Home Sweet Home: Chesco Dems buy long-time office

CCDC Secretary David Rhoads, Executive Committee Member Jim Salvas, Vice Chair Lani Frank, Chair Brian J. McGinnis, Treasurer Lisa Longo.

WEST CHESTER — For decades, the Chester County Democratic Committee longed to buy a permanent home — and now they don’t even have to pack up to get it done.

The county committee announced Saturday that it had reached agreement to purchase its long-time 37 S. High Street Headquarters.

“While the party has always maintained a year-round office in West Chester,” explained  CCDC Chairman Brian McGinnis, “we have never owned our headquarters. After searching the county for new space, we were pleased to be able to remain in the midst of West Chester’s vibrant downtown and county seat.”

After years of renting the space on High Street, Chester County Dems are finally homeowners. And, party officials say, the timing could not be more ideal as Chester County is home to one of the most active and rapidly growing Democratic organizations in Pennsylvania.

Philanthropist and 37 S. High Street owner Vivian Lasko turned over the keys to the historical building, built in 1893, at settlement on July 27. For the last 16 years, Chester County Democratic Committee (CCDC) ran its headquarters out of the building with approximately 800 SF of first floor office space. Lasko, widow to long-time West Chester businessman Oscar Lasko who died at age 96 earlier this year, recently put the building on the market, allowing the CCDC a right of first offer.

The CCDC, riding high on changing demographics and an increase in voter turnout, decided to put down roots this year, in anticipation of the November 2017 local elections and next year’s national and statewide races.

“This purchase is the result of the hard work and dedication of the members of the Chester County Democratic Committee,” added McGinnis. “I am very humbled to be their Chairman during these exciting times in county politics. We are moving forward with a ton of momentum!”

McGinnis notes that ballots in county and local elections are brimming with Democratic candidates, many for the very first time.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of local elections such as school board directors (ensuring that our school districts are solvent and promoting public education) and township supervisors (keeping our townships and boroughs safe places to live and raise a family),” wrote McGinnis earlier this month to his membership.

“Local elections matter. Our county-wide candidates will restore integrity, trust, and transparency to government, and our judicial candidates will represent the interests of people over the powerful.”

Election Day 2017 is Tuesday, November 7. There is good reason for optimism in the suburbs for Democrats, McGinnis said.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote after May’s primary, “In Chester County, where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton outperformed Republican Trump in November by more than 25,000 votes despite a GOP registration advantage, 18 percent of Democrats came out to vote on Tuesday, compared with just 10 percent four years ago.”

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