Dan Weber for Ward 1
Dan Weber is running for commissioner in Ward 1 because he thinks constituents should have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who will “look to the future” when making decisions at the ward and township level. As commissioner, Dan would be guided by his core belief that “investing in the future is the best investment we can make.”
Dan, 36, is running unopposed in the primary election and will vie with incumbent Republican Commissioner Stephen D’Emilio in November.
Dan’s priorities include comprehensive support for improvements to the Haverford Township Free Library, including exploration of a site and facility that serves the community’s need for on-site parking and modern services. Change, even change that brings in improvements can be difficult. Dan advocates formation of a coalition to assist families affected by changes He is particularly concerned with changes that may impact child care availability now that the township has acquired Brookline School, current home to the privately-owned Family Support Services.
Dan believes the township’s focus on economic development benefits residents in numerous ways, and he wants to grow these efforts as a way to both financially support the township and ensure Haverford Township continues to be an attractive destination for young families to eat out, shop, and enjoy all the township has to offer.
The climate change resolution our current commissioners adopted last October has Dan’s full support. As a commission member, he would work to keep the township on track toward achieving those goals. “It’s great that it’s been passed,” he notes, “but I want to make sure that everything is followed through on.”
Dan was raised in northeast Philadelphia, where his father worked two bartending jobs and his mother was a secretary at St. Christopher’s Hospital. The family had little to nothing left after paying bills, Dan said. After graduating from Central High School, he needed Pell grants, financial aid and student loans to get a college education. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in elementary education and later completed a Master’s program in education at Cabrini College in 2012.
“Every dollar that I was given through aid and Pell Grants, has been repaid and more through the work I am doing now,” Dan says. Following graduation, he worked for four years as a substitute teacher in the Ridley School District and taught math at Beverly Hills Middle School for nine years before assuming his current position as a math teacher at Drexel Hill Middle School.
Dan is affiliated with the Democratic Party because its ideals call for “being compassionate, feeling for peoples’ problems and coming up with solutions.” Drawing on his own life experience, he believes public investment in citizens is better than shrinking tax-supported programs and leaving folks to fend for themselves, whatever their circumstances.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 persuaded Dan to become more politically active. “The past two years…have shown what one person can do if we don’t stand against that person in an election. Trump’s election got a lot of people, including myself, interested in starting from the bottom, at the local level,” Dan said. Prior to running for Ward 1 commissioner, Dan volunteered with State Rep. Mike Zabel’s campaign, an experience that further inspired him.
Dan has been married for 11 years to Karen Weber, and they have two young children, Gianna, 3, and Jackson, 6. Jackson attends kindergarten at Lynnewood Elementary School. In addition to Karen’s work as senior director of New Solutions at HCL Technologies, she also serves as the Democratic Party’s ward leader in Ward 1.
Based on his own experience playing baseball and football in college, Dan believes that sports teach children a good work ethic, the value of teamwork, and the ability to learn from both success and failure. He coached youth football at the neighborhood and middle school levels for 10 years, in addition to coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball and girls’ lacrosse.
The Webers moved to the Westgate Hills section of Ward 1 six years ago, attracted by good schools and a friendly neighborhood feel. They take advantage of all the township offers, including library and recreation programs, great restaurants, festivals and more.
“We love living here,” Dan said.
Kevin McCloskey for Ward 3
Kevin is running for re-election to the Haverford Township Commission because he can see, after one term, that “there’s more work to do” to achieve his goals for our community. He is proud of the work he and his colleagues on the commission have done over the last four years. But a wide-ranging interview made clear that this Havertown native is deeply committed to making more tangible progress in environmental policy and economic development. As well, Kevin aims for a commission that calls on us all to think of the good of the township, not just our separate wards, and one that consciously and consistently projects a “tone” that accurately reflects the 21st century policy priorities and social attitudes of the township’s current residents.
Environmental progress: Great as it was for Haverford Township to be the first municipality in Pennsylvania to set environmental goals of 100% clean renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy for heat and transportation by 2050, Kevin knows that the real work begins now. He is running for re-election out of his belief that follow-up is critical to making good resolutions into real practice. He wants to be part of the governing team that takes the “intentional, practical steps” needed to ensure that the township’s budget includes purchase, for example, of more propane-fueled vehicles (especially for Public Works staff), more LED lighting in all public buildings (like the CREC and Skatium), and very honest, direct communication with residents about the financial as well as environmental gains from more green energy usage. This effort includes vigorous support of our volunteer, appointed Environmental Action Committee.
