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Chester County Press

Spencer announces his candidacy on Kennett High School steps

02/21/2022 05:48PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Leon Spencer formally threw his hat into the ring as the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s 158th state Legislative District. 

Spencer, 71, a native of Kennett Square and former mayor of the borough, stood on the front steps of Kennett High School on Saturday morning and announced to a crowd of about 70 that he is seeking the seat. Spencer, a musician and community activist, has served on the Kennett School Board and borough council. He has also been honored as a Kennett High School “Legend.”

Accompanied by his campaign manager, former state Rep. Eric Roe, he took to the podium and addressed the crowd. Many of those in attendance held signs stating their support for Spencer.

In his short speech on that chilly morning, Spencer advocated achieving a society in which individuals with varying talents and interests work together to make life better for all, even if they have differences. 

He compared people using diverse talents with athletic teams and bands ending up with beautiful music and victories by combining the variations in instruments and field positions.

“People can’t agree on certain issues, but we must respect those issues and we must communicate,” he said.

Roe addressed that same topic, saying that, as a state representative, Spencer would work to overcome incivility in government.

Spencer lives in Kennett Square, a municipality that currently sits in Pennsylvania’s 160th Legislative District. That district is currently represented in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Republican Craig Williams, who will be running again this year to continue in that seat. However, the state is in the process of redistricting the borders and shapes of those districts to overcome the gerrymandering, a hot political issue. A revised plan, which is now in the courts according to Chester County Voter Services, would place Kennett Square in the 158th District – the district which Spencer is seeking to represent.

District 158 currently extends around but excludes Kennett Square, and is represented by Democrat Christina Sappey. Her office is just up Route 82 in Willowdale. The result of that shift would pit Spencer – pending his likely nomination – against incumbent Sappey in November’s general election.

Spencer has said if the court decision goes the other way – that is, if Kennett Square remains in the 160th, he would drop his candidacy.

Roe, who has been a longtime advocate for fair districting, said the state Supreme Court will likely find in favor of that change and will issue the announcement on March 9.

Spencer concluded his speech by requesting help from that crowd and belting out segments of the song, “Lean on Me.” That elicited chants of “We love Leon” from the crowd.