Elections

General Election 2017: Voter’s Guide


Pop star Justin Timberlake took a selfie recently while voting in Tennessee.
Credit: Justin Timberlake/Instagram

Election day is here once again.

Tuesday, November 7 is primary election day across Pennsylvania.

All polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, there were 197,762 Democrats, 188,510 registered Republicans in Bucks County and 74,893 registered to no party or another affiliation as of spring.

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE

NO identification is needed to vote. The exception is if you are a first-time voter or this will be your first election in a new ward.

If you are looking to write-in a candidate, poll site staff can show you how to add a person’s name.

Problems at the Polls? Contact the Bucks County Board of Elections at 215-348-6154.

Click here to see a sample ballot for Bucks County.

 

The below candidate information has been provided through an extensive guide compiled by the League of Women Voters of Bucks County.

The League of Women Voters of Bucks County (PA) is a nonpartisan, political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. Membership is open to men and women sixteen and older. In 2016, 21 people joined the chapter bringing the membership in 2016 to 150. Membership continues to grow.

People interested in the mission of the League of Women Voters are encouraged to contact the Bucks County chapter.

Retention Candidates

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Yes or no)

Superior Court of Pennsylvania (Yes or no)

Common Pleas Court (Yes or no)

  • Judge Diane E. Gibbons

Candidates

Judge of the Supreme Court (10-year term)

Dwayne Woodruff, Democrat

Education: June 1988 Duquesne University School of Law Juris Doctor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Areas of Study: Taxation, Securities, Corporations & Contracts.May 1979 University of Louisville B.S. Finance Louisville, Kentucky

Qualifications: -17 years private practice on defense & plaintiff side -12 years serving on Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County -National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges -Allegheny
County Jail Oversight Board -Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission -PA Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee -National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges -Allegheny County Bar Assoc, -American Bar Assoc. -Pennsylvania Bar Assoc. -Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice -Allegheny County Interbranch

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? A judge should possess the most important quality of Discernment which is obtained through the ever-expanding accumulation of knowledge, wisdom, experience and compassion. Knowledge -knowing/fully comprehending the law. Wisdom – knowing what the law requires and what affects rulings will have on the parties and society. Experience – knowing the people/cultures/community. Compassion – incorporating mercy in rulings when proper and just; humbly realizing ‘there but for the
grace of God go I’.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused from a case? A: A judge should recuse himself/herself when he/she is unable to quell one’s own passion or when a bias exists. Yes, I have recused myself in cases where there is familiarity with the parties involved and/or I felt that there would be a perceived bias. Propriety always suggests that it is more important to create an open and fair perception of neutrality than to allow questions that impugn the judicial process.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? As a judge, I have worked earnestly to secure equal justice for all; I lead the development of new court procedures that provide necessary legal assistance to pro se litigants; Appointed by PA Supreme Court to 3 statewide commissions all dealing with ‘access to justice’; Chaired Allegheny County (AC) Commission on Juvenile Justice, implementing system reforms (published booklet, October 2012) & Under my leadership AC became first court in Commonwealth to practice continuing judicial education.

Sally Mundy, Republican

Education: University of Pittsburgh School of Law (J.D.), 1987 Washington and Jefferson College (B.A.), 1984

Qualifications: Highly Recommended by the PA Bar Association. Judge, The Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 2010-2016. Member Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Board. Member Disciplinary Hearing Committee, past chair. Legal Intelligencer’s Top Women in Law, 2016. Former Lawyer in State College and Philadelphia region for 22 years. Former Public Defender, Tioga County in 2008-2009.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? The single most important quality for any jurist is integrity. A Judge must be transparent, efficient and direct. When explaining a ruling in a written opinion, a judge needs to address not only the lawyers in the case, but the clients as well. It is important that everyone has a clear understanding of the decision and the reasoning behind it.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused from a case? Whenever a circumstance, such as the identity of the parties or their lawyers or the issue presented raises a question in the mind of the Judge that could compromise integrity, it is incumbent upon that jurist to engage in a process of introspection. Judges are human beings, subject to the same life experiences from which opinions are generated. The question is not whether you do or do not have opinions; rather the real question is can you set aside those feelings or opinions and judge fairly.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? Access to justice requires more than an assurance that the courtroom doors be open and accessible to all citizens. To give true meaning to those words, we must insure that they have the legal representation necessary to make that access meaningful. As a former member of the IOLTA Board, I am aware of the breadth of the problem, and the potential to address it through pro bono service. My intention is to substantially expand pro bono legal services to bridge the gap between Legal Aid for the indigent and fee paying clients. An idea I intend to explore is to offer CLE credit for pro bono service.

Judge of the Superior Court (10-year term; Vote for no more than four)

Maria McLaughlin, Democrat

Occupation: Judge Court of Common Pleas Education: JD

Qualifications: As a Judge in the largest Judicial district in our Commonwealth, I’ve had the opportunity to issue thousands of rulings. I have been appealed only 5 times and have never had a decision overturned. I believe this uniquely qualifies me for the Superior Court.

