Meet Gwen McCullough
Gwen McCullough started out as a Democratic Party volunteer in the 2016 Clinton campaign. A resident of Haverford Township’s Ward 9, Gwen was a single mom who had left college and was working as a waitress when she volunteered. Her goal was to “be involved in something I believed in” and “meet people” who share her beliefs and goals. She reached those goals, but Gwen did not attend the big HTDems’ meeting just after Trump’s election because she was attending new student orientation at West Chester University. Trump’s victory jolted Gwen. “The world just got so much scarier,” she recalls. “I had to start thinking about my life and my daughter’s life. I had to make a change.”
Gwen will graduate in December, 2018, with a degree in Political Science and Psychology. Remarkably, she has increased her Democratic Party activism while a student, working first on Kristen Larsen’s successful campaign for Haverford School Board and on behalf of the Delco Democratic slate that swept the 2017 election. Just delivering lawn signs made her feel a part of something; “people were so excited to see me.” And Dems’ historic victory in the county races “was so exciting. I’ve never experienced anything like that night.” Those experiences fueled Gwen’s political energy. She found that Democrats in local leadership were open to her ideas, like going high-visibility in the Haverford Township Day Parade this fall.
“Because I was asked,” Gwen replies when questioned about why she became co-leader of the HTDems’ Grassroots Team, alongside Jon Larsen. She especially values the team’s mission: outreach into the community. She is also volunteering for Mike Zabel’s campaign to represent the 163rd State Assembly district, which includes her 9th ward. Gwen likes Mike’s “energy, the way he thinks on his feet, the fact that he is really smart and can make a difference in Harrisburg.” In addition, as part of her Political Science major, she is an intern for Leanne Krueger-Braneky, the Democratic state representative from the 161stAssembly district.
When you find a card at your front door that says “Vote for our country. Vote for Pennsylvania. Vote blue.,” know that Gwen “scribbled” that heartfelt pitch during an August HT Dems’ meeting of ward leaders and team leaders planning the fall canvass. “Suddenly,” she recalls, “my idea was adopted.”
Email Gwen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be part of the Grassroots Team and see some of your ideas adopted.
Meet Woody Woodman and Becky Timme!
What better legacy to pass down from generation to generation than a love for your community and a willingness to serve those around you? That’s exactly what Malcolm (“Woody”) Woodman has passed down to his daughter, Becky Timme.
A native of St. Louis, MO, Woody and his wife Rosie have lived in Havertown since 1960. And he’s been active with the Democrats since 1973. Woody credits the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and a local debate between Catholic and public schools for getting him involved locally with the Democrats. Woody twice (in 1973 and 1975) stepped up to run for school board when candidates were scarce. Although he was not elected in either race, Woody was not deterred.
For the next 24 years, Woody served as a Ward 8 committee person for Precinct 1, taking a break when he retired from full-time work in 1999. But Woody never really retired from duty with the Dems. He continued to volunteer in his neighborhood, handing out literature and meeting his neighbors along the way. Most notably, for the past six years, Woody has been serving as the Judge of Elections (JoE).
The JoE works inside the polls for 13-15 hours during Primaries and Elections. The JoE ensures that all runs smoothly and fairly and is responsible for making sure the polls are staffed appropriately. To Woody, the best part of being a JoE is that it “gets you engaged in your neighborhood” and allows you to meet “all of your neighbors.” At age 81, Woody is taking a well-deserved break and is proud that Becky was selected in the May primary to be the JoE candidate on the November ballot in Ward 8, Precinct 1. He’s certain that Becky will do a great job. As he puts it, “people love to talk to her.”
A Havertown native, Becky moved back home, after living and working in Germany, France and Boston for several years, because “there’s something very special about Havertown.” Becky enjoys working at the polls because “you get a much better understanding of how our system works.” Like her father, Becky also loves meeting and talking with neighbors from all parties. It’s a great reminder that “we’re all just people.”
In addition to her new JoE responsibilities Becky works 30 hours a week and is raising three children with her husband. Her oldest son, Jakob, is involved in the Young Democrats at Haverford High School. Again, it appears that Woody's love for community and willingness to be active has been passed to yet another generation in the family.
Meet Rebecca Phelan!
November 8th, 2016. That’s the date that Rebecca Phelan first volunteered to serve as a greeter at the polls for the Haverford Township Democrats in Ward 6. That’s the date that she expected to be a historic day for herself, her daughter, and her country. November 9th, 2016. That’s the date Rebecca Phelan awoke to the sobering election results and the sobering realization that “I hadn't done as much as I'd known deep down I should be doing.”
With newfound motivation and a nudge from a friend, Rebecca agreed to run for Inspector of Elections in Ward 6, Precinct 4. The Inspector of Elections spends the 13 hours of Election Day inside the polls checking in voters and ensuring that all runs smoothly. Sound grueling? Not to Rebecca. "Even though it means being inside all day,” she says, “ I love seeing everyone in the neighborhood come through, spending the day with the team in our beautiful school, and seeing the very interesting and pretty complicated behind-the-scenes work that goes into an election for every single precinct across the country.” Rebecca knew that door-to-door canvassing was not for her, so she found a job that served the Democratic Party and suited her style.
A resident of Ardmore for the past five years, Rebecca loves to spend time with her husband, her two children, and their dog and is very involved at Chestnutwold, where her children go to school. And, since the 2016 election, she has been active with Havertown Community Action Network (H-CAN) and Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN). As a citizen who is now acutely aware that elections have consequences, Rebecca has stepped outside of her comfort zone and she’s not going back anytime soon. Election Day will forever be so much more than just a fun day off from school in the Phelan household.
Meet Allison Lehrman!
Allyson Lehrman worked two, 2-hour shifts at the Senior Center polling station on Earlington on primary voting day in May. She stood outside the station to greet voters, offer sample Democratic ballots to anyone who wanted one, and, as she puts it, “hopefully clear up misconceptions about cross-filing.” She enjoyed meeting some of the candidates and elected officials who stopped by, and was pleased “to make connections with a few others who are active in Haverford Democrats.”
Allyson is one of Haverford Township’s busy, working parents. She, her husband, and her three kids live on Remington Rd., and she describes herself as a “freelance medical writer and part-time chauffeur to dance, baseball, swimming, and gymnastics.”
Allyson was a voter but had never been a political volunteer before the 2016 election. So why did she attend a Haverford Township Democratic Party meeting after the election and volunteer to staff her polling station in the May primary? Because, she says, “I couldn’t remain silent!” For Allyson, the loss of “thoughtful, morally responsible discussion and productivity” in our system of government is a wake-up call to all of us. She became a volunteer because she wants a healthy “balance of views from the left and right,” and believes “it is the responsibility of citizens on both sides to support well-qualified candidates who will be able to turn things around!”