In the Kennett Spotlight

KAD’s 2018 Freshman Class of Committee People

by AJ Miguel

For many, the 2016 general election was a turning point. For some, it was a call to action. In the days following November 8, 2016 – as the policies and rhetoric of the Trump Administration started to become reality – local citizens sought opportunities to get involved and counter the narrative splashed across social media and on the nightly news. Facebook forums like Indivisible Chester County became a place for like-minded neighbors to brainstorm about how to get progressive candidates into office, and local chapters of established political organizations like Kennett Area Democrats saw an increase in people asking how they could help make a change. People were looking for a way to be engaged, not enraged.

Heading into the 2017 off-year election cycle, for reasons as unique as each of them, 17 individuals answered the call and were elected as Democrats to the position of Committee Person (CP) within their respective precincts in Southeastern Chester County. Some, like Jean O’Donnell, were recruited by KAD leadership or outgoing CPs. Others, as Christina Wildrick admitted, knew they “needed to do more than scream at the TV every night.” One – Nick Everhart – moved from another elected role within the community. And a few, like Eric Matuszak, made the jump from participating informally behind the scenes to officially putting their names on the ballot. All are part of last year’s freshman class of KAD Committee People and were integral to the sweeping success of the 2018 mid-term elections.

A Committee Person is one of just two of his or her party’s representatives in each precinct – KAD encompasses 10 municipalities, split into 22 precincts; each individual serves on a volunteer, uncompensated basis for a 4-year term. One of the core responsibilities of a CP is helping to “get out the vote” – something that first drew many of our freshman class to the position with the critical 2018 mid-terms and the “Blue Wave” on the horizon. As the campaigns kicked into gear, the CPs recruited and coordinated volunteers, organized literature drops, participated in phone banks and canvassing activities, and served as their neighbors’ resource for general election questions, like where to vote and how to secure an absentee ballot.

Even with a solid victory in the rearview mirror, the freshman CPs acknowledge challenges they hope to address or mitigate ahead of the next election cycle. Gretchen Parisi, a new CP for the expansive East Marlborough W precinct, suggests that support – such as designated volunteers for larger precincts – coordinated by central organizations like KAD or the Chester County Democratic Committee would alleviate some of the burden in completing tasks like literature drops and canvassing. Rena Hallam from London Britain sees a role for technology to improve communication and organize outreach efforts within her precinct. Two of the new CPs shouldered the responsibilities alone because of vacant seats in their precincts. Still, categorically, all of the new Committee People say that the thrill of the Democratic victory up and down the ballot on November 6, 2018 – thanks to unprecedented voter turnout, partially as a result of their hard work – made all of their effort worthwhile.

Looking forward, these CPs are excited for the 2019 and 2020 elections. They continue to work toward their individual goals, too. Jim Chance wants to build a cadre of dependable volunteers in East Marlborough S and know them well enough to target them most efficiently. Mike Gorman aims to consistently turn out the vote in Kennett Township 1. Gretchen Parisi knows that Millennials are key to future wins in Chester County and wants to find ways to better engage them.

As John F. Kennedy said, “Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to an untiring effort.” These 16 new Committee People, as well as the 24 CPs they join in service, truly embody this sentiment. They believe the pursuit of helping to elect Democrats at all levels of government to defend our democracy, protect our people, and restore our values is worth their personal sacrifices and commitment. It’s time for them to step out from behind the scenes and be In the Kennett Spotlight!

Welcome to our newest Committee People, and thank you for all that you do! Toni Morgan (Avondale – 010), Laura Gonzalez (Kennett Square N – 305), Andrew Chong (East Marlborough E – 355), Jean O’Donnell (East Marlborough E – 355), James Chance (East Marlborough S – 356), Eric Matuszak (East Marlborough S – 356), Gretchen Parisi (East Marlborough W – 360), Mike Gorman (Kennett Township 1 – 320), Nick Everhart (Kennett Township 3 – 328), Rob Pinschmidt (Kennett Township 4 – 329), Rena Hallam (London Britain – 330), Christina Wildrick (New Garden N – 385), Joanne Monaco (New Garden S 1 – 390), Bonnie Marcus (Pennsbury N 1 – 453), Alexandria Dougherty (Pennsbury S 1 – 456), Scott Bosch (Pocopson – 530) and Eric Newman (Pocopson – 530).

You can find contact information for all of KAD’s Committee People by visiting https://kennettareademocrats.com/about/committee-persons/. If you are interested in becoming a Committee Person, please contact KAD at info@KennettAreaDemocrats.com.

More of the 2018 Freshman class Committee People