Roe elected as County Commissioner11/15/2023 09:44AM ● By Richard Gaw
The political career of Eric Roe – who was once considered a rising star in the Chester County Republican Party and served as a state representative – is about to begin a brand new chapter in a brand new job.
In an election held on Nov. 7, the 36-year-old West Bradford Township resident and married father of four gathered 23.02 percent of the total voting for the three-member board – defeating his Republican opponent David C. Summer by a narrow margin of less than four percentage points. He will serve as the lone Republican Commissioner and will join Democrats Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell, who were reelected after earning 27.75 and 28.33 percent of the votes, respectively.
Roe will replace current Commissioner and fellow Republican Michelle Kichline as the minority representative on the board. Earlier in the year, Kichline announced that she will be stepping away from her post at the end of the year. He will be sworn into his new post in January.
“I am so grateful for the trust bestowed upon me by the voters of this great county,” Roe said in a press release issued on Nov. 8. “I will honor that trust by fighting for fiscal responsibility, safer communities, and access to hospitals and healthcare in Chester County. I have big shoes to fill, though. Commissioner Michelle Kichline is not just my mentor – she’s also my friend. I’m glad I could learn from her leadership over the past nine years.”
A former administrative analyst to Kichline, Roe rose in the ranks of the county’s Republican Party and at the age of 29, he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he quickly proved himself to be a progressive legislator and aisle-crosser in Harrisburg. During his two-year term, he voted for $60 million in grants to make Pennsylvania schools safer; co-sponsored anti-violence legislation that toughened firearms laws; voted to give more than $11 billion to public schools in the state; helped reform the state’s employee pension system; and appeared at more than one dozen town halls whose topics included property/school taxes, school violence and the elimination of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.
Working with Democrat Steve Samuelson, Roe sponsored House Bill 722 to establish an independent citizens commission to redistrict Congressional as well as State House and Senate districts.
After campaigning for a second term in 2018, Roe was one of several Republican lawmakers who ran into the first Blue Wave of a political change in Chester County that flipped several elections in favor of the Democrats. In the November election, he lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Christina Sappey by eight percentage points, and in a rematch with Sappey to regain his seat in the House in 2020, Roe lost the election by a narrow 485 votes.
As stated in his campaign literature, Roe looks to address several weighty issues in his new role as a commissioner. They include holding the line on tax increases; promoting fairness and market stability by ensuring that taxes remain fair and equitable; encouraging municipalities and conservation agencies to conserve open space, and steering development to existing boroughs and not rural areas; raising awareness for the livelihoods of those in the county’s agricultural industry; ensuring that the county’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Services receives adequate funding and staffing; ensuring that county’s elections are administered efficiently and accurately; and supporting the maintenance and redevelopment of county-owned bridges.
As a carry-over from his time as a state representative, Roe also pledges to support the creation of a citizen-led redistricting commission at the county level to create legislative district maps for Chester County that would then be submitted for consideration to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
“I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of my wife, children, extended family, volunteers, and supporters,” Roe added in his statement. “I knocked on thousands of doors this year, which was time spent away from my family. I got to meet thousands of voters at their doorsteps, but it came at the cost of time spent with my wife and four children. I’m so grateful for their patience with me. I’m glad it was worth it, and I thank God for this opportunity to serve my neighbors.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].