Economic Development: Kevin is gratified by the recent progress we’ve made in attracting small businesses to the township, including the obvious improvements in Oakmont Village and down Darby Rd. between Eagle and Benedict. But he seeks to enact even more creative use of existing commercial space, say, near train stations; re-zoning for some mixed-use space; and developing smart strategies to make Haverford an inviting, walkable, commercial destination in Delco. He has been a strong advocate for investing township dollars in modernizing streetscapes, improving lighting, providing unmetered parking in small lots, adding grass strips on Eagle Rd. that push the sidewalk back and invite pedestrians. These practical initiatives give our township the modern, prosperous look that attracts business activity.
Kevin’s enduring promise as Ward 3 Commissioner is to serve his ward constituents, but he argues that commercial development benefits all of us, in every ward, by providing more places to shop and eat out while, at the same time, expanding our tax base so residential taxpayers are not carrying so much of the load. It is significant, for Kevin, that only 7% of our tax revenue comes from businesses while Radnor and Lower Merion get 30% of their taxes from business. He aims to work with the other eight commissioners to alter the balance in the tax base by making our township more commercially vibrant in ways that reflect residents’ interests and values. That requires, he says, that “we be smart about using government leverage and market pressures.”
Parks and the Library: Kevin was instrumental in convincing his fellow commissioners to designate $2.5 million for capital improvements at our parks. A “flourishing” park system, he says, is key to healthy property values and a sense of shared community in each neighborhood. Early in his tenure on the commission, Kevin realized that our parks need more than mere maintenance; they require new equipment, regular paving, and other infrastructure attention. We are seeing the first fruits of this budget reform in new equipment at Paddock Park and Merwood Park, but every park in every neighborhood will benefit from this funding.
So, too, every township resident stands to benefit from a modernized library. As one of two liaisons from the township commission to the Haverford Township Free Library, Kevin has learned that 21st-century libraries must serve an array of community needs, from providing books and study spaces, to offering on-site programs and vast online resources, to maintaining the community rooms needed by local organizations.
Re-election will allow him to stay engaged in deliberations over how to meet 21st century library needs. Do we renovate the well-loved, parking-challenged library building that has been a familiar fixture at Darby & Mill Rd. for over 80 years? Or do we build a new library, designed around modern requirements, with a full parking lot and green space, on the site of the old Brookline School on Earlington? Kevin has heard strong arguments for both approaches and knows this is a major inflection point for our township and its much-used library. His engagement in the discussion thus far makes him eager to continue with this important endeavor.
The Future is Now: Kevin is acutely aware that we are facing three big professional retirements in 2019: Larry Gentile, Township Manager; Richard Dougherty, Director of Public Works; and Tim Denny, Director of Parks and Recreation. The individuals that our commissioners hire into these key spots will, as Kevin explains, “set the direction of the township for decades.” Will these new professionals reflect the priorities and values of the township’s residents?
Kevin wants a seat at that decisive table because his four years in office have given him great respect for the direct impact of the employees who carry out the township’s business every day. Going forward, he wants to ensure that township workers and the taxpayers continue to enjoy strong, professional leadership.
Democratic Majority on the Commission? Kevin has grown to respect Republicans on the commission, despite legitimate differences on policy and priorities. He believes a Democratic majority on the commission would shift priorities toward optimal openness and transparency in government, determined budgeting to achieve environmental goals, creative planning for a new library and commercial space, and pro-active messaging that welcomes all residents to the township. He hopes a Democratic majority would also bring a woman’s perspective and experience to the commission.
For Kevin, the value of a Democratic majority comes down to “tone” and values. None of the Republicans on the commission, for example, opposed general publication of the H-CAN report on racial bias and tensions in our schools. But it was the Democrats who had to take the lead on making sure this information was made available, as it was the Democrats who had to make sure that holiday decorations in the administration building include Hanukkah symbols. He observes that the difference in tone is a matter of sensitivity, awareness, and making inclusivity and social justice top priorities in our township.
