2020 US and PA Candidates
This page shows Dem candidates for Washington and Harrisburg in the primary election. We are grateful to all who, by running for office, strengthen the process on which American democracy depends! Candidates for President and for Delegate to the Democratic National Convention will be posted later.
CCDC wishes all candidates to have a fair chance to make their case for election. Until the primary election, posting of information on this web site or other CCDC social media does not imply endorsement, support, or approval of any candidate. We do, though, indicate candidates’ status with regard to incumbency or endorsement by CCDC or the PA Democratic Party. For endorsements by CCDC zones or other organizations, see candidates’ own sites.
Some of the candidates’ social media shown here may not yet be updated from when they ran before. We do not show official office-holder sites, as those are for public service, not campaign purposes.
Candidates not yet shown here can help speed up our process of adding them by sending their bio, photo, and online info to [email protected]
Representative in Congress, PA-06
“Congressional District PA-06 consists of all of Chester County and the southern part of Berks County as far as Reading. See map here.
Chrissy earned her engineering degree from Stanford with a ROTC scholarship and received her M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT. She served three years active duty as a Captain in the US Air Force, and 13 years in the Reserves. Then she became Chief Operating office of the sportswear company AND1. She was founding COO of B-Lab (a nonprofit that promotes B Corporations and good business practices) and President and COO/CFO for Springboard Collaborative (a Philadelphia-based nonprofit focused on improving early childhood literacy in underserved communities). She was first elected to the PA-06 seat in November 2018 by a margin of 18%. In the House of Representatives, she serves on the Committees on Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business.
The Pennsylvania Senate is the upper chamber of the General Assembly. One district is entirely in Chester County and 3 are shared between Chester County and one adjacent county. See the map here. Senators are elected for 4 years; this year, the odd-numbered seats are on the ballot
Born and raised in the 9th District, Brett would be the first LGBT candidate elected to PA’s State Senate. He started out at age 12 as a cashier in his family’s small healthcare business in Chester and worked his way up to collaborating with leaders in Harrisburg and D.C. to root out corruption in healthcare that raised costs for families. Now Brett works in his own healthcare business helping companies control costs. His first job was teaching social studies at an underfunded public school in the Bronx. Now, as a business owner and activist, Brett has advocated for patient protections in the pharmaceutical industry and fought big pharmaceutical mergers that would have created monopolies. Like many in the 9th District, Burman lives under threat from the Mariner East pipeline system. As an elected member of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, he championed a recently adopted Mariner East resolution despite special interest objection. As your state senator, Brett will bring that same tenacity to fight against climate change and for fair education funding and making healthcare affordable for every Pennsylvanian.
John Kane grew up in Delaware County. John has spent his life fighting on behalf of working families and Democratic Party values. He grew up in a working class family and later became a plumber. At the age of 22, John sought treatment for his alcoholism. 36 years sober later, John wears his sobriety as a badge of honor. It reminds him what many across our region are still dealing with. John has experienced many of the problems facing our district. As a cancer survivor, he knows the importance of affordable healthcare for all. As a father, John understands the need to properly fund public education and vocational programs. He knows we need someone to fight for women’s reproductive justice and demand pay equity. John will end the inaction on climate change, starting by holding Sunoco and its Mariner pipeline to the highest safety standards.John was elected business manager of Plumbers Local 690 in 2007. John lives in Birmingham, Chester County, with his wife, Lori.
Robert McKinstry is a nationally recognized environmental lawyer, who co-founded Ballard Spahr’s Environmental Practice and Climate Change and Sustainability Initiative. He held Penn State’s Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resources Conservation, where he focused on addressing the climate emergency, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. His achievements include a pending rulemaking petition to have Pennsylvania reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero, representation of clients in the Supreme Court to force action on the climate emergency and supporting Obama clean air rules, and successful open space conservation. He was a plaintiff in the successful Pennsylvania anti-gerrymandering case. He has served on the boards of many environmental and educational organizations. He lives on his family farm in East Marlborough Township, Chester County, where he chairs the Board of Supervisors. He was educated in the Kennett schools, Westtown School, Swarthmore College, and Yale Law School and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He has three children and four grandchildren and is a member of Kennett Friends Meeting.
