November 3, 2019
Chesco balance of power on line in Tuesday vote
WEST CHESTER — Is Chester County ready for Democratic Party leadership at the top of county government? Or has the Republican Party’s majority served residents’ needs enough to warrant them staying in control?
Essentially, that is a question that will be answered on Tuesday, when the county’s 350,000 or so voters have the chance to go to the polls and choose the people they want to lead the county Board of Commissioners, and other county offices, for the next four years.
Given the success that candidates from the county’s Democratic Party have had in recent national, state and local elections – including a “blue wave” of county Row Office seat victories in 2017 – many are bracing for the possibility that the county commissioners could see two of its three seats taken by Democrats this year – a first in modern history.
But despite those victories, Chester County remains the sole suburban county in southeastern Pennsylvania where the Republican Party still maintains a voter-registration edge, although narrowly 148,422 to 141,446. The county remains prosperous, its taxes low, and government relatively crisis-free.
This year, the Democrats have are offering a chance to change the composition of the commissioners with candidates Josh Maxwell, the mayor of Downingtown, and Marian Moskowitz, a local businesswoman. The Republicans have countered with its two incumbent commissioners, Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline.
“We have run a very organized campaign with incredible candidates,” said Moskowitz in an interview last month about her party’s prospects. “We have never had a campaign run with such a diverse set of bright and energetic people in it for all the right reasons. This could be a monumental election.”
“I have watched the cycle unfold,” as the two parties has come closer together in their respective voter bases, said Kichline in a later interview. “But out in the community campaigning, I’ve found most people have been receptive to our message and our track record.”
The candidates are:
Farrell, 72, of West Chester, who has served as county commissioner since 2009 and is seeking his fourth term in the office. He previously served as county Recorder of Deeds, and has a host of business and professional accomplishments. He is a native of southern Chester County.
Kichline, 52, of Tredyffrin, was appointed to the board in 2014 to fill the seat vacated by Ryan Costello when he won a seat in Congress, and was elected to a full term on the board in 2015. A native of the county, she is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Temple University School of Law. She served as supervisor in Tredyffrin.
Maxwell, 36, has served as mayor of Downingtown, the county’s third-largest borough, since first being elected in 2010. He is a native of the Downingtown area, and graduated from West Chester University and the University of Pennsylvania. He has run for the state House of Representatives previously, but is making his first run for county office.
Moskowitz, 63, of Tredyffrin, is also making her first run for elective office in the county after having run for state representative in 2014. She is a graduate of Neumann University and began a career in real estate, successfully creating the re-use commercial and educational project known as Franklin Common in Phoenixville.
The Republican candidates point to their “quality of life” efforts to make the county a safe and healthy place to live, including local planning and economic development efforts as the clearest reasons for their re-election, with Farrell noting the challenges the county faces in the years ahead as the population continues to swell.
“We are perhaps a victim of our own success,” he said. “We are going to see significant growth and with the 17 years of experience Michelle and I have as commissioners I think we are in a great position to help the county navigate those rough waters.”
For her part, Kichline said that among the other financial and governmental successes the county has seen in the past four years the accomplishment she remains proudest of is the anti-opioid addiction efforts of the county. She pointed to the Community Outreach and Prevention Education (COPE) program that includes help for those who suffer accidental overdoses get immediate rehabilitation assistance.
“I said this is something that is starting to peak in Chester County and we need to do something about it,” Kichline stated. “I’ve been at the front lines of this.”
Both Maxwell and Moskowitz point to their commitment to making the process of county government more transparent and accountable if elected. While the county may have benefits, there is room for improvement in both fiscal discipline and program development.
“I want to see us doing a better job of managing the county budget,” said Maxwell, pointing to a large debt service amount – $51 million in the proposed 2020 budget and close to $600 million overall to allow the county to invest in pressing needs, such more domestic violence shelters and drug treatment facilities. “We want to be thinking 10 years down the road, not election to election.”
Moskowitz was adamant that the county has fallen behind in acting against climate change, for her a pressing priority.
“I am concerned with the environmental sustainability of county government,” she said. “We have do to everything in our power to address the future of climate change, and I do not see the county government doing things that are easy and cheap to do.”
One of the other reforms she believes could easily be achieved to address transparency would be to begin having evening commissioner meetings to give those who work a chance to attend. “I want to make the public part of the process,” she said. Source
January 15, 2018
Marian Moskowitz to Run for Chester County Board of Commissioners in 2019
Tredyffrin Township resident Marian Moskowitz has announced that she will seek the Democratic party nomination for the Chester County Board of Commissioners.
Moskowitz, the Vice Chair of the Chester County Economic Development Council, has a long and distinguished career as a businesswoman, responsible local real estate developer, and philanthropist. She and her husband Dave created the Franklin Commons in Phoenixville, having transformed the old manufacturing facility into a highly-regarded educational, corporate, and recreational facility.
“I value Chester County and all the opportunities it offered me and my family,” Moskowitz said. “I want to ensure that those opportunities are available to current and future generations of residents who care about fairness, sustainability, good jobs, quality of life, and the dignity of all.”
As someone who could not afford to attend college full-time, Moskowitz started her first business as a single mother, selling leather goods at an indoor flea market, while also working toward her degree. She and her family moved to Chester County in 1984, and the entrepreneur has since operated several small businesses.
In 2015, Franklin Commons garnered her the Schuylkill River Heritage Center Award.
Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Moskowitz to serve as Commissioner on the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education in 2017, and the Delaware River Port Authority where she served from 2015-2017.
Before that, she was awarded the Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 2011 from the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce and the Ellen Ann Roberts Achievement Award for Excellence in the Field of Business from the March of Dimes. Read more
Dedicated to a safer, more vibrant Chester County
Marian Moskowitz has dedicated the past three and a half decades to growing and strengthening Chester County. She made a career as a responsible local developer; revitalizing neighborhoods and ensuring that all members of the community benefit.