Answer to Questions:

Q: What is the most important quality in a judge?
A: It is most important for a jurist to be objective because parties must have confidence that their case will be heard fairly and impartially.

Q: Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused from a case?
A: I have recused myself in a criminal matter after hearing argument on a bail reduction motion. It would be inappropriate for me to hear the underlying case because information was revealed during this motion that would be prejudicial to the defendant in his underlying case.

Q: As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice?
A: As a sitting Judge I always ensure that all parties are treated fairly and equally regardless of the issue before the Court. I also believe it is my duty as a Judge to educate the public and is the reason I take part in many community based organizations. I believe I should be a good example both on and off the bench.

Debbie Kunselman, Democrat

Occupation: Judge

Education: J.D.,University of Notre Dame Law School, cum laude B.A., Penn State University, with Honors and with High Distinction

Qualifications: 12 years experience as a trial court judge in Beaver County: presided over family, juvenile and civil matters; 13 years experience as an attorney: represented clients in personal injury, family and employment cases; 8 years as Chief County Solicitor for Beaver County; “Highly Recommended” by the Bar.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? Integrity. If you cannot trust a judge to do the right thing, and follow the law, then who can you trust?

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? I have and would recuse in cases involving family members, close friends, or former clients. I have also recused in matters involving my campaign officers. I would also recuse in other cases as required by the PA Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 2.11.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? As a judge, on the bench, I can treat self-represented litigants with respect, so they are not intimidated by the legal system. Off the bench, I can speak at seminars and to the general public about the need for all people to have access to a lawyer to protect their legal rights. I can also advocate for state funding for our public defenders. (Pennsylvania is one of only two states that does not provide any state funding to the public defenders’ office.)

Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Democrat

Education: B.A. Amherst College; J.D. Columbia University School of Law

Qualifications: The Judicial Evaluation Comm’n of the Pennsylvania Bar Association concluded: “This commission believes that the candidate possesses the highest combination of legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament and, therefore, highly recommends his candidacy for the Pennsylvania Superior Court.”

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? Beyond the baseline requirements of professional competence, integrity, and appropriate judicial temperament, the most important  qualification is a commitment to ensuring that every participant in the judicial system is treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused from a case? Judges should recuse themselves when their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. In the context of the current judicial campaign, I have recused myself in situations where lawyers providing significant support to my campaign, or members of their firms, represent clients in our court.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? I believe deeply in our civil justice system, but it is far from perfect, in large part because too many litigants do not have the resources to afford legal representation in important classes of cases where such representation is not provided by the state. As a result, I have supported and will continue to support efforts to find ways to bridge that gap, including the “Civil Gideon” movement

Emil Giordano, Republican

Occupation: Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

Education: J.D. Villanova Law School, B.A. Moravian College Qualifications: I have received a “Highly Recommended” rating from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? 6 Experience. The Pennsylvania Bar Association cited my “broad experience as a practicing attorney, proven record of judicial leadership, high ethical standards and dedication to the legal profession” as they awarded me a “highly recommended” rating. I believe those are important qualities that will serve me well on the Superior Court.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? I believe I have a proven record of conducting myself in a highly ethical manner as it relates to this issue.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? The biggest issue that needs to be addressed in the courts is the crisis of public confidence our judiciary faces. Through scandal and ethics lapses, the courts are viewed negatively by too many people. That image will only be changed by electing qualified, ethical judges who will comport themselves in an appropriate manner when in office

Craig Stedman, Republican

Occupation: Lancaster District Attorney

Education: B.A. History – University of Delaware; J.D. Penn State Dickinson School of Law

Qualifications: The Pennsylvania Bar Association awarded me a “Highly Recommended” rating.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? Experience – Criminal cases make up the great majority of the cases which are pending before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. I will bring extensive criminal law knowledge and experience to the bench and thus the majority of cases. This is particularly important because there is very little combined prosecutorial experience in the Superior Court and not one who ever served as an elected District Attorney.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case?

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? I want to become a part of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania to serve the citizens of this state and apply the law fairly and with equal justice for everyone. The concepts of fairness and equal justice are not just words to me and I am committed to interpreting the law with integrity, honor, and common sense. I am committed to making this state a better place for everyone by serving with character, respect, intelligence, and wisdom.