Managing it all? Kevin and his wife Jennette have three children, aged 10, 7, and 5. How do they manage a busy household, Kevin’s professional life as a lawyer for a Fortune 100 law firm, his commitments as an elected official, and Jennette’s own activities? “We calendar well,” he explains. Experience has taught him to control his urge to attend every local event and to make smart use of technology for communicating with residents and colleagues. Still, if an event doesn’t conflict with family needs, he attends. He’ll often take his daughters along, especially to events that include ice cream cones. Both Kevin and Jennette want their children “to go for things, to not be afraid of losing, to feel a part of their communities.” They figure that Kevin’s role on the Haverford Township Commission teaches their children to live by the values they espouse.
Kevin quickly adds that the always-hectic life of parenthood gets an assist in the McCloskey household because his parents live in town. “We are lucky and grateful to have their help.”
Shannon Bearman for Ward 5
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.”
Hannah Turlish for Ward 7
It is no small thing to toss your hat into the race for township commissioner. Especially when your ward has been represented by one male Republican for 20 years. Hannah Turlish has stepped up, she says, “because it is time, because I want to serve the people in my ward and in the township, because I want to give the residents of Ward 7 a chance to vote for someone who has a different perspective” from the ward’s current commissioner, Jimmy McGarrity.
Hannah is eager to join the commission because she wants to add her voice and her vote to the initiatives the current Democrats on the commission have launched. She applauds the resolution to achieve clean renewable energy goals in the coming decades. But she knows that translating goals into realities requires that Democratic commissioners insist that this is a top priority. She also supports current discussions about using commercial development to enhance walkability in the township while increasing our business tax base. “You have to think outside the box all of the time on these issues. We have to think of more ways to bring people together along Brookline, Darby, Eagle – to make them destination sites.”
For community development to succeed, Hannah notes, these discussions must include voices with diverse solutions and different perspectives. Women comprise 51% of our township, but the current township commission is 100% male. That fact underserves and under-represents the community; every public and private organization, Hannah says, benefits from hearing diverse viewpoints. As a teacher of U.S. history at the all-male Haverford School, Hannah has considerable experience with “gently educating well-intentioned people” in regard to gender, race, and ethnicity. She brings to the table a teacher’s skills at informing people about alternate experiences and viewpoints in order to open them up, not shut them down.
Hannah and her husband Harry Green moved to Haverford Township seven years ago, when their son Oliver was just eight months old. Oliver is now a first grader to Chestnutwold Elementary. She and Harry are “regularly impressed by the school district’s commitment to all children and by the excellent education the district provides.”
Hannah is Chair of the History Department at Haverford School, as well as an assistant coach for Swimming and Diving. Both aspects of her professional life reflect significant aspects of her biography.
Hannah’s parents were English Literature professors at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She and her sister grew up in an academic household, and both are now teachers themselves. After earning her B.A. in Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the early 1990’s, Hannah stayed in Chapel Hill, waitressing and watching local political efforts to control that city’s unplanned, runaway growth. “I felt too young and insignificant at the time to make any sort of impact on local politics. I still wish I had found a network of people to show me the power of every individual.”
By 1996, Hannah had a Masters in Teaching History from Boston University and had embarked on her now 24-year career teaching in both public and private schools. She spent 12 years teaching in New York City, where she met Harry and, again, she observed citizen efforts to organize and impact municipal government.
The move to Havertown proved to be a fortunate one for both Hannah and Harry. He is able to pursue his work as a web and graphic designer while also serving as the Head Boys’ Cross-Country Coach at Haverford High School, while Hannah teaches U.S. history at Haverford School and coaches students in swimming and diving.
Athletics are obviously an important part of life in Hannah’s family, and have played an enormous role in shaping her life. She started swimming competitively at age six. Her successes by age 15, and her parents “unwavering support,” propelled her to Germantown Academy here in Philadelphia to live with a host family while she attended high school. Competing on the Germantown swim team in the late 1980’s meant Hannah was part of the strongest girls’ high school swim program in the U.S. Her athletic success there resulted in a full athletic scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was an ACC conference record holder and two-time Division I All-American.
Hannah appreciates the fact that athletics taught her embrace competition and instilled in her, at an early age, the discipline to persist in hard work and the value of teamwork. These are ingrained habits of body and mind that will energize Hannah’s campaign for commissioner in 2019 and will ensure her productivity as Haverford’s Township Commissioner for Ward 7.