Senator Andy Dinniman has long been one of the most prominent Democrats in the General Assembly. He received a BA from the University of Connecticut, MA from University of Maryland, and Ed.D from Penn State University, and taught for many years at West Chester University. He was a member of the Downingtown Area School District, 1975-1979 and serve as Chester County Commissioner from 1992-2006 before running successfully for the PA Senate district 19 in a special election in 2006. He is Minority Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. His 5 other committees include Environmental Resources and Energy, and he has forcefully championed the need for proper oversight of energy pipelines and protection of residents’ safety.
Kyle J. Boyer is an educator, minister, and life-long resident of Chester County. His work has intersected public education, the faith community, and public policy. He has taught various subjects at the middle and high school levels, and is a member of the Tredyffrin/Easttown Board of School Directors, chairing the Policy Committee and serving as liaison to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. As president of the West Chester NAACP, Kyle has championed the cause of civic engagement and advocated for marginalized individuals throughout Chester County. Since 2010 he has been an associate elder at his lifelong church, the Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ in West Chester, serving for eight years as youth pastor and chairing the first strategic planning initiative. Kyle received a BA from the George Washington University, MSEd and MPA from the University of Pennsylvania, and MDiv from United Lutheran Seminary.
The Pennsylvania House is the lower of the two chambers of Pennsylvania’s legislative branch, the General Assembly. Its 203 members make it the largest full-time legislative chamber in the US. Chester County includes the entirety of districts 74, 155, 156, 158, and 167, and shares districts 13, 26, 157, and 160 with adjoining counties. All PA House districts are on the ballot every even year. See the maps of PA House districts here.
As Senior Pastor of New Life in Christ Fellowship Church in Coatesville for 27 years, Dan has envisioned, led, and sponsored missionary trips domestically and abroad. NLICF has sponsored, collected, and delivered over 500 care packages to our armed service members in Afghanistan. Dan has led initiatives for fire victims and the beautification of Ash Park in Coatesville; he has launched many drives bringing food and clothes to thousands of families. As a former UPS supervisor and Teamster member, Dan knows first-hand the importance of unions to ensuring the working class earns a family sustaining wage, has access to affordable healthcare, and is afforded proper protections on the job. To aid in the fight against gun violence, he facilitated a “Guns for Amnesty Program.” Dan graduated from Geneva College and Biblical Seminary in Hatfield PA (B.S., Mdiv and DMin); he and his wife Baleria Alston Williams have three children and 1 grandson. Dan was first elected to this seat in 2018; he is a member of the PA House Committees on Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness, Children & Youth, and Urban Affairs, as well as of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.
Social media: Facebook
Danielle, a mother of two, ran and won in 2018 because “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Born and raised in Philadelphia, she has called Chester County home for two decades after attending West Chester University. She spent most of her professional career in marketing and hospitality, serving on the executive teams of some of Philadelphia’s most notable hospitality brands. When rumors swirled that the Mariner East pipeline construction would overtake her neighbor’s yard, Danielle coordinated with neighbors to demand safety, transparency and accountability from government and state agencies that oversee these projects. She was integral in founding Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, a collective of eight coalitions in Delaware and Chester counties fighting for public safety. She is focused on providing for strong public schools, more affordable and accessible health care, public safety, conservation and environmental justice, workforce development, and family-sustaining jobs. She lives in Exton with her husband and two children. She is a member of the PA House Committees on Aging & Older Adult Services, Children & Youth, Environmental Resources & Energy, and Tourism & Recreational Development, as well as the Climate and PA SAFE Caucuses. Danielle believes in the philosophy of servant leadership and our responsibility to be stewards of our Earth.
Rose Danese is a Medical Technologist at Chester County Hospital. A Hahnemann University graduate with a 32-year career in laboratory medicine, she has worked in several hospitals throughout the Philadelphia area. The environment has always been at the forefront of her interests. Rose believes money obtained from legalization of recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania can provide funding for hemp growth and manufacturing as well as for public education, school security and much needed treatment for people suffering from opioid and other addictions. She also believes that PA must pass laws protecting employees from losing their jobs based on sexual orientation. She is very interested in learning about other concerns that are important to the people of district 155 and Pennsylvania in general and eager to do her part in meeting those needs. Rose and John Danese moved to Chester County in 2000; they and their 3 children are musicians as well as always being committed to voting straight Democratic.
