Apr. 28—Four Republicans are vying for their party's nominations for two seats on the Robeson Township Board of Supervisors, while on the Democratic ballot, three candidates are competing for the two nominations.
The two successful candidates from each party will square off in the general election in November for six-year terms on the board.
Two incumbents, Joy A. Graham and Harold W. Steve Jr., are among the candidates.
We asked the candidates to respond to two questions:
Question 1: What issue is driving you to run for office?
Question 2: What are you learning when you talk to voters?
Joya Browne, 58
Background: I am a hardworking woman who's been grateful to reside in Robeson Township for the last 17 years. I have enjoyed a long and successful professional background in project planning and purchasing.
Response 1: Recent events have demonstrated, to me, the value of local representation that mirrors my sensibilities and values. I am a progressive and consider myself a commonsense driven Democrat. I am anxious to put my professional skills and my common sense, fiscally conservative approach to use to benefit all of my neighbors in Robeson Township.
Response 2: Voters with whom I have met during this campaign have expressed strong concerns about local road maintenance, protecting our resources and how to best use our tax contributions. These are priorities of mine, too, and I will be driven to create and maximize opportunities to address these worries for myself as well as for all of our neighbors in Robeson Township.
Nick Pupillo, 36
Background: I'm a small business owner and co-owner of a family-owned-and-operated company in the area. Temple University alumnus.
Response 1: My top priority is to get more out of our local tax dollars by putting the money back into the township beginning with the local infrastructure and schools. I want to focus on repairing potholes on local roads in our community more quickly. I plan to start with White Bear Road and work up to the quarry. After that, we will focus on repairing the rest of the roads in our township. Please contact me with questions at email@example.com.
Response 2: One of the main things that comes up when I am speaking with voters is that they want the elected position to be the primary focus of the supervisor board member. The emphasis should be on what is best for the township as a whole, not just a select few. This position will be my only priority while I am serving our community. I am willing to put forth 100 percent effort, and I am so excited for the opportunity to give back. I plan to serve to the best of my ability through commitment, communication and dedication to the people of our township. Please find me on Facebook at "Nick Pupillo for Robeson Township Supervisor."
Joy A. Graham, 60
Background: I have been in computers since 1979 and was employed in information technology until 1989. I had a daughter and went back to school at Reading Area Community College to obtain my degree in both information technology and business management. I breed dogs, repair computers and currently have a notary in Birdsboro.
Response 1: The community needs the board to change. Some regulations are state-mandated and we have no control over those issues. But remember three votes by the board is all that is needed to change anything regardless of what the community wants. In order for that to occur the community needs to have their opinions, concerns and issues heard. That's what the board is supposed to be, the voice of the community. It is currently not as some of those in office benefit either directly or indirectly from choices that are made. I thoroughly disagree with that and feel that's the reason most candidates run is for their own gain or interests. The community is all that matters in the end and changes are necessary to achieve that goal. Residents keep coming to meetings and hold us accountable. Be a part of the solution.
Response 2: I am currently a supervisor and have learned that there are many issues that impact the community and they are not informed. I originally tried to get the current board to use technology to get the community involved. They refused, people can come to meetings; that is not the reality of life and COVID forced the board to be virtual. I firmly believe the community is entitled to have both in-person and virtual meetings following CDC guidelines. Understanding we live in a rural community and want to stay that way keep our farmland and open spaces are critical to most residents from the concerns I have heard. I encourage the community to speak to board members about their issues. We represent the community at their request. We do not have the right to disregard their wishes and pretend we didn't hear. There is not enough transparency for the residents.
Robert Deeds, Jr., 62
Background: Semi-retired builder
Response 1: Since I'm semi-retired, I have more time to devote to the township. Being a former supervisor I'm seeing the wasteful spending going on in the township. The roads are not being maintained properly, and the snow plowing is very poor. The road workers need someone to direct them on when, where and how to maintain and plow the roads. The township purchased trucks that weren't needed. There are ordinances that are not being enforced to all residents.
Response 2: The road repair and snow plowing need improvement. The residents want to remove the current engineer. The residents want more businesses in the township to help with the taxes. The residents want open meetings rather than virtual. Some supervisors have negative feelings toward the residents.
Jeffrey Rhoads, 42
Background: Served on the board for youth sports association as well as for my local volunteer fire department. I have run multiple successful businesses as well.
Response 1: Robeson Township is a great place to live and raise a family. It's time for some change and we as residents deserve that change. If elected, I will speak for every resident of the township and work towards making Robeson Township an even better place to live. I will work towards keeping the township rural and cozy but explore opportunities to financially benefit the township in areas that allow it; whether it's businesses or property use to gain tax revenue to benefit the residents. I believe in transparency for our residents and I will support our police and fire departments by providing them with the tools they need to advance beyond 2021. I ask for your support on May 18, 2021, at the polls. Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. Thank you.
Response 2: I'm learning that the residents want change, transparency and want someone who will listen to their concerns and follow through on addressing those concerns.
Harold Steve, 64
Background: Raised in Robeson Township. Spent four years in the Army and returned to Robeson Township. Worked for Philadelphia Electric prior to starting my own business in Robeson Township. I'm also a part-time instructor at a local career and technology education center.
Response 1: I am finishing my first term as a supervisor; there are many issues that affect our local government. I have taken a business approach to problem solving and educating myself when new issues arise. When we were faced with the comprehensive planning update I signed up and took the planning courses (at my own expense) that were offered by the center of excellence in government. In addition I sit on the sewer authority for Robeson and the Geigertown area. Local issues are very complex and some have been pushed off for decades only to face impending regulatory resolution.
Response 2: The most common thing that resonates with the voters is communication. Our society has relied on the newspaper to communicate meetings, legal notices etc. as required by law. The problem is that a lot of the voters have stopped reading the paper. The township has recognized this and has established a website as well as a Facebook page. There is that population of citizens who do not use computers and do not care for the format of Facebook/ Social media. The newspaper no longer sends reporters to cover the meeting, which creates yet another void. Thought has been given to create a newsletter and mail it quarterly. However, that's an increase in budgetary expenses, and it too may go unread. If elected I believe a resolution can be reached with the assistance of the other supervisors.
Timothy B. Bitler (no response provided by this candidate).