In case no one has mentioned it yet, Tuesday is election day. There are no high-profile national races on the ballot but there are several important state and local elections you’ll want to weigh in on.
There are a couple of Supreme Court appointments (if you’ve heard about any of the state races it’s probably this one) and a Commonwealth Court judge. There are also two County Commissioner positions on the ballot, five judgeships open on the Court of Common Pleas (10 candidates are running, five from each party), District Attorney, Sheriff, Prothonotary, Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, School Board, and West Chester Borough Council. The last two of which we are going to focus on today.
For the other candidates, there is information out there but you’ll have to put in a little leg work. Both Chester County Democratic and Republican websites have bios on their “endorsed” candidates. However, this is only at the county level. For your local townships, try their respective local party pages. This can add up to a lot of pages to review – especially if you plan on making a truly educated decision.
West Chester Borough
There are three seats open on West Chester Borough Council – Wards 2, 4, and 6. Ward 4 covers the southeast corner of the Borough, Ward 2 is Ward 4’s neighbor to the north and Ward 6 includes downtown West Chester and Everhart Park. Not sure in which Ward you live? Here’s a map for you.
Click on the name of the candidate below for more information.
WARD 2 – BRYAN TRAVIS
Bryan Travis is running in Ward 2 replacing Councilman Nick Allen. Bryan and his family have been living in the Borough since 2006. He sees parking, trash, more resources for our parks, and affordability as key issues. Bryan is running unopposed in Tuesday’s election.
WARD 4 – NICOLE SCIMONE
Nicole Scimone is running in Ward 4 looking to succeed Borough Council President Michael Stefano. She praises the town for its walkability, restaurants, and events. A member of the West Chester Community Campus Committee, she wants a better WCU relationship. “In my ward, we are always asking, ‘How do we continue to improve the non-student, student relationship?’” Nicole is running unopposed.
WARD 6 – BERNIE FLYNN
Councilman Bernie Flynn is running for re-election in Ward 6 – or as he puts it, “the sweetest ward in the Borough.” Bernie believes his institutional knowledge will be an asset to the newer council members. After shepherding through changes to pension investment and the car purchasing programs, he shares where he thinks the Borough goes next. He is running unopposed.
West Chester Area School Board
There are three school board regions with open seats and all of them impact West Chester residents in some way. Region 2 covers East Goshen and has two open seats, Region 3 covers East Bradford, West Goshen, and Westown and has one open seat, and Region 1 covers West Chester and West Goshen and has four candidates vying for two open positions.
The candidates are grouped into two camps – United for West Chester Area School District (United) and Back to Basics (B2B). You are obviously welcome to mix and match candidates as you like but candidates in each group share a similar vision for the district.
Region 1 candidates, you will need to pick 2.
REGION 1 – United Candidates: ALEX CHRISTY & KATY FREY
Appointed by the WCASD School Board to replace outgoing member Kate Shaw in March, Alex Christy is technically already on the board but this is the first time he will face the voters. Alex grew up in the district and has worked as a WCASD substitute teacher and with the Special Olympics. He would like to see work done to close the achievement gap, increase teacher support, and grow community collaboration.
Katy Frey lives in the Borough with her husband and toddler daughter. She has a background in social work and thinks WCASD can do a better job ensuring mental health access – a sentiment echoed by parents in a recent district survey. She also believes public tax dollars belong to public schools. She and Alex weighed in on Private School vouchers this summer.
REGION 1 – B2B candidates: ROBERT RAFETTO & NICK SPANGLER
Robert Rafetto, former owner of the Dilworthtown Inn, doesn’t have children of his own but as an employer, he understands how they are being prepared for the workforce. He also believes he’s in a unique position to bridge divides. “Throughout this whole conversation, we have not talked about politics. We need to focus on the kids, parents, teachers, administrators – and the taxpayers.”
Now retired, former Learning and Development analyst Nick Spangler has seen three generations of his family go through the WCASD. He is impressed by individual achievements but worries about academic performance overall and student safety. “If [students] are in an environment where kids are being bullied, they don’t want to come to school,” he said in an interview.
More information on all school board candidates:
- The League of Women Voters held an issues forum with 9 School Board candidates in October. (Robert Rafetto was not in attendance.)
- All the Back to Basics candidates also participated in a candidate questionnaire issued by Broad + Liberty. Note: While this publication does tend to have a political bent, these are not editorial pieces (but maybe because of the latter not all candidates participated.)
- Here are the responses provided by: Robert Rafetto, Nick Spangler, Alain Oliver, Peggy Schmitt, and Amanda Greenberg.
- Not exactly apples to apples but here are brief profiles of Alex Christy, Katie Frey, Daryl Durnell, Karen Herrmann, and Gary Bevilacqua provided by Together for Public Schools and more on their combined core values.
Originally published, Nov. 3, 2023
This story is part of a longer weekly West Chester newsletter. Curious what else is going on? You can find the full issue here and the latest newsletter here. Even easier? Subscribe here to get future issues delivered directly to your inbox.