Wade A. Kagarise, Republican

Occupation: Court of Common Pleas Judge and Adjunct Professor

Education: B.A. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, J.D Widener University School of Law

Qualifications: Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 15 years experience as a criminal prosecutor (the last eight as Chief Deputy) handling all types of criminal cases including murder cases, twelve years experience handling civil, family, and labor law. Adjunct Professor, Infantry Veteran of US Army Reserves.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? 7 I believe experience and temperament are equally important. Judges should have broad based legal experience and should treat those who appear before them with fairness and dignity.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? Consistent with the Judicial Cannons, any Judge should recuse themselves with they are unable to decide a matter fairly and impartially or where their fairness or impartiality could reasonably be called into question.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? By working to improve the justice system for all Pennsylvanians. I have and will continue to work towards this goal. My experience on appointed committees has provided a venue to work on improvements. I also believe my experience as an adjunct professor has provided me the opportunity to have an impact on future generations of legal professionals

Mary Murray, Republican

Occupation: Magisterial District Judge & Attorney

Education: Duquesne University, BS/BA 1992, MBA 1995, JD 1996

Qualifications: As Magisterial District Judge for over 13 years and as an attorney for over 20, I have heard cases and practiced law in the areas that come before the Superior Court. In my tenure as a Magisterial District Judge, I have handled over 70,000 cases which make me aware of the concerns of PA citizens.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? The most important quality in a jurist is to listen to the evidence presented at a hearing and to apply the law in a fair and impartial manner. As a jurist giving every citizen their day in Court and being fair and impartial is the only way democracy can continue to flourish in our county.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? I have recused myself from cases where police officers who appear regularly in front of me were either victims or defendants. I have also asked for a change in venue on cases where someone has run against me in a recent campaign or if someone called me at my home and tried to influence my decision on a case.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? On the bench, I make sure that my staff provides litigates information on their rights to appeal and phone numbers for legal representation through Neighborhood Legal Services or Lawyer Referral Services or the Public Defender’s Office. Additionally, we try to provide interpreters when requested by the litigants. Off the bench, every citizen should lobby for adequate funding for the Courts and Legal Service organizations.

Jules Mermelstein, Green

Occupation: Judge of Court of Common Pleas

Education: BA Political Science Temple U. Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa JD American University’s Washington College of Law, Cum Laude. M.Ed. in Secondary Social Studies at Arcadia University. Perfect 4.0

Qualifications: Proven record of integrity: 5 terms as township commissioner, no scandals; afterwards awarded medal for “Outstanding Citizen” Handled multiple cases before Superior Court. 2 decades teaching teens values in Sunday School. Taught government and US history at the college and high school level. Licensed PA lawyer for 37 years, with no disciplinary complaints.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? Integrity. The public needs confidence that decisions will be based on the law as applied to the particular facts of the case. Personal interest and bias must not even appear to be a consideration by the judge. The Pennsylvania justice system’s credibility has taken a hit. 3 Supreme Court justices have had to resign in disgrace, 2 Attorneys General have gone to jail, 2 judges sold juveniles to a private prison, and the Phila. DA was led away in handcuffs in fed. ct.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? I would recuse myself in any case in which a party, or their attorney, contributed any money to any of my political campaigns; if I had a financial or political interest in the outcome of the case; if I believed that I could not fairly and impartially decide a case or if, for some reason, it appears that I could not fairly do so. Even if I believed I could fairly decide a case, if there was an appearance that I could not, then I would recuse myself. Public confidence in our system is #1.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? I will grant petitions to waive court filing fees which would be an unreasonable burden. I will also decide all cases based on the principles of justice, without regard to how good or experienced the attorneys are representing the parties. Off the bench, I will volunteer to speak at law schools and at Bar Assoc. events promoting pro bono. I would be willing to advocate for more support for equal access. I will work closely with the PA Legal Aid Network with sponsorships for fellows and events.

Judge of the Commonwealth Court (10-year term; Vote for no more than two)

Ellen Ceisler, Democrat

Occupation: Labor Attorney

Education: BA, Political Science, Point Park University JD, Dickinson School of Law

Qualifications For over 20 years, I have worked as a labor attorney specializing in contract negotiations & arbitrations, workplace discrimination and general counsel to a multitude of labor unions across many different sectors. I have tried hundreds of cases in front of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? Impartiality. I firmly believe that our judges must be impartial in every case, regardless of who someone is or where they come from. As a judge, I will always remain impartial and fair.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? While I would have to make the determination on a case by case basis, I would seriously consider recusing myself in instances where I have either represented the litigants in front of me in the past, or feel as though there is an appearance of a conflict of interest.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? 11 As a judge on Commonwealth Court, I would work with my fellow judges to provide better access to services for pro se litigants. More and more courts are providing these services which allow individuals to represent themselves in situations where they do not need the assistance of an attorney. The Commonwealth Court should follow the direction of the lower courts in instituting these programs.

Irene M. Clark, Democrat

Occupation: Attorney at Law, Mediator

Education: 1982-Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania-B.S., 1988-CUNY Law School, J.D., 1999-McGregor School of Antioch University, M.A./Conflict Resolution

Qualifications: Judge-Pittsburgh Municipal Court-1993-2003; Public Interest Attorney preventing and addressing blighted and abandoned real estate, training and educating on laws we have, drafting of and advocating for laws we need, implementing new laws, representing inaugural PA land banks-2003-present.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? The capacity to be reflective is the most important quality in a jurist. It describes being thoughtful and contemplative. The teaching mantra of my public interest law school was “plan, do, reflect”. It instilled regular historical review of my place in and contributions to social justice as a lawyer and former judge. Just as the moon reflects only the light of the sun, a good jurist’s character, conduct and standards reflect only the highest values and aspirations of our system of democracy.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? I did not recuse myself from any case during ten years of judicial service on the Pittsburgh Municipal Court. Although I cannot anticipate circumstances under which I would recuse, I will always adhere to judicial conduct rules. I will continuously reflect on my impartiality from an objective point of view, readily disclose relevant information and be guided by Formal Advisory Opinion 2015-4 of the Judicial Ethics Committee of the PA Conference of State Trial Judges.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? My record demonstrates commitment to social justice as a public interest attorney and to quality court administration as a former judge. As an appellate judge, I will do my part to eliminate the ‘justice gap’. On the bench, I will review trial judges’ use of existing authority to appoint counsel for litigants. Off the bench, I will join and advance the state and national Civil Gideon movement and persevere for systems’ change needed for PA to achieve a record of excellence on access to justice.

Paul Lalley, Republicans

Education: Dickinson School of Law — J.D. 1996 University of Pennsylvania — B.A. 1993

Qualifications: I am highly recommended by the Allegheny County Bar Association for Commonwealth Court and have twice been recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association for the Commonwealth Court. I am a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court law clerk and a successful appellate litigator.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? Fairness to the parties is the most important quality in a judge. It means treating parties with courtesy, respect, patience, and an open-minded willingness to listen to their positions and allow them to have their say.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? I would recuse myself from any case where the Code of Judicial Conduct requires my recusal, or in any case where, after serious reflection, I would find that I could not give impartial consideration to a party’s cause for whatever reason.

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? Supporting the efforts of the ACBA and the PBA to ensure the provision of effective legal services to all members of our society, regardless of their means, is what I would continue to do if I am elected to the Commonwealth Court.

Christine Fizzano Cannon, Republican

Occupation: Judge, Court of Common Pleas

Education: Widener U. School of Law, J.D. cum laude 1994, University of Arizona, B.A. 1991

Qualifications: I was honored to be rated “Highly Recommended” by the Pa Bar Judicial Evaluation Comm. for a seat on the Commonwealth Court. My 22 years of experience as a judge, attorney, public official, community leader, and special prosecutor have uniquely prepared me for the position on this Court.

Answer to Questions:

What is the most important quality in a judge? I believe intellect, integrity, humility and temperament are important qualities for effective judges. As head of the court’s Civil Trial Section, I listen and consider all sides of each matter before me with impartiality. A courtroom experience is often a rare and difficult experience for litigants. With this in mind, I apply a high level of courtesy and patience in the courtroom, which I believe can positively affect the level of trust and comfort that a litigant has in our justice system.

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused yourself from a case? It is important not only that a judge approach each case with an open mind and complete impartiality, but also that a judge avoid even the appearance of impropriety or partiality, which could undermine the public’s confidence in the judiciary. I abide by the rules of judicial conduct which note that a “judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice? While I cannot advocate for or against specific legislation on the state level, I believe that everyone should have access to the justice system. I worked as a special prosecutor of child support enforcement and represented individuals who could not afford an attorney to see that delinquent child support obligors were brought into compliance. As a judge, I treat everyone I encounter fairly, impartially and equally, including litigants, attorneys, staff and the public

Judge of the Commonwealth Court (10-year term)

Jeffrey G. Trauger, Cross-filed

Education: Temple University School of Law

Occupation: Judge Court of Common Pleas since July 2016

Qualifications: Attorney in Bucks County for 28 years. Shareholder and former CEO for Grim, Biehn & Thatcher law offices, former Bucks County Bar Association President.

Answer to Question: My recusal would be based upon the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Conduct.In addition, under certain circumstances I would seek a written opinion from the State Trial Judge

 

Bucks County District Attorney (Four-year term)

Rich Scholer, Democrat

No response received

Matt Weintraub, Republican

DOB: October 1968

Education: 1986 William Tennent High School, 1990 Ursinus College, 1993 Temple Law School

Occupation: Bucks County District Attorney

Qualifications: Because I’ve given the public nearly a quarter century of exemplary service as a career prosecutor, I was chosen as Bucks County District Attorney by the Bucks County Common Pleas Judges in September, 2016.

As District Attorney, I’ve implemented and strengthened many countywide public safety and justice programs for Bucks County’s citizens. These include our DUI task force, out Community Accountability Program, our gun lock safety campaign, our local DNA database, Crimewatch: our public awareness resource, and many anti-drug initiatives. Having prosecuted many criminal trials to verdict, while continuing to personally prosecute several homicide cases a year, I actively lead and manage my incredible staff of 88 by example.

