2016 candidates

See “Local Media on Chesco Races” for background on the competing candidates.

This list shows Democratic candidates who will represent the Democratic party on the November 8 ballot for federal and state offices that include part or all of Chester County. To donate or volunteer, go through the websites indicated below.

ccdc-vote-localSee Dem candidates on your ballot clicking here and entering your address. See electoral districts here. To volunteer for a candidate see web sites below or the calendar to the right or down the screen on handheld devices.


Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton. Web site. Facebook. Chesco for Hillary Facebook. Combined Campaign Office: 127 N Church St., West Chester PA; inquiries to Catherine Perrone, 484-632-9123, cperrone@pavictory2016.org. Hillary Clinton has served as secretary of state, senator from New York, first lady of the United States, first lady of Arkansas, a practicing lawyer and law professor, activist, and volunteer—but the first thing her friends and family will tell you is that she’s never forgotten where she came from or who she’s been fighting for.

Hillary grew up in a middle-class home in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago. Her dad, Hugh, was a World War II Navy veteran and a small-business owner who designed, printed, and sold drapes. Hillary helped with the family business whenever she could. Hugh was a rock-ribbed Republican, a pay-as-you-go kind of guy who worked hard and wasted nothing. Hillary’s mother, Dorothy, had a tough childhood. She was abandoned by her parents as a young child and shipped off to live with relatives who didn’t want to raise her. By age 14, Dorothy knew the only way she’d get by was to support herself, and she started working as a housekeeper and babysitter while she went to high school. Her mother’s experience inspired Hillary to fight for the needs of children everywhere. Hillary’s childhood was very different from her mother’s. Her parents built a stable middle-class life. Hillary attended public school and was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. She was raised a Methodist, and her mother taught Sunday school. On a trip to Chicago with her youth ministry, Hillary got to see Martin Luther King Jr. speak—this sparked her lifelong passion for social justice. After graduating high school, Hillary attended Wellesley College, where she became more involved with social justice activism. By the time she graduated, Hillary had become a prominent student leader—she was elected by her peers to be the first-ever student speaker at Wellesley’s commencement ceremony. After college, Hillary enrolled in Yale Law School, where she was one of just 27 women in her graduating class. While attending Yale, Hillary began dating one of her classmates, Bill Clinton. After law school, Hillary didn’t join a big law firm in Washington or New York…. KEEP READING HERE.


KaineTim is a lifelong fighter for progressive causes and one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in our nation’s history. He’s also a man of relentless optimism who believes no problem is unsolvable if you’re willing to put in the work. That commitment to delivering results has stayed with him throughout his decades-long career as a public servant. Hillary chose a running mate who will be a real partner and help bring our country together in these divided times. Tim’s experience at the local, state, and national level makes him uniquely qualified to help build an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top—and keep American families safe.

Here are eight things you should know about Hillary’s new running mate—and our next vice president:

1) Before he got into politics, Tim spent time working with missionaries in Honduras.
Tim started his public-service career by taking a year off from Harvard Law School to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. He’s described his time in Honduras as formative in his commitment to public service and his understanding of religion.

2) He began his career fighting housing discrimination…. KEEP READING HERE


McGintyKatie McGinty. Web site. Facebook. The daughter of a Philadelphia police officer and a restaurant hostess, Katie earned a scholarship and studied chemistry at St. Joseph’s University, then law at Columbia University. A judicial clerkship took her to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. An American Chemical Society Congressional Fellowship her to work for Senator Al Gore. She joined Senator Gore’s staff, advising him on technological and environmental issues, then served as President Clinton’s Deputy Assistant and as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In the 2000 campaign, Katie served as an adviser to Vice President Gore and senior policy advisor to the Democratic National Committee. Then, she developed investment vehicles that encouraged investment in clean technology and joined a company involved in energy and environmental transactions. In 2003-08 she led the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; with the initiatives she spearheaded, Pennsylvania became a leader in wind energy, solar jobs, and energy efficiency technology. Back in the private sector, she helped drive sustainable business development. In 2014 she ran for Governor, then became Governor Tom Wolf’s Chief of Staff. Katie, Karl, and their three daughters reside in Wayne.


