On the ballot in 2021:
• Clerk of Courts
The row officers, so named from the floor plan of their former quarters, are elected officials who are responsible for running the County’s various offices. Their term of office is 4 years; the other row offices (District Attorney, Prothonotary, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, and Sheriff) will be up for election in 2023.
The County Clerk of Courts manages paperwork for criminal court filings and records in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, handling 6,000 cases each year. The office also staffs all criminal, juvenile and dependency hearings for the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. It assesses fines, costs and restitution and collects fees in conjunction with the Chester County Adult Probation and Parole Department. It collects bail money and returns it upon completion of court action; and it maintains records and dockets for a variety of matters including constables and private detectives.
A native of Massachusetts, with degrees from Hamilton College and the University of Delaware, Yolanda spent 22 years as a bank executive in the Philadelphia region. Her long list of volunteer work includes Board President of Tredyffrin Township Libraries and Assistant Treasurer of West Chester Rotary. She ran successfully for Clerk of Courts in 2017 to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and to streamline services to ensure that the administration of justice is efficient and accurate. As Clerk of Courts, she has implemented e-filing and other technological improvements. Her overall philosophy is that accurate records provide the basis for fair trials for victims and defendants alike.Working with the DA, the President Judge and Juvenile Probation, she is expunging records for non-violent, low-level juvenile offenders who qualify but have neglected to expunge their records before they turned 18; thus “because of our collaboration on juvenile expungements, a mistake will no longer define a person’s life and limit their opportunities.” As a Board member of the Friends Association, Yolanda has been instrumental in setting up Chester County’s Eviction Prevention Court program.
Yolanda Van de Krol’s Facebook
The County Controller supervises the fiscal affairs of the County, including the accounts, transactions and official acts relating thereto, of all officers and persons entrusted with the public funds of the County. The Controller maintains all fiscal and accounting records, processes, accounts payable and other disbursements, manages payroll and retirement benefits, and is responsible for the internal audit function. The Controller maintains custody and stewardship of all County contracts and monitors all contract, agreement and lease payments to ensure that no payment exceeds the limits or terms of those documents.
Margaret holds a degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Scranton. She was controller for a Malvern-based non-profit, managed a family-owned small business for over 25 years, and worked as investment liaison at Vanguard. She has been a community activist for issues such as maintaining open space and child advocacy. She has provided transparency, accountability and efficiency to the residents of Chester County by bringing a fresh eye to precious taxpayer resource allocation. As Controller, she has found ways to improve and streamline processes within the County leading to significant cost savings for the taxpayers.
Margaret Reif’s Facebook; view her 4:01-minute video here.
The Chester County Coroner heads an independent agency serving the citizens and honoring the deceased of the County by investigating the facts and circumstances concerning jurisdictional deaths which have occurred within Chester County. The office determines the cause and manner of death and the identity of the decedent, and provides notification to the legal next of kin, while exhibiting the highest degree of compassion, professionalism, and integrity.
Sophia Garcia-Jackson, the County’s Chief Deputy Coroner, works closely with incumbent Christina VandePol, who has decided not to seek reelection. Sophia manages and oversees all functions of the office: administration, investigations, transportation and morgue-related duties. She has supervisor-on-duty responsibilities and is the direct supervisor for the investigators. Her achievements include streamlining the budget process and changing how payments are made in order to enhance transparency. She sits on multiple task forces throughout the County, coordinating with local law enforcement and other agencies. With the Coroner she shares duties including signing death certificates by providing cause and manner of death. Previously, she worked for the State of New Jersey as a Death Investigator for 6 years. She holds a master’s degree in Forensic Medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from California State with a certification in Forensic Identification, and has completed several internships and training programs. Sophia is certified with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators and is working on the next level of fellowship and certified with the Pennsylvania Coroner’s Education Board. She will be prepared to lead the office on day one and will keep pushing for a modern forensic facility that provides the proper safety mechanisms for the office to work in the most important of circumstances, like a pandemic.
Sophia Garcia-Jackson’s Facebook
The Chester County Treasurer collects real estate taxes for the County and 23 municipalities, issues licenses for dogs, hunting, and fishing, collects hotel tax, and maintains mortgage files.
Patricia holds a RN degree from St. Francis School of Nursing and a Doctorate in Health Sciences from Sheffield University. She was sole founder and CIO of IKOR International Inc., providing patient advocacy and professional guardianship services to the profoundly disabled and seniors, a company that from Chester County has grown to more than 70 offices in 20 states. She has served as board member for the YMCA of Brandywine Valley and the Kennett Senior Center. She has the financial experience of successfully running a company and the assets of other individuals for many years. She has conducted her entire business career guided by the core values of integrity, transparency and trust, which she brings to County government. Patricia uses her corporate experience to ensure the Office of the Treasurer maintains tight accounting controls and the ability to innovate to improve services.
