By Bill Rettew Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 05/17/17, 12:06 AM EDT
WEST CHESTER >> Voters overwhelmingly gave the nod for mayor on the Democratic ballot to Dianne Herrin in Tuesday’s Primary Election.
Herrin received 756 votes or 61 percent of the tally. Cassandra Jones was second with 286 votes, or 23 percent, and Kyle Hudson placed third with 182 votes, or almost 15 percent.
All election results are unofficial until verified by the county board of elections.
No Republican candidate was listed on the primary ballot. Herrin will likely run unopposed in November during the General Election, unless a write-in candidate surfaces from the Grand Old Party.
Herrin will likely succeed Mayor Jordan Norley, who was chosen by borough council to serve as interim mayor. He is completing the final eight months of Carolyn Comitta’s term and decided not to run for a full term. Comitta was elected as a Democratic state representative for the 156th Legislative District in 2016, after a lengthy recount.
Herrin is vice president of a local West Chester-based energy consulting firm. She has a history as an environmentalist, was the only mayoral candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club and worked on the borough’s climate action plan.
After hearing the news, Herrin said she was “absolutely ecstatic.”
“It was a clear decision that the voters made and I will do my best to honor them,” she said. “I have a record of getting things done and that will continue.”
Herrin said she will continue to build upon her environmental work. She cited a 2006 borough survey where residents listed the environment as their number-one priority.
“We all desire clean air, pure water and a healthy environment,” she said.
Herrin knocked on more than 750 doors since starting her campaign in February.
“We worked very hard to meet all the voters and listen to their concerns and what they love about West Chester,” she said. “I’ll work with the entire community.”
During the campaign, Herrin suggested that the borough might consider selling its two waste water treatment plants to a private party. She also favors installing solar energy panels at the Wyeth property.
She has championed the establishment of a food co-op grocery store in the borough and continued collaboration with the police department.
She is a big fan of Comitta’s work and would continue with many of the former mayor’s initiatives, including Town-Gown, a partnership between the borough and West Chester University.
Jones served two terms and was the only candidate with experience on borough council.
She suggested that the borough move the public works department and borough offices, including police, to a yet to be built structure at the Wyeth property. Expansion and renovations are slated for the current Borough Hall.
The Cheney University employee worked hard to improve the Melton Center, or the community center, and the surrounding neighborhood.
Hudson ran a spirited face-to-face campaign. The former waiter and businessman favored destigmatizing addiction. Through education and hiring, he proposed that the number of police officers speaking Spanish be increased.
“A community as one can accomplish anything,” was his campaign slogan. Hudson seeks to open the swimming pool at the Melton Center through donations.
Voters also cast ballots in other contested mayor races in Oxford and Phoenixville.
Republican Pam Benajamin will face off against sole Democratic candidate Lorraine Durnan Bell in Oxford. Republican Ronald Hershey collected 49 votes for 25 percent, and Benjamin received 131 votes for 68 percent.
In Phoenixville, Democratic candidate Peter Urscheler received 506 votes, or 63 percent, and Letitia M. Jones earned 240 votes, or 32 percent. Dave Gautreau ran unopposed on the Republican ballot.