Bucks County Sheriff (Four-year term)

Milt Warrell, Democrat

Edward “Duke” Donnelly, Republican

Hometown: Richboro

DOB: September 1942

Education: Master’s Degree – Business Administration Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science Bachelor Degree – Secondary Education, Temple University Occupation: Elected Sheriff, County of Bucks since 2003

Qualifications: I have training, experience and expertise in various levels of law enforcement including leadership position. This has been an asset in dealing with the Sheriff’s Office.

As Sheriff, I started the Accreditation process. Required 200 standards and procedures by Police Chiefs’ Accreditation team. Certified 2013 and recertification 2016 and will continue this as long as I am Sheriff. Recently, I instituted the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy for residents of Bucks County on information and insight in our Sheriff’s operation. Updating our computer system with barcode and scanning Sheriff’s office paperwork. I will continue to uphold professionalism and integrity of this office.

Bucks County Prothonotary (Four-year term)

Judi Reiss, Democrat

Hometown: Yardley

DOB: 1949

Education: M.Ed with honors, UGA; BBA in Marketing Management, UGA

Occupation: Lower Makefield Township Supervisor

Qualifications: Working for a law firm and the LMT, I learned the importance of efficient access to court papers. Those needing court orders, an empathetic staff is important to provide a better experience. I can improve that service.

The priority of the Prothonotary is to provide efficient service to those in need of the documents which the office is required to maintain. The Prothonotary records all official documents and is required to insure that these documents are available in a timely manner. Many needing the resources of the Prothonotary have difficult issues requiring expedient and empathetic service. The public that requires these documents deserves an office which provides expert and respectful service.

Colleen Strunk, Republican

Hometown: New Hope

DOB: August 1961

Education: B.S., Business Administration

Occupation: First Deputy, Bucks County Register of Wills/Orphans’ Court

Qualifications: Two decades of management experience in public and private sectors; experience working in business and legal fields, including civil litigation; hands-on experience implementing new policies and procedures for County office to increase accessibility and lower costs.

Having served the public for almost 10 years in the Office of Register of Wills/Orphans’ Court of Bucks County, I understand how county government can and should work efficiently and to best serve the public, and have implemented policies that do so. I have also been a small business owner, and will bring to the Office of Prothonotary the same work ethic and commitment to customer service that makes any business successful.

Bucks County Recorder of Deeds (Four-year term)

Robin Robinson, Democrat

Hometown: Doylestown

DOB: March 1954

Education: BS Degree from San Diego State University

Occupation: Administration Assistant to Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia Qualifications: Real-estate background, Title Company experience and expertise in management and customer service.

Before I was a real-estate agent, I worked for Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. I went through executive training programs and managed top departments in top stores. I know how people in Bucks County should be treated. I have been Commissioner Marseglia’s assistant for 9 years. I have answered or returned every call. I have given our constituents the best service possible. I will bring that service and professionalism to the office.

Joseph Szafran Jr., Republican

No response received

Bucks County Controller (Four-year term)

Neale Dougherty, Democrat

Hometown: Solebury

DOB: February 1968

Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A. Occupation: Commercial Insurance Consultant Qualifications: President of the New Hope-Solebury School Board, Chair of the Finance Committee

As President of a school board, and chair of its Finance Committee, I have a record of ensuring accountability to all taxpayers and making the district’s financial affairs fully transparent. It is critical that all Bucks residents have confidence in the supervision and control over the county’s financial activities. As the final, independent check on all fiscal affairs of county government, as well as the independently elected officers and courts, it is imperative that the Controller provides a clear, unambiguous process and helps deliver clean

Michael J. Gallagher, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: September 1972

Education: DeSales University Occupation: Controller, County of Bucks

Qualifications: With over 20 years of experience in technology with a financial specialty, mixed with my 8+ years in township leadership, I have a unique skillset to improve county government and guard taxpayer dollars.

My priority is to make government more efficient, less expensive and more transparent, and I have done so since becoming Controller less than a year ago. By utilizing my experience in finance and technology, I have implemented advances in scanning, purchasing and audits to help identify savings. I am placing more financial information online for public review than ever before. While I am – and always will be – a strong fiscal watchdog for taxpayers, I believe that public input is vital.

Newtown Borough Mayor (Four-year term)

Mike Sellers, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: Aug-1951

Education: Widener University, JD; LaSalle University, B.A.

Occupation: Attorney

Qualifications: Boro Council Member-4 years; Chair/Member Boro Planning Commission; Chair/Member Boro Environment Advisory Council; Solicitor for Borough and Township governments; State Street law practice since 1981; 15 year resident of Newtown Boro

Answer to question: Plan for a future business district with the Steepleview Development; Work to preserve historic properties in a changing town; Maintain a professional police department/improve information to the public; Open government; Improve traffic and pedestrian safety.

