So, maybe you read my Diary yesterday and decided you should go vote next Tuesday. Then you pulled up your sample ballot and the sheer number of decisions you'll have to make in the voting booth gave you second thoughts. Yes, it's a long ballot this time. And most of us don't know much about the candidates other than as names on pieces of junk mail or political signs or, in the cases of some judges, names in mud-slinging ads on TV. If you're going to vote for someone simply because you recognize their name, or vote for or against them because of TV ads, you might as well stay home.
Here are some of the offices and the candidates running for them. I've listed background and experience info from their websites or that I heard directly from them if I met them in person. I included links to their websites if they have one. Just click on their names.
NASD SCHOOL BOARD (vote for 5). Some of these candidates are running under both parties.
George Kennedy - Lives in East Norriton. Only listed on the Democratic ballot. Retired teacher who has years of experience in elementary up through college level teaching. Worked for Conrail before teaching and feels that gives him experience keeping within a budget.
Louis W. Mason - From Conshohocken, now living in West Norriton. Retired teacher--36 years in education. Taught all levels and also was a principal in Chester Schools.
Michael Melnyck - Currently on School Board. Lives in East Norriton. Parent of NASD student. Works as Service Manager.
Janice Pearce - Currently on School Board. Has been on board for 12 years. Lives in Norristown. Retired school librarian. Worked in NASD schools for 34 years, 27 of which was at high school. Specialty in Special Ed. She's also a grant writer.
Sandra White - Lives in West Norriton. Has worked 35 years in the Insurance industry. Did not mention education experience at the candidates' forum last spring.
Tiffani Hendley - Lives in Norristown. Parent of NASD student. Currently enrolled as education major at Harkum College.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (vote for 2)
Josh Shapiro -
Currently a County Commissioner. Also serves as chairman of the PA
Commission on Crime & Delinquency. Previous was a State
Representative. Lives in Abington Township.
Steve Tolbert, Jr. -
Teaches Economics and Finance at St. Joe's University. Serves in the US
Army Reserve--is a veteran of the Iraq War (2007-08). Resides in West
Val Arkoosh - Currently serving as Commissioner, though appointed, not
elected, filling the seat Leslie Richards vacated to serve on the PA
cabinet. No information on her website other than that she's a doctor.
Lives in Springfield Township.
Joseph Gale - Works as a loan specialist in the housing industry. Has worked in the
County Recorder of Deeds office. Youngest candidate at 25. Lives in
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUDGE (vote for 3). These are the judges at our Courthouse who hear most criminal and civil cases.
Rise Vetri Ferman - Montgomery County District Attorney since 2008. Born in Philadelphia. Grew up in Abington and still lives there. Worked as a prosecutor the last 22 years.
Dan Clifford - Trial lawyer. Family law litigator for more than 30 years. Appeared before Common Pleas judges in 13 counties (including each of the 20 judges on the Montgomery County bench) and on appeals before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Lives in Springfield Township.
Stephen Heckman - Chief Public Defender of Montgomery County for 4 years until 2012, Assistant Public Defender for 13 years before that. Currently a litigator in his own law firm. Lives in Upper Dublin.
Natasha Taylor-Smith - Trial attorney for almost 20 years. Currently representing the county in contract and real estate issues. Philadelphia native. Resident of Cheltenham.
Todd Eisenberg - Lives in Lower Moreland. Instructor of trial advocacy for Temple and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Works in a voluntary capacity for the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project, representing children in PFA hearings, dependency matters and as a witness in criminal cases.
Gregory Cirillo - From Lower Merion. A lot of sentences on his Facebook bio, but "litigator of complex legal cases" and "court of Common Pleas arbitrator" were as specific as I could find. He seems to have no website so the link is for his Facebook page.
JUDGE OF SUPREME COURT OF PA (vote for 3). These judges mainly do appeals. The positions are usually filled by judges who have served on lower courts.
Anne Covey - Currently a judge on the Commonwealth Court. Office is in Doylestown.
Mike George - Currently the President Judge of the Adams County Court of Common Pleas. Lives near Gettysburg.
Judy Olson - Superior Court Judge since 2009. From Pittsburgh area.
David Wecht - Superior Court Judge since 2012. Court of Common Pleas before that since 2003. From Pittsburgh.
Christine Donahue - Superior Court Judge since 2007. From Pittsburgh.
Kevin Dougherty - Currently Administrative Judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Hope that helps. I'll try to list some more of the candidates here before Tuesday's election.