In Franklin Township, newly elected supervisors look toward the future
● By J. Chambless
The wave of Democratic wins on Nov. 5 reached far and wide across Chester County, including Franklin Township, where Democrats Mary McVeigh and David Gerstenhaber edged out Republicans Brent Van Lith and David Snyder for township supervisor positions.
Out of 3,158 total votes, McVeigh and Gerstenhaber took 28 percent (910 and 887 votes, respectively). Van Lith took 22 percent (696 votes) and Snyder took 21 percent (664 votes).
In an interview last week, Gerstenhaber looked back on the race and the results, first thanking the residents who were part of the historic Democratic victories across the region.
“It is truly amazing and humbling, the amount of support we have received in Franklin Township,” he said. “And while I certainly do not want to discount ‘the wave’ we saw in Chester County, Mary and I won by large margins against an incumbent Republican in a solidly Republican township. That’s more about our township, Democrats and Republicans, sending a message demanding a change rather than a result of any partisan trend.”
Gerstenhaber and McVeigh took their campaign directly to the doorsteps of Franklin Township residents, he said. “To get our message out, Mary and I had a simple strategy -- take our nonpartisan message and knock on every single door, Republican or Democrat or Independent. To help with that effort, we reached out and got the support of previous and current township supervisors from both parties. And we had a focused effort on staging the rollout of signs, flyers, and mailers to help support our message. By the end, we had our signs on Republican as well as Democrat lawns.”
In a township that has long been largely politically conservative, Gerstenhaber said his focus is on moving forward.
“I feel strongly that township politics should be nonpartisan and inclusive,” he said. “Mary and I ran on that platform, we won on that platform, and we will put that platform into practice. The best way to move the township forward is to have open and inclusive discussions.
“Currently, the biggest concern for the entire township is our out-of-date Comprehensive Plan,” Gerstenhaber continued. “We need to get that done and updated before we move forward. Also, we have several large parcels of land that are under threat from major development. We need to make sure that we manage those outcomes, so we don’t end up putting added and costly stress on our infrastructure and school system.
“For longer-term goals, I’m interested in working with our various business owners to help make Franklin Township a destination,” he added. “We have wonderful wineries and restaurants, and beautiful trails and parks, and all this tremendous potential. I want to work towards seeing that potential realized.”
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.