Charles F. Swartz III, Republican

No response received

Newtown Borough Tax Collector (Four-year term)

Regina Gairo, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: March 1982

Education: Bachelor’s of Science from Philadelphia University

Occupation: Intake and Assessment Coordinator for a local non-profit. I complete comprehensive needs based assessments for families in Bucks County experiencing homelessness and maintain our waiting lists.

Qualifications: My position with BCHG requires daily interfacing with an online data management system. Additionally my work requires organization and communication skills.

The Office of Tax Collector needs to offer more support to its constituency. I would like to offer more information and actions on the website. I will be more accessible to Newtown Borough residents. I will bring my skills in office leadership and efficiency to the position. My years in social services has motivated me to continue in the public service sector. It has given me a strong ethical and moral compass.

Judy S. Musto, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: December 1963

Education: BS Engineering & Management

Occupation: Newtown Borough Secretary and Tax Collector

Qualifications: I have served Newtown Borough as an elected Tax Collector for 10 years. Given my experience, I believe I have earned the trust of my community to continue performing these important fiscal duties. I also meet the Act 48 requirements of a Qualified Tax Collector

Newtown Borough Council 1st Ward (Four-year term; Vote for no more than two)

Nicole Rodowicz, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: May 1979

Education: B.S. in Business Administration, University of Pittsburgh

Occupation: Serves on Newtown Borough Recreation Board currently as the liaison. On February 8, 2017 she was appointed unanimously to Newtown Borough Council.

Qualifications: Volunteers in all aspects of the Borough Community.

In Newtown Borough, as we progress, we need to keep our streets safe, so that visitors and residents can walk freely around town. No one should feel unsafe while walking and people visiting our town need to respect our small streets. I propose that we work closely with police, start a walking safety event that teaches kids how to always cross at crosswalks and at the same time bring awareness to the community.

Marvin Cohen, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: December 1954

Education: Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco Occupation: Medical Researcher

Qualifications: Current member of Newtown Borough Zoning Hearing Board

It is critical that the livability of Newtown Borough be retained and improved. I will promote the local business community because the ability for us, and particularly our pre-driving children, to walk downtown for a meal, a movie, or an item or service, is a great benefit in Newtown. I will support new development that is responsible and 104 support existing homeowners having the flexibility to renovate their homes to modern lifestyle while retaining Newtown’s character.

Paul Salvatore, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: July 1956

Education: Bucks County Community College

Occupation: Realtor/employee DRJBC

Qualifications: Commercial and residential realtor with background in land development, former member of planning commission, traffic/parking committee, 34 year member of Newtown Rotary, past president Newtown Business Association, vice president Bucks County Housing Development Corporation, community volunteer for Arbor Day, Library Run and many other community events

Keeping the taxes low while maintaining police, fire, road services and our quality of life. Newtown Borough is in the midst of the largest development project in its history, the financial benefits from this development through transfer tax and earned income tax can go a long way to maintain these services. With my qualifications and over 30 years of service to Newtown community, I would be honored to be elected to serve on Newtown Borough Council.

Newtown Borough Council 2nd Ward (Four-year term)

Julia W. Woldorf, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: March 1950

Education: B.A., Swarthmore College; PT Certificate and Master of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

Occupation: Physical Therapist Qualifications: Newtown Borough Council Member 2008-2011, Council President 2010-2011; member and past chair of Newtown Borough’s Environmental Advisory Council; Project Coordinator Newtown Common and Creek Restoration Project; President of non-profit Newtown Creek Coalition.

Newtown Borough lacks a good plan for the future. I intend to be instrumental in developing a new vision, with planning focused on public and infrastructure improvements, and will encourage residents and business owners to participate and share their ideas. I will propose ways to enhance our business district protect our historic resources and add more parks. With a plan for potential improvements, we will be ready when opportunities arise or new funding becomes available.

Christopher Gusty, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: September 1960

Education: BE Chemical Engineering, Manhattan College; MBA Finance, LaSalle University

Occupation: General Manager, Associated Asphalt–Mid Atlantic Region Qualifications: 25-year resident connected to the community with strong business background and four years on Council serving on finance, streets/roads, and personnel committees.

The number one issue facing Newtown Borough is controlling taxes while maintaining the quality of services our residents expect their elected officials to deliver. We must also maintain our infrastructure. This is done through effect management of Newtown Borough expenses. I’ve addressed this during the three plus years I have been serving on Borough Council by understanding our income and expenses and what we can do to best manage those within our control.

Newtown Township Supervisor (Two-year term)

John Mack, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: February 1947

Education: Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons, MS, MPhil (Biochemistry); New York Institute of Technology, MA (Communications); Franklin & Marshall College, BA (Chemistry)

Occupation: Publisher of Pharmaceutical Industry Newsletter

Qualifications: As a board member of the Country Bend Home Owners Association, I led the effort for major capital improvements without increasing member fees and I increased governing transparency and homeowner participation through technology.

