Mayor, coun­cil seat are only two con­tests in Pottstown

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

POTTSTOWN » There are only two con­tested races in the bor­ough this year – for mayor and for the Fifth Ward coun­cil seat.

In the mayor’s race, Demo­crat Stephanie Hen­rick is chal­leng­ing in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Sharon Thomas, who has served two terms, although not con­sec­u­tively.

In the Fifth Ward, in­cum­bent Demo­crat Dan We­and, who is cur­rent bor­ough coun­cil pres­i­dent, is fac­ing off against Repub­li­can chal­lenger Jenifer Green.

In her can­di­date re­sponse, Hen­rick, 35, wrote she de­cided to run be­cause “I love Pottstown and I wanted to give back to the com­mu­nity.”

“In my ca­pac­ity as a lawyer and mem­ber of a pres­ti­gious Mont­gomery County law firm, I be­lieve my unique skill set will ben­e­fit Pottstown by en­abling me to serve as a me­di­a­tor be­tween the com­mu­nity and bor­ough coun­cil,” Hen­rick wrote. “My prob­lem-solv­ing skills will sup­port bor­ough coun­cil in strate­giz­ing so­lu­tions for the com­mu­nity.”

Hen­rick also wrote “I am very ac­tive with civic and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions, es­pe­cially the Pottstown Ro­tary, and was awarded a Paul Har­ris Fel­low­ship for my ded­i­ca­tion to many of Pottstown Ro­tary’s vol­un­teer ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing lit­er­acy, Adopt-a-High­way, Hal­loween Pa­rade, Per­son of the Year Event, Four Way Speech Con­test, and Com­mu­nity Tal­ent Show. I am also on the Board of Di­rec­tors of Pottstown Down­town Im­prove­ment District Author­ity (PDIDA).”

Her goal, she wrote, is to “unite the com­mu­nity, im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­vi­tal­iza­tion.”

Thomas, 56, was mayor from 2006 to 2010 and was elected to the post again four years ago.

In her re­sponse, Thomas wrote that she is “trained and pub­lished work­ing in re­search, ap­plied sci­en­tist in lab­o­ra­tory test­ing. SmithK­line Beecham Amer­i­can, Red Cross Na­tional Test­ing Labs sec­ondary pur­suits as Recre­ation Di­rec­tor Sanatoga.” She holds a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in bi­ol­ogy from the Univer­sity of the Sci­ences.

“There are yet un­fin­ished ac­tion points in my ten­ure as mayor,” Thomas wrote. “Know­ing the lay­out of the land and the peo­ple is a plus. I’ve been do­ing pub­lic ser­vice work since age 14. I’ve been able to work be­hind the scenes to pre­vent crime es­ca­la­tion just by speak­ing to peo­ple of­ten lin­ger­ing at crime scenes, or talk­ing to neigh­bors after­ward.”

Thomas added, “I was told by a for­mer can­di­date that I was un­wise run­ning for of­fice be­cause there were peo­ple say­ing Pottstown was the worst of the worse. I told them ‘that’s a good rea­son why I should run.’ This was the 2013 race where the county books to­taled me at 55 per­cent of the vote. Through this term my reach has in­creased Pottstown’s vis­i­bil­ity among the na­tion and in­ter­na­tion­ally. Th­ese en­gage­ments have not en­tirely been cast into the pub­lic do­main but are primed for peo­ple to con­sider Pottstown as a great place to have a home-based busi­ness, live, work wor­ship and add di­men­sions more to the de­vel­op­ing cul­ture of Pottstown.”

If re-elected, Thomas wrote, “I would have to say the un­fin­ished goals are re­lated to crime as it is, vi­o­lence as it re­lates to do­mes­tic abuse and a com­pre­hen­sive look at racial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. To­geth­er­ness is not al­ways unity.”

“As long as neg­a­tive in­cli­na­tions ex­ist I will con­tinue to work in the back­ground and ob­serve sys­tems dis­charg­ing in­equities and move to­wards an even play­ing field for all, not de­ter­mined by zip code, party af­fil­i­a­tion, re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tion, race, creed or color,” Thomas wrote.

In her can­di­date re­sponse, Green, 42, wrote that “I never held an elected of­fice po­si­tion, how­ever I am a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher who has been rec­og­nized for leadership, and has been awarded pro­mo­tions and bonuses for my leadership. I’m an ex-wife of an ex-Pottstown po­lice of­fi­cer, so I know of the struc­ture and treat­ment to the of­fi­cers, and town of­fi­cials.”

Green is a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teacher, with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in psy­chol­ogy; a mas­ter’s de­gree in spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion; cer­ti­fied to teach in grades K through 12 and plans to com­plete her prin­ci­pal’s cer­tifi­cate by June of next year.

She wrote that “I’m also a sin­gle mom rais­ing three teenage boys who have at­tended the Pottstown School District, since they were 4 years old. They are now in 7th, 9th, and 10th grades in the Pottstown school district. I am ac­tive in the com­mu­nity, and I am in touch with the real is­sues in this town, be­cause I lis­ten to my neigh­bors and con­stituents. Lis­ten­ing is the key to change.”

Green said she de­cided to run be­cause “I was tired of com­pla­cency be­ing the sta­tus quo in Pottstown. I’ve been a res­i­dent since March 2002, and taxes have gone up, home val­ues have gone down, rental proper- ties have in­creased, and po­lice as well as the bor­ough man­ager no longer live in town. Crime is up, and no one is vested in this town any­more. Busi­nesses need to flour­ish here, like Phoenixville, and bring in rev­enue. See­ing new restau­rants, mi­cro­brew­eries, winer­ies, BYOB places on and just off High Street, is what is needed to re­lieve the tax bur­den on home­own­ers.”

Asked name her most im­por­tant goal in the ques­tion­naire, Green cited sev­eral.

They i nclude: “Giv­ing tax breaks or cred­its to owner oc­cu­pied homes; giv­ing tax breaks or cred­its to new busi­nesses for first two years of be­ing in the bor­ough; so­lar pow­ered street lights and cam­eras at busy in­ter­sec­tions; get­ting raises to the paid fire­men who haven’t had one in over eight years; cut­ting bor­ough jobs that can be done by one or two peo­ple in­stead of six peo­ple; hir­ing part-time of­fi­cers to put on the streets, to de­crease the over­time pay­outs.

We­and, 67, has rep­re­sented Pottstown’s Fifth Ward for eight years, and is seek­ing four more.

In his can­di­date re­sponse, We­and wrote “I love Pottstown. I’ve lived and raised a fam­ily here since 1978. I know that Pottstown has a wealth of re­sources and as­sets that can be de­vel­oped to give all of us the bright­est fu­ture. For the last eight years on coun­cil I have been work­ing to lead Pottstown to that bright fu­ture. We are at­tract­ing new busi­nesses and em­ploy­ers. In 2016 we brought in over 1,000 new jobs. And our coun­cil was awarded the Eco­nomic Im­pact Award by the TriCounty Cham­ber of Com­merce. We worked with the Mont­gomery County District At­tor­ney to pro­vide cam­eras to im­prove our polic­ing ef­forts. I also pro­vide the best con­stituent ser­vice that I can.“

We­and is a busi­ness/en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant and has a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion and cer­ti­fied man­age­ment.

If re­elected, We­and wrote that his pri­or­ity would be to “con­tinue to at­tract new busi­nesses and em­ploy­ment to Pottstown.”

Can­di­dates in Pot tstown’s First, Third and Sev­enth wards are un­op­posed.

Elec­tion Day is Tues­day, Nov. 7.

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