Mayor, council seat are only two contests in Pottstown
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.