Overdevelopment coupled with a crumbling infrastructure (e.g., roads, parks, trails) and financial problems threaten the quality of life in Newtown. We need dedicated leadership willing to take a fresh approach to solve these problems by putting the best interest of the residents first.

Gerry Couch, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: Not given

Education: Bachelors Degree, Business Admin Occupation: Financial Advisor

Qualifications: 20 years as Senior Executive, 6 years in Financial Services, Decorated Viet Nam Vet. Active in many civic organizations: Newtown Business, Newtown Merchants Group, Newtown Economic Development. Father of two, Grandfather of three, husband of one.

I believe local government must remain focused on local issues. As Supervisor, I will continue to do so. I will use my financial acumen to deliver strong fiscal oversight for taxpayers, and my business experience to attract new jobs, to preserving our community’s character, my focus is to do what is best for my hometown. I am thankful for teammates, Laure Gensbauer and Jerry Festa—who will always work the same way. Vote Republican Team!

Newtown Township Supervisor (Six-year term; Vote for no more than two)

Phil Calabro, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: February 1958

Education: BA in Public Administration, Trenton State College (College of NJ) Occupation: Marketing/Sales

Qualifications: 2-term Township Supervisor

Maintaining the integrity of Newtown Township by making sure that builders and business owners follow our zoning and adhere to their contracts. We can be business friendly and enforce the rules; making it fair for all those doing business in the township. Transparency should be a priority when it comes to letting the people know what is going on in their township. Our duty is to keep a high quality of life and great services for our residents while being fiscally responsible.

Linda Bobrin, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: November 1960

Education: J.D. degree from the Widener School of Law 107

Occupation: I have maintained my own practice for the past 21 years. Qualifications: I am responsible for the legal and financial success of my business and spend time counseling and advocating for my clients, skills I can transfer to public service.

The number one issue is balancing community growth and the unique historic charm of the township. Local government has the obligation to be responsive to the community, maintain infrastructure and financial integrity in the township. I work with administrative agencies on state and federal levels, and have the skills needed in a township supervisor. Competence, integrity and transparency are the attributes that drive my business and are the assets required in a successful public servant.

Laure Gensbauer, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: Oct-1970

Education: Kutztown University, Bucks County Community College & Council Rock High School

Occupation: Former small business owner, current manager, local business

Qualifications: Lifelong resident and community volunteer who understands the community and the concerns of residents; business professional with skills to address them.

Answer to question: Newtown Township is my hometown and I want to ensure that we govern today – and plan for the future – to address our challenges and build upon the qualities that make our community so appealing. I refuse to play partisan politics and will focus on “hometown issues” that help residents: controlling taxes and debt, controlling development, addressing the drug epidemic. I will also make listening to all residents a focal point of government.

Jerry Festa, Republican

Hometown: Newtown Township

DOB: Apr-1956

Education: BS in Electrical Engineering, Drexel University; Continuing MBA Credit Courses

Occupation: Technical Executive and business professional

Qualifications: I have proven service to Newtown as a member of the Planning Commission, and bring to the table a unique professional background giving me varied skills needed to better manage township government.

Answer to question: What I think are the issues is much less important than what residents think. That’s why I have knocked on doors across Newtown to hear their concerns. It is clear residents want two things. First, no partisan politics. Second, a township government that addresses local issues: controlling taxes, helping attract new employers, and preserving the character of our community by controlling development. As their Supervisor, these are the things I will focus on.

Newtown Township Tax Collector (Four-year term)

Alisa Monteiro, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: July 1968

Education: Bachelor’s Degree from Bloomsburg University and an MBA in Finance from LaSalle University

Occupation: Director of Project Management, overseeing clinical research trials in oncology for PPD, Inc.

Qualifications: Include managing competing priorities and being responsible for multiple million dollar accounts for biotech clients.

The most important issue as tax collector will be to simplify and improve the methods of payment available to taxpayers to pay their taxes. Maximizing convenience will help ensure payments are collected in a cost-effect and timely manner. My experience in project management and having an MBA in finance give me the expertise to deliver on this priority.

Tammy L. Sutton, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: Not given Education: Graduate, Central Bucks High School East

Occupation: Municipal Tax Collector

Qualifications: Seventeen years of experience as current Tax Collector. Certified Pennsylvania Qualified Municipal Collector for state of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Tax Collectors Association. Ten years holding positions as Office Manager and accounts payable and receivable staff.

As your Tax Collector, providing accurate and reliable service has always been the first priority I address when operating the tax office. There are a multitude of functions and processes that play a part in providing accurate and reliable service. From compliance with 108 tax collection law and outstanding relationships with the taxing authorities, to offering online payment options, email reminders and automated payment processing to improve convenience and efficiency. Service is my first priority.

