2019 County Commissioners race starts to take shape
By Steven Hoffman
The New Year is only a few days old, but the 2019 race for seats on the Chester County Board of Commissioners is already starting to take shape.
Kathi Cozzone, the incumbent Democrat on the board, announced over a month ago that she is seeking reelection. Cozzone is currently in her third term as a county commissioner. So far, three other Democrats—Josh Maxwell, Marian Moskowitz and Ginny Kerslake—have also announced that they are planning to run for county commissioner, setting the stage for what will certainly be an interesting Primary Election race on May, 21.
Republicans have traditionally dominated elections at the county level, including County Commissioner races, where the party has long held a two-to-one edge on the three-person Board of Commissioners. However, Democrats have been making big gains in the number of registered voters, and in 2016 they pulled off historic wins in three races for county row offices, suggesting that the time could be coming when Democrats take control of the Board of Commissioners.
Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline are the two Republican incumbents on the Board of Commissioners, and they are both experienced and well-known in the county. Kichline and Farrell have not announced that they are seeking reelection yet, but it would be surprising if the incumbents did not run for reelection.
Typically, two Democrats and two Republicans earn nominations in the primary election in the spring. Those four candidates then vie for three seats on the board of commissioners in the general election.
Maxwell, who has been the mayor of Downingtown Borough since 2010, is hoping to help usher in a new era in county politics, with a new generation of political leaders taking the lead. He holds a degree in Political Science from West Chester University and a masters degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
As the mayor of Downingtown, he signed seven straight balanced budgets without a tax increase.
“I also led the negotiation to bring the largest private and public investment in Downingtown history to our community in the form of a more than $200 million Amtrak/Septa and Chester Valley Trail Connection to Downingtown’s downtown,” he explained. “The project will increase the value of Downingtown by 17 percent.”
Moskowitz is a longtime Tredyffrin resident who previously ran for the 157th Legislative District seat in the State House. She is a successful businesswoman and community leader who has been a principal in numerous real estate projects. She has also been directly involved in day-to-day management and administration of businesses in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chester County Economic Development Council.
Kerslake is the founder of a grassroots coalition called West Whiteland Residents for Pipeline Safety, as well as a founding member of its umbrella coalition, DelChesco United for Pipeline Safety, which has a mission to protect the health, safety and welfare of communities faced with the Sunoco Pipeline/Energy Transfer Partners’ Mariner East pipeline project. The Chester County District Attorney's office recently opened a criminal investigation into Sunoco's Mariner East pipeline project to explore whether the project has caused sinkholes and contaminated water supplies.
Previously, Kerslake managed an analytical services laboratory specializing in soil analysis in Canada. She moved to Chester County with her husband and two sons in 2004. She also has a side business called Side Stitch by Ginny.