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Hicks faces Kimmel in East Marlborough race

10/20/2015 01:03PM ● Published by J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

At the Oct. 5 meeting of the East Marlborough Board of Supervisors, Christine Kimmel sat with the board, listening closely and getting a closeup of how the members interact.

Kimmel, a Republican, topped former supervisor Richard Hicks in the May primary, and both are seeking to fill a vacancy left by current board president Cuyler Walker, who has decided not to pursue re-election. Hicks is running as a Democrat.

Christine Kimmel

 Kimmel has worked closely with current supervisor John Sarro, who supported her campaign, and who sat next to her at the Oct. 5 meeting. Kimmel is the Republican party’s endorsed candidate for supervisor. She was a longtime member of the township's Planning Commission.

She has lived in East Marlborough Township and worked in Chester County for the past 18 years. She is an attorney with the West Chester law firm of Buckley, Brion, McGuire & Morris LLP. She has served as a member of the Unionville Regional Planning Commission, the Longwood Cooperative Planning Project, the Kennett Area Regional Planning Commission, and the Unionville Park Planning Commission.

“I have served on the Township Planning Commission for 12 years,” Kimmel said in an interview in May. “During that time, I have worked closely with the Board of Supervisors on many issues. As a zoning and land use attorney, I have appeared before many municipalities across Pennsylvania and I’ve seen how effective a well run township can be in improving the lives of its residents. I want to bring that experience to East Marlborough. I think the township is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, and I would like to serve the township in a greater capacity.”

Kimmel's position on the Planning Commission will be filled seamlessly, she said.

“Two members of the Planning Commission – Pat Montague and MaryNell Ferry -- have been serving as long or longer than me and will maintain continuity,” Kimmel said. “With their guidance and with the fresh perspectives offered by Charles Streitweiser and our newest member, Jane Donze, the Planning Commission will continue to give excellent input on development and planning issues.”

Kimmel said she has knowledge and skills that will help her in her position on the board.

“As a zoning, land use and municipal lawyer for almost 20 years, I understand the challenges faced by local governments, and how to balance competing interests,” she said. “Having served on state, regional and local boards, I understand the necessity of collaboration to solve problems. As a business lawyer, I know the importance of listening to, and working with, the business community to stimulate economic growth. As a partner in a law firm, I understand what it takes to make a payroll, pay the bills and stay within budget.

“The primary challenge facing East Marlborough, and most other townships, is how to provide essential services efficiently while keeping taxes low,” she said. “To do this requires leaders who are keenly sensitive to public needs and open to creative solutions. As I have been out visiting residents, many of them have expressed concerns about smart growth in the township. My background is particularly suited to address this. Other issues include funding emergency services and supporting the school district in maintaining excellence and keeping children safe.”

 Hicks, an East Marlborough supervisor for 12 years, said that among his concerns is “in regard to development in the area that is going unattended by the majority of our current Board of Supervisors. This proposed development will have a major impact not only on our area roads that already suffer disrepair, but on the infrastructure that would support it.

“There are continued plans in place to develop Kennett Borough and adjoining municipalities. Has anyone thought to ask how this will impact East Marlborough Township?” Hicks asked. “Where will the traffic go? The obvious answer is through the adjoining developments, or to continue through our country roads. These roads were not meant to carry the amount of traffic that will be generated from these developments, combined with pending development in East Marlborough Township. Another matter is the Old Fire Hall in Unionville, which the township recently purchased. Nothing has been done with this building, which could be a viable asset to the township if put to good use. And remember the bike path? What happened to that, and what was the final cost to the taxpayers?”

Hicks said, “I have been a resident of Chester County all of my life, living in East Marlborough for the last 50 years, and before that in West Marlborough Township. My family is firmly rooted in the area, and has been for more than a century, predominantly in the farming/agricultural industry. I believe strongly in the concept of preservation and the necessity of making responsible decisions. I was instilled with a strong sense of community involvement, and subsequently have been an active volunteer firefighter for the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company since 1970.

“I am well versed in codes regarding building, zoning, and municipal requirements. I have been employed as a Municipal Building Codes Official and Zoning Officer for over 20 years, and previous to that I managed my own contractor business. I believe my experience has provided me with a well-rounded basis for understanding what and how possible development may impact our taxpayers.

“I am in favor of development, as long as it is responsible development,” Hicks continued.

In September postings on his campaign website (www.democracy.com/RichHicks), Hicks wrote, “Open and transparent government is the best tool against corruption in government. I will work to make sure that our township promotes a culture of transparency in all that we do and utilize new technologies so that our decisions, our actions will be effective and our elected officials will be held accountable. That what every resident should expect and that what every resident deserves.

“Local government must use a long-range vision for local projects, while making sure that every dollar that is spent is necessary and accountable to the taxpayer,” Hicks added. “Partnering with our neighboring municipalities is key to building a stronger community and will allow us to share resources and reduce costs. I understand the importance of working with our neighbors because I served as President of the Chester County Association of Township Supervisors. I saw firsthand the value in working with our neighbors to improve everyone's community.”

For information about the Nov. 3 election, visit www.chesco.org/election.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.


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