Newtown Township Auditor (Six-year term)

Dennis Fisher, Democrat

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: November 1953

Education: Master of Music (Music Therapy), University of Miami. Post graduate studies in Healthcare Administration, Penn State

Occupation: Program Director, The Behavioral Health Training Education Network, Philadelphia

Qualifications: Treasurer of a regional Mental Health non-profit with responsibility to report on a $10 million budget similar in size and scope of Newtown Township

As it pertains to the position of Auditor in Newtown Township, I believe it is important to have bipartisan oversight of the governing body’s financial operations. Such accountability is critical in these times to prevent conflicts of interest and promote fiscal responsibility. All citizens of Newtown Township should have representation in this oversight.

Alexandra Gallagher, Republican

Hometown: Newtown

DOB: Mar-1962

Education: Bachelor of Science/Business Administration – Temple University (now Fox School of Business)

Occupation: Digital Education Technology Specialist/Providing low cost digital learning systems to colleges and universities

Qualifications: 8 years of experience as Newtown Township auditor. Several semesters of accounting as required for degree.

Answer to question: The auditor position does not influence policy; the sole purpose is to be a detail oriented watchdog that oversees the spending of OTHER townships (not the  township where you are elected). Therefore the most important issue from the Auditor point of view is to offer continued excellence in overseeing fiscal responsibility for our neighboring townships.

Upper Makefield Supervisor (Six-year term; Vote for no more than two)

Kris Ballerini, Democrat

Hometown: Upper Makefield

DOB: July 1966

Education: Santa Fe College, Gainesville FL (English)

Occupation: Actress, VO Artist 3

Qualifications: Twenty year Bucks County resident, Testified successfully for HB1264, Victims Advocate for ten years, PA Speakers Bureau, Produced PSA series for Homeless issue in Bucks County

The largest issue facing our community is the threat of an alternate route to the Penn East Pipeline. This is an issue where leadership is critical. We will have only one opportunity to make sure this pipeline is done correctly with no impact on the quality of our water, our land, and our way of life. I will actively work toward joining with our surrounding municipalities and the county of Bucks to make sure environmental evaluations are done on the route and the alternative route.

Edward J Ford, Republican

No response received

Daniel F Rattigan, Republican

No response received

Upper Makefield Tax Collector (Four-year term)

Tom Merchant, Democrat

Hometown: Washington’s Crossing

DOB: Not given

Education: Graduate degree in Chemistry, Law Degree from Temple University

Occupation: Business Consultant to pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Former Vice-President of corporate legal group and Vice-President of internal audit group. Former Chairman of Board of condominium association.

Qualifications: My legal and audit background and training make me particularly well suited for this position.

My top priority will be to apply the learning I obtained as a corporate lawyer and internal auditor executive to assure that we use the latest modern 140 technology to run the office smoothly and efficiently. Our residents deserve fast, efficient, and friendly service.

Nicholas J Ettorre, Republican

Hometown: Washington Crossing

DOB: Not given

Education: St. Joseph’s University, B.S. Accounting Occupation: Tax collector – Upper Makefield Township

Qualifications: 16 years as current Tax Collector. Qualified Tax Collector with extra courses for current updates and changes.

Continue to strive for more land preservation to keep the community as open as possible. Look for reasonable commercial and retail development where possible. Work with the residents to give them the continued services they have requested over the years.

Upper Makefield Auditor (Six-year term)

Carolyn Shaw Dorph,
Hometown: Washington Crossing

DOB: 1/58

Education: B.S., Cornell University, Business Management

Occupation: Experienced financial and management consultant

Qualifications: 3 years, Financial Consultant in government finance; 2 years, Management Consultant with major accounting firm; 7 yrs, Field Examiner, National Labor Relations Board, investigating unfair labor practices, conducting hearings, and managing representation elections.

Answer to question: I believe that Upper Makefield Township needs to address issues involving rapid population growth, such as open space preservation, residential and commercial development, and increasing demand for municipal services. The role of Township Auditor is critical to assure that financial practices and reporting provide appropriate controls and transparency into government operations. This is even more critical as the township tackles these complex issues.

Timothy J Duffy, Republican

No Response Received

Wrightstown Supervisor (Six-year term)

Robert Lloyd, Republican

Hometown: Wrightstown

DOB: April 1964

Education: BS Electrical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; MS Computer and Software Engineering, Widener University

Occupation: Manager, Telecommunications

Qualifications: 12 years experience as Wrightstown Township Supervisor, 4 years Wrightstown Township Planning Commission and Newtown Area Joint Planning Commission

Most residents of Wrightstown Township chose to live here because of it’s rural beauty and because it is a safe, quiet place to live. The board has worked hard during my first two terms to maintain Wrightstown’s rural nature. We have used the municipal planning process and our zoning laws to manage development and to preserve open space. We also maintain a focus on public safety at all times.

Wrightstown Tax Collector (Four-year term)

Greg Soto, Republican

No response received

Wrightstown Auditor (Six-year term)

David DelBianco, Republican

No response received

The League of Women Voters of Bucks County put together the following information on candidates. 


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