Social Media: Facebook
A West Chester University graduate, Carolyn earned her Master of Science in Education at Widener University. She continues to mentor students and has organized the attendance of over 2,500 local students at the annual Health and Environment Conference at the United Nations. A former teacher, member of West Chester Borough Council from 2006–10 and Mayor of West Chester from 2010-17, she is also Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Thomas Comitta Associates. First elected to the 156th in 2016, she serves on the Committees on Aging & Older Adult Services, Environmental Resources & Energy, Local Government, Professional Licensure, and Urban Affairs, as well as on the Climate, PA SAFE and Women’s Health Caucuses and on the PA Joint Legislative Air & Water Pollution Control & Conservation Committee and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
Melissa graduated from Lafayette College in 1989 with a degree in Russian Studies (History) and a minor in Chinese Literature. She worked for large networks like FX and Food Network before returning to Pennsylvania to raise her son as a single mother and starting her own video production company, a successful business that gives her a unique perspective. She was prompted to campaign in 2018 by special interests that block progress on important issues in Harrisburg. She knocked on tens of thousands of doors while campaigning on government transparency and accountability, education equity, environmental sustainability, and gun control reform. She went on to defeat a four-term Republican by over 4,000 votes, in a historic year when women increased their representation in the Pennsylvania legislature. Melissa serves on the Judiciary, Aging & Older Adult Services, and Tourism & Recreational Development Committees, and has authored legislation dealing with small business loans, gun control, reduction of single-use plastics, and animal protections. She was selected as the Secretary of the Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus, and is the first freshmen legislator to serve as a Deputy Whip.
Chris has lived in Chester County for 25 years; she and her husband have raised three kids here. Chris managed businesses in the fashion industry and then, as a stay-at-home parent, became active in open space, natural resource protection and infrastructure issues in her community. Upon returning to the workforce, Chris used her knowledge and experience to serve the people of Chester County as Chief of Staff to former State Representative Barbara McIlvaine Smith, Director of Legislative Initiatives to State Senator Andy Dinniman, and Chief of Staff to State Representative Carolyn Comitta. Chris is committed to protecting our quality of life and working to create opportunity for all. She wants to ensure that our economy and business environment are a foundation for growth; that our state lives within its means and is able to lend a hand to our neighbors in need. She believes we should listen to one another, respect alternative positions, and discuss solutions to hard problems in a civil manner. First elected by the people of the 158th in 2018, she serves on the PA House Committees on Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness as well as the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities, Blue-Green, Climate Caucus, Ladies of the House, Mental Health, PA SAFE, and Women’s Health Caucuses.
Born in Washington D.C. of West Indian parents, Anton earned degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Hofstra School of Law. As a court-appointed lawyer in Miami and a volunteer in Chester County, he defended the rights of those who could not afford to hire a lawyer. As a senior adviser to two Presidents at Cheyney University, in addition to implementing and enforcing the rules on workplace harassment and discrimination, he launched and directed a campus center that trains small, women and minority-owned businesses to compete for government contracts, throughout Pennsylvania. He has helped grow Open Connections and The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and has helped The Nature Conservancy to engage with diverse communities. With his background in finding common ground and solutions that work for diverse groups, he will listen to the residents of the PA 160th, knowing that no one person or party has a monopoly on solving the challenges we face. Anton was our 2018 candidate against 22-year incumbent Steve Barrar in this heavily gerrymandered district and came within 828 votes (out of more than 30,000 cast) of an historical upset victory.
Cathy grew up in Newtown Square and lives in Upper Chichester Township. After gaining her Dickinson College bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, she worked as an environmental consultant, then returned to Delaware County in 2009 to be with family and attend graduate school. In 2013, she graduated from West Chester University with a masters degree in Geography and Planning. Cathy is now the Codes, Planning & Zoning Administrative Coordinator for Newtown Township, where she has been awarded for her historic preservation efforts by the Heritage Commission of Delaware County and the Board of Supervisors of Newtown Township. Horrified by the current administration’s efforts to reverse environmental legislation, Cathy spearheaded the grassroots organization “Send the Lorax to Washington,” distributing copies of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to each member of Congress, then launching a similar campaign toward Pennsylvania’s state legislative members. Cathy is also committed to improving women’s rights, including equal pay, reproductive health, and extended maternity leave, and to addressing the illegal drug epidemic that has gripped Pennsylvania.
