Pocopson supervisor candidate cites her DuPont background, bipartisan support as making her the best choice
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
POCOPSON — In a word, she said she feels she represents a certain degree of continuity for township voters.
Carol Haaf is seeking to become the second Democrat in recent years elected to the township Board of Supervisors — and hopes to replace the retiring Lauressa McNemar. She’s running against Ricki Stumpo, a newly-minted Republican, in the Nov. 8 election. Stumpo, a former Democrat, lost a write-in bid for the Democratic nomination in May to Haaf, but defeated planning commission member Steve Simonson for the GOP nod.
She’s not alone in feeling that she could pick up the work of the current board and continue without missing a beat: she’s been publicly endorsed not just by McNemar, a Democrat, but Republican supervisors Georgia Brutscher and Steve Conary, who say they like her business and managerial experience (she’s a retired DuPont executive).
Haaf, in turn, suggests that the current group of supervisors have done a good job in attacking the issues that face the township and have put in place a good plan for the coming years — preserving open space, fighting to maintain the essential character of the township all while keeping a tight reign on expenses.
“I think they’ve shown a great vision,” she said.
After retiring from DuPont about three years ago — and dealing with some family issues – she became increasingly active in township activities, joining the township’s Stream Team, which works to clean and maintain the township’s waterways. She’s also served as one of the township’s Democratic Committee members.
But with time and the energy to step up her efforts, Haaf said she feels she’d like to do more.
“I think it’s time to get out and make a contribution,” she said.
Her experience at DuPont, where she managed budgets of as large as $18 million — almost 20 times larger than that of the township’s — gives her a sense that she’d enter the job without a steep learning curve.
Still, there are things she hopes to work on if elected. She’s worried that beyond a small number of folks who attend meetings, most residents don’t have a sense of what is happening. Although there has been somewhat more media coverage of supervisor meetings of late, she said she is concerned about a lack of connection with residents. She’d like to see the township’s Web site get retooled to be more user-friendly — and look at whether social media, such as Facebook, should be used to increase dialog between residents and elected officials.
One other issue: she said she’d like to get moving on the renovation work on the Barnard House, slated to be the township’s new office/meeting site, as well as the home to the Kennett Underground Railway. Right now, the township is forced to spend money on upkeep and stabilization of the 19th century building — but severe cuts in available government grant money have stalled efforts to get the real work on the building underway.
“I think we have to get moving on the Barnard House,” she said, although she didn’t commit to any one funding source — admitting that finding a way to pay for the project would be the big challenge and it is an issue the current board has been working hard to overcome.
She emphasizes that supervisors have to be careful, though, in how they spend money. While there is a certain amount of wealth in the township, there are also residents who are far less well off and with the cost of virtually everything else going up, can’t easily weather a local tax increase.
“There’s a big differential in the distribution of wealth,” she said. “Sure, there are some folks with money. But not everyone does and we need to keep that in mind.”
Although becoming a township supervisor is a bit of a challenge, Haaf says she’s excited at the prospect, in part because the township has so many good people — especially those who are volunteers for the township’s various committees and commissions.