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Chester County Press

Incumbents running for seats on Oxford Borough Council

05/02/2023 02:30PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Running for seats on Oxford Borough Council in the primary on May 16 are two republicans and two democrats who currently serve on the seven-member council.
William Fitzpatrick and Raul Juarez-Lara. Jr., who are both Republican candidates, and Kathryn Cloyd and Peggy Ann Russell, both Democrats, will be running together on a theme of “Unity for the Community.”  They hope that they can be an example to all that, when elected, one sets aside politics and works for the good of the entire community.
Fitzpatrick was unanimously approved to fill the vacancy left by Mary Higgins, whose term ends in January of 2024. 
Fitzpatrick said, “I am running for Borough Council because I want to support policies that will help Oxford grow responsibly.  Oxford has a lot of potential because of our location, beautiful downtown, and diverse population.  As a local teacher, I have a unique connection to the entire community, since I interact with students and their parents from all parts of the borough.” 
Juarez-Lara, Jr. is the first Hispanic, and youngest candidate, at 19, to ever serve on the Oxford Borough Council. Council unanimously approved a motion to appoint Juarez-Lara Jr. to Borough Council to fill the seat left vacant when Mary-Laura Buchner-Hulse resigned.
When asked why he is running, he said, “I am running for council to provide diversity on the council. I believe it’s important to have a Hispanic point of view when making decisions for the Borough, especially when a big part of our community is Hispanic. My goals are to keep Oxford moving forward, to make positive changes and create growth. I also want to be a positive voice for my Hispanic community. I hope to accomplish these goals.”
Peggy Ann Russell is running to fill an unexpired two-year term.  She is currently completing her last year of a second four-year term.  
When asked why she decided to run again, she stated, “There are a couple projects that are in the works that have been before Council and will be completed in the next two years.  I would like to continue to support the many efforts involved.”  
She admitted that she had not planned to run but with two new council members, Fitzpatrick and Juarez-Lara, Jr., bringing new energy to the Council as they step in to fill vacancies, she feels obligated to help them in their transition to their elected roles.  
She said that if she’s elected, “Some of my priorities are educational and recreational activities for youth. This is my first priority so that the youth do not become vulnerable. I am, also very concerned about pedestrian and sidewalk safety, especially the traffic intersection between the two large shopping centers in the Oxford area.”
Russell admitted that she has learned a lot about how slowly government works, and how limited government is in some areas. 
She said, “The recent grant for the Active Transportation Plan is the beginning of addressing the pedestrian and sidewalk safety issues.   The opening of the Oxford Area Regional Park on Locust Street is a step in the right direction in addressing the needs of the youth of the community, but that it is not enough. Much more work needs to be done to make the young people in our community feel a sense of ownership.”
She added, “One has to learn to take the ‘I’ out of your vocabulary and replace it with ‘we.’  Nothing we do or say is done as an individual, the Council speaks as a whole representing all residents and taxpayers of the Borough. My daily goal is to have the strength and courage to stand for what I believe is right and just, and to let the people lead me to an educated conclusion.  
“For all who have worked so hard with me over this term I say, ‘thankyYou!’”
Council President Cloyd, talked about her experiences on council.
“During my first term on council, I was able, with the help of regional partners, to initiate implementation of several environmental projects,” she said. “I also advocated on behalf of the borough for a Vision Partnership Program grant for the creation of our first Comprehensive Plan. I will work with fellow council members to implement the plan, which will address such issues as attainable housing, safer walking and biking, and economic development.”
She also emphasized, “I will continue to advocate for a more equitable way for the Borough to address its sidewalk issues, which have plagued the borough for years.”
Cloyd is also an active participant on a number of borough committees. 
She said, “We're doing good work to update our Subdivision and Land Development and the zoning ordinances. We are creating an Active Transportation Plan, evaluating and streamlining borough departments, and bridging the gap between borough government and our Latino community. These are just a few of the things I've been working on, and would like to continue with.”
She continued, “I also look forward to seeing more cooperation between the borough and the surrounding townships; there are a number of issues that can be addressed better together than alone, such as transportation, storm water and traffic. I've learned much during my time on council, and I think this knowledge would serve our community well over the next few years. We have seven members of council who work well together and get things done. I'm hopeful that we can all continue moving forward together. I love our town, and I feel excited about our future.”