Kristine is a forward thinker from Malvern who is in tune with the needs of her neighbors. As a devoted single mother of seven, three still attending public schools, she focuses on the principle to put children first and work constantly to ensure their safety. She used her degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers Law School to run a small legal and social services organization in New Mexico, before returning to Pennsylvania and joining the Philadelphia Lawyers for the Arts as an advocate for youth in foster care. She eventually joined the Chester County Department of Children, Youth, and Family services to investigate child abuse. Kristine understands quality schools are critical in laying the groundwork for a successful future. This fuels her fight to improve state programs and funding to offer quality education, healthcare, and career opportunities for all, including two-income families and single mothers, whose life challenges she shares. She is dedicated to creating solutions to the problems faced by all Chester County families. Kristine was first elected to this seat in November 2018. She serves on the PA House Committees on Children & Youth, Finance, and Human Services, and is a member of the Climate, PA SAFE (gun violence) and Women’s Health Caucuses.
Every two years voters have the opportunity to decide who will represent them. Once Democrats take control of our State House in 2020, we will need a leader who shares our community values, and someone who will prioritize putting people and our planet over profits. With so much at stake, Ginny has decided to run for State Representative for District 167. Ginny has degrees in Earth Science and managed an analytical services laboratory before moving to Chester County in 2004. Settling in West Whiteland, Ginny focused on raising their two sons and restoring their historic home, and turned a passion for sewing into a small business. When the Mariner East pipeline project impacted her family and thousands of others in Chester County, she stepped up to lead her community against this threat to our quality of life, property values, environment, and public safety. The need for change in government brought her to managing Danielle Otten’s 2018 grassroots campaign for PA House, winning a historic victory, turning the district blue for the first time since 1990. Ginny has earned a reputation as a knowledgeable and dedicated leader who will show up, listen to her constituents, understand their concerns, and speak truth to power, whatever the issue.
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter
The ele4cted statewide officers carry out essential leadership roles of the administration in Harrisburg. Attorney General Shapiro and Treasurer Torsella, below, are running for reelection, while Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is not.
Josh Shapiro was sworn in on January 17, 2017, as as Pennsylvania’s top lawyer and chief law enforcement officer with a mandate to ensure integrity and be the people’s Attorney General. Some of his top priorities include protecting seniors, veterans, small businesses and consumers from scams and fraud; implementing a comprehensive integrity agenda to ensure people from across the Commonwealth are heard and have faith in the justice system; and directing an aggressive fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic, including treatment for those suffering from addiction. As the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, his work on behalf of victims and for criminal justice reform earned him the trust of law enforcement leaders from across the ideological spectrum. Earlier, as Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Josh led an historic fiscal turnaround, helped the first LGBT couples in Pennsylvania marry, protected voting rights and fired Wall Street money managers to protect pensions and save retirees millions. As State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 153rd House District he passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. Josh graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester and earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University Law Center, and was in private practice for over a decade. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he met his high school sweetheart, Lori, and where they are raising their four children.
Web site: Campaign
Social media: Facebook, Twitter
Christina Hartman grew up in Lancaster County and is a non-profit leader and global advocate for democracy, fair elections, and government accountability. Christina has worked for nearly 20 years as a senior non-profit leader, managing federally-funded programs up to $44 million in scope and advocating for citizens’ rights and government accountability at several high-profile non-profits, including Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the Joyful Heart Foundation and their affiliate offices, in more than 15 countries. In 2016, Christina ran for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania’s former 16th district, a district initially deemed “too red to win.” However, Christina made this rural district competitive, gaining national attention from EMILY’s List and the DCCC and raising $1.25 million from grassroots supporters. Christina has also channeled her domestic experience in politics back into the international arena and has trained more than 100 women candidates in Liberia and Ukraine on fundraising and communications. Most recently, Christina was part of an international observation mission for Ukraine’s 2019 Presidential election to ensure the integrity of the vote and use international presence to deter violence.
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Joseph M. Torsella was elected the 77th treasurer of Pennsylvania in 2016. He oversees an office of 360 employees protecting nearly $100 billion in state assets and safeguarding the financial health of the state. From 2011-2014 as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, for budget and management reform, he advocated for budget restraint and transparency, including webcasting of UN meetings and publication of audits. He also served as chair of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and was the founding president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit museum and education complex. He raised $185 million in private and public funds, allowing the Center to open in 2003. His tenure at the National Constitution Center has been described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “resounding success” by a “modern-day founding father.” As Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for policy and planning under then-Mayor Ed Rendell in the early 1990s, Torsella helped develop initiatives to resolve the city’s $1.25 billion deficit in “one of the most stunning turnarounds in the nation,” as stated by the New York Times. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in economics and history, and studied American History at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." — Nelson Mandela
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