ParrishMike Parrish. Web site. Facebook. See 2-minute 2014 video here. After graduating from West Point in 1985, Mike spent 14 years on active duty as an Army Aviator in leadership assignments around the globe. Upon leaving active duty in 1998, he transitioned to the Army Reserves, where he continues to serve as a Colonel. Mike has over 30 years of senior leadership experience growing and acquiring technology-related businesses. Most recently, he has been Chairman & CEO of several publicly-traded companies and was founder and CEO of an environmental services business that was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine’s “HOT 100” highlighting the top 100 start-ups in America for 2004. Before that, Mike held various executive leadership positions within several General Electric companies. Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from West Point, a Master’s in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford, and an MBA from the Wharton School at UPenn. He is the past President of the West Point Society of Philadelphia and served on the advisory boards of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resources Center, USO of Southeast PA/NJ, and the US Military Academy at West Point. Mike lives in Malvern and has three children.


Balchunis2Mary Ellen Balchunis. Web site. Facebook. Twitter. To get free yard sign delivered, email Info@MaryEllenForCongress.com. I am a single mom and very proud of my daughter, now a college student. I grew up in Delaware County, went to Cardinal O’Hara High School, and I worked my way through college with three jobs. I know hard work and commitment. I know the values and diverse interests of the people. I promise to work hard for you, and I would be honored to represent you in the United States Congress. EXPERIENCE: Political Science Professor, La Salle University; Executive Director, The Resource Center for Human Services; Assistant to the Mayor, City of Philadelphia. EDUCATION: Ph.D., Political Science, Temple University; Masters of Public Administration, Temple University; B.A., Sociology, University of Pennsylvania. COMMUNITY SERVICE (Present & Past): Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee; Vice Chair, Delaware County Democrats; American Society for Public Administration; League of Women Voters, Board of Directors; etc. AWARDS: Fulbright Scholar, Mass Media & Politics, Sweden; National President’s Citation of Merit for Advancing Excellence in Public Service, American Society for Public Administration; etc.


HartmanChristina Hartman.
Web site. Facebook. Download flyer: Christina Hartman for Congress Prospectus. 2016 is a time for new energy and fresh ideas. I am ready to use my skills and wide-ranging experience to give the 16th district a voice in Washington reflecting our shared goals and values: opportunities for quality education and jobs, support for seniors, and balancing sustainability with economic growth. I’ll be guided by what Lancaster taught me: that individuals succeed through strong community. My parents and grandparents reinforced that ideal through their own hard work, volunteer service, and entrepreneurship. After graduating from George Washington University and Fordham University, I led numerous high-profile organizations, taking on some of the world’s toughest dictatorships and advocating for freedom and democracy in those countries and in Washington. From South Sudan to Afghanistan, I helped organizations strengthen democracy through civic education, elections, and youth leadership development. At home, I have worked with the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization pursuing justice for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Today, I bring my expertise in strategic planning, fundraising, and communications to organizations such as Church World Service, the Non-Profit Resource Network at Millersville University, and the Parish Resource Center. Join me as we work to ensure that all citizens know that their voice matters, their vote matters, and that they matter.


MolloyMarty Molloy. Web site. Facebook. Marty is an educator and cares deeply about education, both in its funding and quality. His entire career has been focused on helping others, both in the non-profit world and the state legislature. He was compelled to run because he believes in his ability to effect serious, compelling change over time through sustained effort and compromise, and this is borne out by the results of those efforts. He took a non-profit from the verge of insolvency, through a merger, to being a well-functioning, solvent part of a larger non-profit organization. Some of his larger priorities in Harrisburg are fully and fairly funding education across the state, sustainable development that balances protecting open spaces with infrastructure repair, and sensible gun laws that protect children and communities. Marty has been endorsed by Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, Mayor of the city of Chester, Plumbers Local 690, the Chester County Democratic Committee, the Delaware County Democratic Committee, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Download pdf here: Molloy One Pager. Download Molloy v. Killion fact sheet here: Molloy v. Killion PA Senate 9


AndyDinnimanAndy Dinniman (incumbent). Web site. Facebook. Before being elected State Senator, Dinniman was elected to four terms as Chester County Commissioner, making him the longest-serving commissioner in county history (1992-2006). During that time, he made a name as a visionary and a voice for the people by incorporating local values into action and taking on some of the region’s toughest challenges. His commitment to fiscal responsibility and economic prosperity resulted in a period of low taxes and sustained growth for both large and small businesses in the area. Dinniman championed investments in open space and efforts to protect our natural treasures and environmental resources. He has also been a member of the Downingtown Area School District (1975-1979) and a long-serving member of the faculty at West Chester University. In the Senate, which he entered after a special election in 2006, Dinniman serves as minority chairman of the Education Committee and is a member of four other committees. In the Senate, his priorities include access to education, economic security and job growth, local government control over local issues, environmental protection, historic preservation, and quality-of-life issues.


