Op/Ed: Keep Chester County moving forward

By Charlotte Valyo, Chair, Chester County Democratic Committee

Charlotte Valyo

While Congressional and Presidential elections usually get the most attention and the highest voter turnout, local elections are where voters can truly have the most impact on their communities. These elections have traditionally been defined by local issues — roads, schools, land preservation, and local taxes, yet in this election cycle Republicans are attempting to bring national issues into our County to get their voters to forget about all the progress that has been achieved since Democrats took over the Row Offices and so many municipal offices.

If this wasn’t bad enough, Republicans have crossed a line that seemed like a third-rail in past years — they are trying to politicize our schools. The disinformation campaign driven by Fox News and their right wing dark money allies has sought to frighten parents, pitting them against each other, and against the dedicated volunteers who serve on School Boards. From playing on racial tensions to book banning to shaming LGBTQ+ students, Republicans have sought to make students the latest pawns in their culture wars. And while this might be expected by Republicans in Texas and Florida, it is happening right here in Chester County, led by the Chester County Republican Committee.

While Republicans seek to whitewash history and turn our schools into something out of the dystopian novel “1984,” the Chester County Democrats are supporting candidates who believe in science, facts, and keeping politics out of the school board. From Oxford to Owen J Roberts, Coatesville to Phoenixville, we have candidates who believe in putting students first, who want to keep our schools open and safe, and who want to continue to make Chester County’s schools some of the best in the nation.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Republicans had a stranglehold on our County government for generations. From reconstruction until the destruction of the Republican party under Donald Trump, an “R” next to your name nearly ensured one victory in Chester County. But times have changed and voters have seen what happens when you put qualified, competent leaders in office.

Voters in Chester County have seen how Margaret Reif has streamlined processes in the Country Controller’s office increasing transparency and saving taxpayer dollars. They’ve seen how Patricia Maisano has spent the last 4 years rebuilding a functional and effective Treasurer’s office after more than 8 years of Republican neglect. This has resulted in huge wins for taxpayers, including auditing some of the largest businesses in Chester County to ensure they pay their fair share.

And while our Clerk of Courts, Yolanda Van de Krol, has also saved taxpayers by making the office more efficient, she has brought our justice system into the 21st century by implementing e-filing and other technological improvements. These changes not only improve the accuracy of records, but ensure fair trials for crime victims and defendants. The office of the Coroner has also seen vast improvements under Christina VandePol, who is now ready to hand-off this critical position to her deputy, Sophia Garcia-Jackson. Sophia has managed many important aspects of the Coroners office and led the streamlining of the office’s budget to enhance transparency. The contention that the coroner must be a physician who can identify infectious diseases, etc is baseless since once the coroner is called, it it rather late for diagnosis or treatment.

I know many have already voted by mail, and if you still have that ballot at home, be sure to bring it to a dropbox — it is too late to mail it in. For those who have not yet voted, do not be distracted by the Republican attempts to nationalize our local elections with distortions and disinformation. This election is about continuing to move Chester County forward. It is about ensuring we have the best schools, competent government officials, and judges who follow the law. This Tuesday, vote for the Democratic candidates and let’s keep moving forward together.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment