London, Maisano square off for County Treasurer seat
10/31/2017 11:52AM ● Published by Richard Gaw
If there is a proverbial elephant in the room in the race for Chester County Treasurer, it is not so much seen in its candidates, but in county history, and it's a fact that Republican Jack London and Democrat Dr. Patricia Maisano know very well.
The fact is this: Since Chester County began in 1799, the job of County Treasurer has belonged to a Republican. The wind of the Republican Party in Chester County may be on London's back, but he is being challenged by a candidate who wants to increase the transparency of the County Treasury and share its budgets, its spreadsheets and its expenditures with Chester County residents. As this race comes down to Nov. 7, two candidates with different agendas vie for the future direction of the seat they hope to occupy.
Republican, President and Chief Executive Officer of London Financial Group, lives in West Grove with his wife and daughter
At the height of his 2016 campaign to defeat incumbent Andy Dinniman for the 19th District seat in the State Senate, Jack London was walking down Market Street in West Chester with Val DiGiorgio, then chairman of the Republican Committee for Chester County, when a passenger in a passing vehicle rolled down his window and said, "Jack London! We're voting for you! Go, Jack!"
London was on the top of the political world. He was polling ahead of Dinniman at the time. Contributions to his campaign were rolling in. He knocked on 21,000 doors. He was on TV and billboards. DiGiorgio told the Chester County Press that he felt the Committee was courting a rock star.
On Nov. 8, 2016 Dinniman was elected to another term in the Senate, but the loss did not devastate London. Instead, it reinvigorated his need to get back in the political fray.
"Winners don't always win, but they never quit," he said. "I finally found what I was put on this earth to do, which is to be involved in politics. This is what I was built for. Although we have some great leaders in this county, we need a new phase and a new benchmark of leadership. Of all the things I've ever done and the accomplishments I've made, this gave me the most fulfillment of anything. And I didn't even win."
If elected, London said that the bulk of his term as County Treasurer will be about finding and fixing any leaky holes of finances, budgets and allocations, but according to London, the holes are not in the County's coffers; they're in the State's. If elected, he wants to address the state's budget, 25 percent of which goes toward education, but 80 percent of that figure is wrapped up in the state's $70 billion pension program. It's not fair to the everyday taxpayer, he said.
"As a liability continues to increase, the increase in the budget can't keep pace," he said, "so less money goes to the school districts, and when less money is allocated toward education, the state comes to the taxpayer with a need to raise taxes."
As he runs for County Treasurer, much of London's campaign literature shows him standing beside fellow Republicans -- County Controller Norman McQueen, Clerk of Courts Robin Marcello and Coroner Dr. Gordon Eck. The message to voters suggests that power lay in party, one that has essentially pulled the levers and strings of county business for the past 200 years.
To London, however, his campaign is not about maintaining the status quo or toeing the party line, but finding the best leader for the job.
"I am by far the most qualified candidate between the two of us," said London, who has 20 years in financial management experience as President and Chief Executive Officer of London Financial Group. "I want to make this office run as productively as it can, and I want to save the taxpayers as much money as I can. It's a stepping stone process. Hopefully, I will do a great job, and if the people eventually think that I should take on a bigger role down the road, then I will. I just want to serve."
To learn more about Jack London, go to Facebook: Jack London for County Treasurer.
Dr. Patricia Maisano
Democrat, business Founder and Chief Information Officer of IKOR International Inc., lives in Kennett Township with her husband, Dan
At nearly every meeting hall and gathering Dr. Patricia Maisano has spoken at during her campaign for County Treasurer, there is a moment when she asks the audience if they know what their county's budget is. She then asks for a show of hands of those who know how their tax money is being spent at the county level.
"I have never seen anyone raise their hand," she said.
Running on a campaign of transparency, trust and integrity, Maisano wants to open the doors of a county department that she believes has been run in secrecy. If elected, she plans to create an easy access website that provides a full disclosure of the county books, including the county's budget and balance sheets, and a list of approved county projects and what they will cost.
"These are the three components I've lived my life on," she said. "We need to do the right thing, because it's the right thing to do. Someone has to start that ball rolling. Someone has to do it and not be afraid. We have a budget, and people have a right to know what their budget is, and what the balance sheets look like."
Maisano said that her education and professional background creates a perfect dovetail with the duties of County Treasurer. A former registered nurse with a Ph.D. in Health Sciences, Maisano is the founder and CIO of IKOR International Inc., a for-profit company that provides patient advocacy and professional guardianship services to the profoundly disabled and seniors. Begun in Chester County 18 years ago, IKOR has grown to 70 offices in 20 states.
"All nurses have a natural sense of compassion, a feeling of helping other people to fashion the lives they wish to have," she said. "Our work with seniors and the disabled has been an incredible journey of giving people the ability to be heard, in a society that doesn't listen to those two groups of people.
"There is a whole segment of Chester County residents who have never had their voice heard. Since 1799, this county has been run strictly by the Republican Party, so I think it's about time that we allow other people to be heard, and hear what they're looking for in county offices."
In addition to increasing transparency, Maisano, if elected, will look for ways to eliminate what she feels is the county's "very unnecessary" use of vendors who are based outside the county, a practice she feels funnels revenue away from the county. She will also seek to examine -- and reduce -- the county's debt level.
"The debt level in the county has gone up and up and up," she said. "We are $62 million in debt, in the third richest county in this country. I am a person of logic. Help me understand why that is so. How did we get here? If the Republicans have that answer, bring it forward. Share it with the people. That's what I am aiming for.
"I am not running against Republicans," Maisano added. "I am running for the people. Everyone in this county needs to have the ability to have their voice heard. I don't want to fight Republicans. There's too much anger, and it's dividing us. We can help to change that by picking ability over party, and compassion and dedication for the job over party."
To learn more about Dr. Patricia Maisano, visit www.maisano4treasurer.com.