Dean NancyNancy Dean. Web site. Nancy Dean lives the Chatham PA area. Rural born and raised, she enjoyed a career in teaching before making a mid-life turn into the ministry. After graduating Harvard Divinity School, she was ordained in 1994, and served congregations for twenty years. Nancy is now retired and active in area politics, serving as Democratic Committee person for London Grove Chatham.  Nancy is married, the mother of two grown children, and grandmother of twin granddaughters.



Josh MaxwellJosh Maxwell. Web site. Facebook. Josh is the Mayor of Downingtown. First elected at the age of 26 to become the youngest mayor in the Borough’s history, he was re-elected with nearly 70% of the vote in 2013 on his record of improving the local economy and fighting for education. He is a product of Downingtown public schools. Passionate about ending sexual and domestic violence, he helped organize the first Chester County Rally to End Domestic Violence, coinciding with a national effort to reform and improve sexual and domestic violence laws by local leaders across the country. Brought up in a twin on Jefferson Avenue with his brother and two sisters, Josh knows what it means to struggle to make ends meet. That’s why he’s fighting to grow our economy, guarantee a quality education for every child, and ensure that all have the chance to provide for their families. He believes that public service should be an all-out commitment to the community. Decisions are not always easy: staying in touch with the community by remaining informed and accessible to all residents is exceptionally important to him. He was the first Mayor in Downingtown to be available by email, phone or office, and the first Mayor to hold office hours and make Borough Hall available to all residents. By concentrating on building a walkable community with a vibrant downtown, Downingtown has emerged from decades of vacant industrial sites as a cutting-edge and forward-thinking community.


BurnsOfficialJames Burns. Web site. Facebook. Jim is originally from Connecticut. His father was a career US Marine; as such he grew up living at several Marine and Naval bases across the county. After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in Organizational Psychology, he started his long career in software development. Jim also had his own successful software consulting company for over 12 years. His degree is import in dealing with the organizations he comes in contact with and the human facing factor of the software products he develops. Jim was a Spring City Borough Councilor for 6 years. He is the chair of the Spring City Planning Commission; in that role for over 6 years. Service minded; he has been a Lion for over 10 years serving a president for over 8 years. In addition he has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer. Jim has been active in supporting the interests of senior citizens, LGBTQ and HIV+ communities. In addition he has served as an active board member with the Springford Area Historical Society and treasurer of Chester County AIDS Support Services. Jim lives with his domestic partner, Mike, in an historic home in Spring City.


CarolynComittaTown2SmallCarolyn Comitta. Web site. Facebook. As two-term Mayor of West Chester, PA, member of Borough Council, the National League of Cities and PA Municipal League, and through decades of participation in local, state, national and international organizations, Carolyn has gained a deep and broad knowledge of public policy and governance that is of great benefit to the citizens of the 156th Legislative District. Carolyn is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Thomas Comitta Associates. In this capacity, Carolyn is an integral member of the TCA team, providing experienced leadership based in a strong commitment to the planning and design field, environmental sustainability, education, and public health. Carolyn’s professional background is in education. She continues to serve as a mentor to students, and since 1992 has organized the attendance of over 2000 local students at the annual Health and Environment Conference at the United Nations…. keep reading here.


Van MolHans van Mol. Web site. Facebook. Twitter and Instagram @Hans4PARep. See Candidate Spotlight here. Hans is the next generation of leadership! His genuine personality serves him well, as he is respected and trusted by all. He values hard work, respect, responsibility, and obligation. This forms his commitment to serving all while finding solutions to crucial issues. His 2015 run for Chester County Recorder of Deeds prepared him for his House campaign. A West Chester University (Music Ed.) grad, he works as an Inventory Manager at JWPepper in Exton. He also is a high school band director and Tri-County umpire. Hans was the youngest President of the Chester County Pops Orchestra, and presided over their capital campaign, modernized their operations and increased patronage. Through efficient budgeting, he enacted a wage increase for each musician. A resident of Tredyffrin, he proudly serves the Chester County Democratic Committee as their Parliamentarian. Hans is primed and ready to bring a new age of leadership to the State House and attack the issues that concern all Pennsylvanians.


