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Chester County Press

Iacocca and Donze running for District Judge

10/31/2017 08:35AM ● By J. Chambless

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

Two candidates are vying to be District Judge in Kennett Square. Magisterial District Court 15-3-04 serves the residents of the Borough of Kennett Square, and Birmingham, East Marlborough, Kennett, Newlin, Pennsbury and Pocopson townships. It hears civil, criminal, traffic, and juvenile matters.

 Democrat Al Iacocca said, “Serving as this community's next District Judge is a natural progression of my commitment to the success of this community, and I would embrace the opportunity to further develop my role in the community. I have enjoyed being a part of this community for many years as a civic leader and volunteer, and it would be an honor to be given the chance to make a greater contribution by serving as its next Magisterial District Judge.”

Iacocca lives in East Marlborough Township with his wife, Mary, and three children. He currently runs a law practice in Willowdale, which he plans to close if elected. He's a Pennsylvania native who spent his childhood in Allentown and his teen years in Lansdale, but has also lived in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Delaware and Germany.

He graduated magna cum laude from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2001. He is admitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Bar, as well as the Federal District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania Bar, and has represented clients at local, county, and appellate courts in Pennsylvania, as well as in federal district court. He has also served as a Chester County arbitrator for the past five years, hearing many different civil matters filed with the Court of Common Pleas.

He is also a trained mediator, committed to working with individuals and businesses to resolve their disputes and legal matters. In addition to practicing law, he has experience in running a small contracting business, teaching elementary, high school, and college students, and staying home with his three children while his wife became a pathologist in Delaware.

He joined the Kennett YMCA Board of Directors, and founded a youth triathlon team and youth triathlon race to raise money for YMCA programs. He was also asked to serve on the Kennett Run Charities, Inc., Board of Directors as a representative of the Longwood Rotary Club. He then took on the task of being the race director for the event.

In addition to being a longtime coach and corporate sponsor for many youth sports and other activities, he served his school community as vice-president and president of the Hillendale PTO for several years, and has served as pro bono counsel to the current PTO board and one of its presidents. He also serves as a Boy Scout leader of a local troop.

“I was raised by two public servants who instilled in my sister and me the values of treating everyone equally, fairly, and consistently,” he said. “They further instilled in us the importance of empathizing with others who have struggled in life at times for one reason or another. Because of this, I hold fast to the belief that we can’t let bad decisions define us, but we do need to acknowledge and make amends for the mistakes we’ve made, and we owe it to our community to move forward in a positive and meaningful manner. I would aim to instill that concept in all who came into my courtroom, arming them with the opportunity and the tools to be a contributing member of the community."

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 Republican candidate Jane Donze also has a successful law practice which she will give up if elected.

“My campaign theme is 'Community. Experience. Justice.' I chose this because I believe it truly represents me and what we need in our next District Judge,” she said. “I have been an active member of this community for nearly a quarter century as a resident, taxpayer and volunteer. I am running to serve as a way to give back to the place that has meant so much to me and my family. I will bring more than 25 years experience practicing civil, criminal and family law -- including as a criminal prosecutor and as an appointed arbitrator hearing and deciding cases -- to our local court.”

Along with raising her children over the past 25 years, Donze is a former board member of the Domestic Abuse Project, where she worked to help victims of domestic and child abuse, and is a member of the East Marlborough Township Planning Commission.

She is a volunteer with groups like La Communidad Hispana and the Garage, and is a board member of the Chester County Art Association. She also has worked with the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, the Chester County Bar Association, URA Baseball and more.

A graduate of Boston University and the Widener School of Law, she is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Unites States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. She is a certified mediator and an appointed arbitrator in both Chester and Delaware County courts. She has run a private law firm for two decades. She and her husband, George, have two sons who both graduated from Unionville-Chadds Ford public schools.

Among her platform positions are that she will:

Make court more convenient for residents with extended office hours throughout the week;

Fight the drug epidemic by partnering with law enforcement, addiction treatment and prevention experts, and local residents;

Establish a Drug Court to help combat drug use, put drug users on a path to rehabilitation, and end the backlog of drug cases in the courts;

Interact with community members by spending time in schools, at civic associations, and with community groups, focusing on at-risk youth.

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