Patricia Maisano’s Facebook
PA Supreme Court (one vacancy; the state’s court of last resort, with seven justices for whom a full term is 10 years, with retention thereafter subject to voters; currently 5 D’s and 2 R’s, of whom one reaches mandatory retirement age of 75 during 2021)
Maria McLaughlin (endorsed by State Committee and CCDC)
A lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, first in her family to attend college, Maria McLaughlin personifies hard work. She grew up in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia and graduated from Penn State and Delaware Law School-Widener University. During her final year of law school, she clerked for the President Judge of the Superior Court, where she is now a member. For 19 years after law school, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia and Chief of the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Of utmost importance to her was safeguarding the rights of children. In 2017, she led the ticket statewide for a seat on the Superior Court. She has dedicated numerous hours to anti-violence, anti-drug, and re-entry programs, youth organizations, and helping women in prisons prepare for success outside the prison system. She has often been an instructor or guest speaker on a variety of topics for bar associations, schools, universities and law schools. Giving back to the community was instilled in her from an early age. She and her husband, Jonathan Saidel, treasure their blended family of six adult children and four grandchildren.
Maria McLaughlin’s web site, Facebook
PA Superior Court (one vacancy and 2 judges running for retention): 15 ten-year judge positions; one of two statewide intermediate appellate courts, PA Superior Court reviews most of the civil and criminal cases appealed from Courts of Common Pleas; the 14 current non-senior judges are split evenly between D’s and R’s.
Timika Lane (endorsed by CCDC)
Judge Timika Lane was born and raised in West Philadelphia. After graduating from Howard University, she took on the challenge of teaching social studies to middle school students in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Following a successful teaching career, she decided to pursue a career in law and in 2002 received her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers-Camden School of Law. She has represented clients in family law, from support to custody issues, and represented indigent families. She went on to work as a major trial attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia and then as Chief Legal Counsel for State Senator Anthony H. Williams and as the Democratic Executive Director for the Pennsylvania State Senate State Government Committee, where she challenged Pennsylvania’s restrictive Photo ID law, assessed the constitutionality of proposed and existing legislation, and provided legal advice and guidance regarding the legal implications of legislation, regulations, and administrative policies. In 2013, she decided to pursue a seat on the Court of Common Pleas and despite seemingly insurmountable odds was elected. She handles cases in human trafficking, domestic/family violence, sexual assault, attempted murder, aggravated assault, arson, robbery and burglary. She is a member of many professional and civic boards and committees, and is active in ministries and relief programs.
Timika Lane’s web site, Facebook
Raised in Pittsburgh, Jill received a degree in criminal justice from George Washington University and served in various capacities with underprivileged populations like delinquent girls and adolescents on probation. After graduating at the top of her class from Duquesne University School of Law, she worked for the nonprofit KidsVoice, representing abused and neglected children in court. She spent the next 10 years as a law clerk under the Honorable Christine Donohue on Pennsylvania’s Superior and Supreme Courts, drafting decisions for criminal, civil, family, juvenile, and orphans’ court cases. In 2019 she became a civil litigator at Blank Rome, representing victims of domestic violence, assisting those experiencing housing insecurity, supporting low-income criminal defendants and litigants who represent themselves in court, and aiding in voter protection efforts. As a member of Blank Rome’s Pro Bono Coordinating Committee, she has addressed criminal justice reforms, civil rights, voter protection and the right to protest. She resides with her husband in Pittsburgh, where she is an active volunteer in her children’s classrooms and in her community. Jill knows that justice is served only when every person – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or income – has fair and equal access to the courts.
Jill Beck’s web site, Facebook. See her 1:33-minute video here.
Bryan was born and raised in Pittsburgh. The son of a small businessman and a lawyer, he attended UPenn and graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1989. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and their children. He began his career as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Superior Court and has a first-hand understanding of the Court’s caseload. He served for nearly 15 years in a leadership role, including as president, on the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Board of Governors, where he championed issues affecting women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members of the legal profession, promoted changes to the rules of professional conduct to prohibit bias, and chaired the committee responsible for drafting the Bar Association’s Code of Professionalism, still in use today. That work led the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to appoint him as a member, and later chair, of its charitable arm, the IOLTA Board, which oversees funding of agencies that provide legal services to those who cannot afford them. The values of hard work, fairness and access to justice continue to guide him every day.
Bryan Neft’s web site, Facebook
2021 Pennsylvania Elections Important Dates (from PA Department of State)
All dates in this calendar are subject to change without notice.
February 16, 2021 First day to circulate and file nomination petitions
March 9, 2021 Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions
March 10, 2021 First day to circulate and file nomination papers
March 16, 2021 Last day to file objections to nomination petitions
March 24, 2021 Last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions
May 3, 2021 Last day to REGISTER before the primary
May 11, 2021 Last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot
May 18, 2021 Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted mail-in and civilian absentee ballots (must be received by 8:00 P.M.)
May 18, 2021 MUNICIPAL PRIMARY
May 19, 2021 First day to REGISTER after primary
May 25, 2021 Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots (submitted for delivery no later than 11:59 P.M. on May 17)
August 2, 2021 Last day to circulate and file nomination papers
August 9, 2021 Last day to file objections to nomination papers
August 9, 2021 Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated by nomination papers
August 9, 2021 Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated at the primary
October 18, 2021 Last day to REGISTER before the November election
October 26, 2021 Last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot
November 2, 2021 Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted mail-in and civilian absentee ballots (must be received by 8:00 P.M.)
November 2, 2021 MUNICIPAL ELECTION
November 3, 2021 First day to REGISTER after November election
November 9, 2021 Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots (submitted for delivery no later than 11:59 P.M. on November 1)