Rzucidlo 2016Susan Rzucidlo. Web site. Facebook. Susan, a successful small business owner, advocate, and non-profit director, is a long-time resident of Landenberg. Susan and her husband Rusty have owned and managed Silent Z Farm in Landenberg for 29 years, supplying hay and straw to local agricultural concerns. The mother of four grown children, one of whom is diagnosed with a severe form of autism and an intellectual disability, Susan in 2004 founded the not-for-profit SPEAK Unlimited, Inc., which has a national reputation for innovative, solution-based services designed to assist individuals who live with disabilities and first responders in their work. She co-created the PA Premise Alert System and as well as other emergency response tools used across the nation. Her successful advocacy proves what can happen when passion, commitment, and public service meet to create solutions. She lives her motto: “The Z is silent, she is not!” Susan will be the voice of the voters in Harrisburg, applying the same passion and commitment to the legislative process as she has to families for more than 20 years.



DenhamJoe Denham. Web site. As a pediatric anesthesiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Joe Denham has spent his career advocating on behalf of his patients and his nation. The son of a union worker and a public school teacher, Joe grew up in a proud working-class family in Ridley Park. He worked several jobs to help pay his way through college, law school, and medical school. Joe served in the Army for 11 years, caring for the injured during Desert Storm and becoming the chief of the anesthesiology department and operating room complex at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After his honorable discharge from the Army in 2000 as a Major, Joe became an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the UPenn Medical School and also began working at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2013, he beat a 12-year Republican incumbent to become the first Democrat elected in decades to the West Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors. He has worked across party lines to eliminate wasteful spending, pass balanced budgets, and bring transparency to government. Joe has been married to his wife Debbie for 24 years; their daughter is currently a student at St. Joseph’s University.


ShapiroJosh Shapiro. Web site. Facebook. Josh has earned a reputation as a reformer, a leader with integrity, an effective legislator and a can-do executive. Montgomery County’s first majority Democratic Board Chair in more than 140 years, Josh has led the effort to clean up county government and put the fiscal house of Pennsylvania’s third largest county in order. As Commissioner since 2012, he led the way for significant investments in infrastructure, education and public safety while reducing overall debt and standing up for progressive values. He also serves as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. He previously served as a State Representative from 2005-2011, where he wrote and passed the farthest-reaching ethics laws in a generation and established strict new financial controls over state spending. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester and earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he lives with his wife and four children.


DePasquale2Eugene DePasquale (incumbent). Web site. Facebook. Eugene DePasquale served three terms as a State Representative from the 95th district (York County). The first legislator to post his expenses online, he quickly became a leader for real change in Harrisburg. He received an “A” grade for his low expenses and has been called “A Pioneer for Public Accountability” by the York Daily Record. In 2012 he ran successfully for Auditor General to continue his work for middle-class Pennsylvanians and to protect the important programs that make a difference in our lives, including education, jobs programs and public safety. He has been an advocate for communities affected by the Marcellus Shale drilling. He is running for reelection in 2016.


TorsellaJoe Torsella. Web site. Facebook. Joseph M. Torsella has built a distinguished career as a public servant specializing in making public institutions work better and more efficiently. From 2011 until last year, Torsella served as U.S. Representative to the United Nations for UN Management and Reform. In that role, Ambassador Torsella (Ret.) was the architect and chief public spokesperson for the U.S.-led reform of the $36 billion UN budget system. During his tenure at the UN, Torsella reversed a decade-long trend of unbridled growth in UN budgets (including securing only the second UN budget reduction in 50 years) and brought new transparency to the UN through webcasting of meetings and publication of UN audits. Before that, Torsella served as the Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, leading the Board to pass a landmark accountability measure implementing rigorous statewide requirements for high school graduation…. keep reading at MontcoDems area 4.

Most bios are edited from candidates’ web sites; some are taken verbatim or submitted for this site by the candidates. For all 2016 candidates at the time of the 1/27/16 CCDC nominating convention, see here. For all candidates at the time of the 4/26/16 primary, see here. For candidates in earlier elections, see here.