Combining a passion for activism with the desire to serve her community, Shannon Bearman is the Democratic candidate for commissioner in Ward 5. Shannon is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face off with incumbent Republican Commissioner Andy Lewis in November.
A former social worker and mother of two, Shannon’s progressive agenda includes the election of women to Haverford’s currently all-male commission. She notes that women comprise slightly more than half of all constituents in Haverford, so the current board “is not an accurate representation of the population.” Women, she says, “should have a say in what happens…They are generally under-represented and under-served.” In addition, Shannon believes diversity is key to a community’s success.
A member of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Shannon made news in October 2017 when she and other Sierra Club members met with former U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan to protest drilling in the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge. As a commissioner, she would make environmental reforms a high priority. She knows that concrete steps must now be taken to reach the township’s explicit goals of 100 percent clean renewable electricity by 2035 and to 100% renewable energy for heat and transportation by 2050. Failing to meet these goals “is not an option,” Shannon said.
Additionally, Shannon will seek out opportunities to speak with constituents and “find out what’s important to them.” She points to her 15-year career as a licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as a real asset when serving as commissioner. She will bring her training as a listener and problem-solver to her elected position, serving constituents who need practical assistance from the township. “I would always be kind and never judgmental. I’ve always helped people. It’s in my nature,” Shannon said.
As Ward 5’s commissioner, Shannon will address pedestrian safety issues. For example, motorists frequently ignore the stop sign at the intersection of Buck Lane and Haydock Lane She wants to find out whether a traffic cam or flashing sign would improve safety conditions.
Haverford has not been spared in the addiction epidemic, and Shannon has professional experience she can bring to public discussions of this issue. She served as a counselor at the Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia, caring for drug abuse victims directly off the street. As well, during her tenure as a team leader at Horizon House, Shannon ran a day program for patients experiencing both mental illness and substance use disorders. She has also been a longtime volunteer for Art in the Classroom, a program that trains parents to present comprehensive art education lessons in schools.
Shannon says she became an “accidental activist” following President Donald Trump’s election in 2016. It all began with a few social media posts in which Shannon aired her misgivings about a Trump presidency. Before she knew it, Shannon was circulating petitions and making phone calls. She is running for township commissioner, in part, because “it’s been empowering and gratifying to be a part of the change I want to see in the world.”
At the local level, Shannon became a Democratic committee person in 2017 and actively supported U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara in the 2018 election.
Nationally, Shannon regularly posts essays and videos on websites like Medium.com, where she addresses politics, domestic violence and other issues. In fact, she is presently co-writing a book on cyberstalking and domestic abuse – and her Twitter following has grown to over 38,000.
Shannon is part of the Blue Wave Crowdsource (#WaveCast), a Resistance group that vets and promotes Democratic candidates nationwide. She is also on Twitter’s “Team Pelosi.” The Team, Shannon explains, “amplifies Pelosi’s message and informs the public about what’s really going on behind the scenes.”
Shannon holds an undergraduate degree from Monmouth University and a Master’s in clinical social work from Temple University. She and her husband of 18 years, Todd Bearman, moved to Haverford Township from Vorhees, N.J. in 2013, attracted by the community’s diversity and walkability. They have a 14-year-old daughter attending Haverford High School, and a son enrolled in third grade at Coopertown Elementary School. “We all really love the area and the people,” says Shannon. She is running for Ward 5 commissioner to help make Haverford “the best it can be.”