) – (3) A register of wills assists families in negotiating and obtaining wills to transfer the assets of a recently deceased person. The elected official acts as the administrative head of the position to ensure that the last wishes of the deceased person are carried out.
- Mary Walk (D)
- Beth Naughton-Beck (R)
Magisterial District Court (County) – (9) The Magisterial District Court is most people’s first entry into the Judicial system in Pennsylvania, and they handle traffic cases, minor criminal cases and civil cases. Since there are so many candidates, they will not all be listed in this article.
Although it is good to know what you are voting for, it is equally important to make sure that the people you are electing are people you want to be in those positions. I posted a short introduction for a few candidates, but there is a lot more information about them online. Some good resources to learn about candidates include their personal campaign websites, as well as Ballotpedia. Off-year elections often have low voter turnouts, so voting in an election like this will make your vote count much more than it would in a general election. Make sure to get out and vote!