Tredyffrin’s Republican Candidate for State House 157 Withdraws from Race . . . Leaving me with the Question, Where is the Integrity and Honesty in this Township?

I have really struggled for the last 2 days as to how write this post.  On Wedneday night the TTRC held a straw poll which included the State House 157 race.  There were 3 candidates — Judy DiFilippo, Warren Kampf and Ken Buckwalter.  As a result of the straw poll, Judy did not feel that there was support from the Republican committee for her to continue in this race. 

Challenging myself to remain fair and balanced on issues, I feel compelled to speak out on this topic.  Sure, Judy and I have been the best of friends for nearly 20 years, so I openly admit to bias when I say that many Republican committee people of Tredyffrin Township simply ‘got it wrong’ on Wednesday night.  It escapes me why you would not support the person with the highest level of integrity, honesty and commitment of anyone that I know.  Judy is the kind of person who governed with honesty and fairness, as she did for 20 years as a member of the Board of Supervisors.  Judy doesn’t look at issues based on a political slant, or make decisions based on how many votes that she may ‘win’ or ‘lose’.  Judy didn’t just ‘serve’ the township, she was one of us . . . she loves this community and its residents, not because it was her ‘job’ but because she believed in us! 

But instead, many of the township Republican committee people cast their vote for Warren Kampf. Have you not been watching the actions of Mr. Kampf for the last 2 months; his decisions in regards to the BAWG report, the $50K cash offer from St. Davids, the political ‘cardboard check’ for the firefighters rather than restoring funding to the township budget, and then his latest decision . . . casting out policies and procedures of our local government in lieu of  ‘making up the rules’ and setting precedent for special treatment for a  country club. 

I know many of the Republican committee people personally so I am left wondering, when did integrity, honesty and commitment to this community and its voters stop mattering?  With her withdrawal from the race, Judy is no longer a choice for the Republican committee members. Before you take your vote to Chester County Republican Committee meeting on February 20, I would encourage you to seriously review the actions of Mr. Kampf on the Board of Supervisors (particularly during the last 2 months).  After review, I think that you should then look at Republican candidate Ken Buckwalter from Phoenixville.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ken and he represents that same type of commitment to the community as Judy.  He believes in serving all the residents with equal and measured leadership.  I want to see a May primary between current State House Rep  Paul Drucker (D) and Ken Buckwalter (R); they both represent experience, honesty and integrity.

Even as Judy makes the disappointing decision to leave the State House race, she does so with her brand of honesty and truthfulness.  Below is an email sent to her supporters:

Dear Friends –

As many of you know I have been seeking support as a candidate for the 157th State House District.  I am writing to you to let you know that today I have officially withdrawn my name from consideration. 

A straw vote taken last evening showed that the majority of the Republican Committee members have decided to support one of two other candidates.  I have called both of them and wished them well as they endeavor to win a recommendation or an endorsement.

 I want to let you know how much I appreciate the support you gave me through your words of encouragement, by your willingness to allow me to use your name on my letterhead, or by saying, ‘How can I help?’.  

 I know not what the future holds, but I know I have been blessed with your friendship.

With deepest gratitude,

 Judy

What is a Leader?

As we close out one year, and begin a new one, we all reflect on our lives.  As I watched the last few Board of Supervisor meetings, I reflected on the effect that Judy DiFillipo’s retirement would have on our community.  Having served this township as a supervisor for 20 years, I wrote the following ‘As I See It’ article for this week’s edition of Main Line Suburban Life newspaper to honor Judy and her leadership qualities that benefited the residents for 2 decades.  And as a means of full disclosure, . . . yes, Judy and I very close friends.

For those who do not receive the paper, here is my article:

    As I See It:

    Tredyffrin lost something special with DiFilippo’s departure

Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

By Pattye Benson

Year’s end is always a time of reflection. We look back over the last 12 months and take measure of where we are now in relation to where we were when the year began. As we begin 2010, the residents of Tredyffrin Township will have the opportunity to reflect on what will now be a “missing link” in our local leadership.

What makes a good leader? Not everyone is made to be a leader … there are leaders and then there are followers. Leaders come from all walks of life and economic backgrounds and from either gender. Leadership does not discriminate. For the last 20 years Tredyffrin Township was fortunate to have a “leader” in retiring Supervisor Judy DiFilippo. For many in the community, Judy represented what can and should be “good” about serving as an elected official. Whether you watched the Board of Supervisors meetings from home or sat in the audience, she possessed the ability to transform and command respect from others on either side of her.

Judy guided the township in an orderly and purposeful manner, even in situations of discontent and uncertainty in the community. As a supervisor she was tolerant of ambiguity and remained calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose… to serve the residents of Tredyffrin Township. We all knew that we could trust Judy; she governed as she lived her life, with honesty, integrity and strong internal guiding principles that she did not compromise. Judy “walked the talk” and in doing so earned our respect and the right to have responsibility for this community. Her “calming of the waters” approach to governing reassured us … we just all knew that it would be OK as long as Judy was guiding the ship.

Judy understood the importance of serving a wider community. We may not have always agreed with her decisions but we could be confident that the community’s best interests were at the core of her decisions. As a supervisor Judy could wade through difficult information, comprehend what is relevant, make a well-considered decision and take action based on that decision. Judy believed her purpose as an elected official was to serve all the community and did so with genuine concern for all of the residents. As a leader Judy inspired others to follow. She led yet people did not feel that they were being led. Judy served as a quiet leader without demanding recognition and praise, a quality that is quite rare among many elected officials.

I understand all too well her many attributes; our friendship goes back nearly as long as she served as a township supervisor. For close to 20 years our lives have been intertwined … standing next to each other as members of the Noteables; co-chairing the Tredyffrin 300 celebration as well as many other events for the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust; together producing the historical documentary, “Tredyffrin … The First 300 Years,” etc. For me Judy has been the one constant friend in my life who would listen first, counsel second and never judge my decisions (even if she did not always agree with them). A true sign of a gifted leader (and close friend) is someone who really listens; the fastest and most effective way to show that you care and that you are competent. Many of us are challenged by the concept of listening but not Judy. I envy this natural talent in my friend and just another quality that sets her apart from many in the world of politics.

A good leader is committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to success. Judy not only maintained a high standard for herself but also was proactive in raising the bar in order to achieve excellence in all areas. Just her presence makes those around her want to be better people.

How will we feel that the person who “set the bar” for 20 years, who created the real “gold standard” for Tredyffrin Township, is no longer sitting on the dais? Yes, we know that Judy will stay involved in our community, and yes, I know that she and I will remain the best of friends, but I fear that the residents of Tredyffrin Township lost something very special when Judy DiFilippo decided to retire from the Board of Supervisors.

Pattye Benson lives in Malvern.

Paoli Business Association names Judy DiFilippo as Citizen of the Year; Barbara Tachovsky as Business Person of the Year; and Beautification Award to Paoli Hospital

Each year the Paoli Business & Professional Association (PBPA) names a Citizen of the Year, Business Person of the Year and Business of the Year.  The PBPA named Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Judy DiFilippo as Citizen  of the Year; Paoli Hospital President Barbara Tachovsky as Business Person of the Year; and Beautification Award to Paoli Hospital.  Below is the Letter to the Editor that I wrote which appears in today’s Main Line Suburban newspaper.

__________________________________________________

Celebrating excellence in the community

To the Editor:
Annually the Paoli Business & Professional Association (PBPA) selects a “Business Person of the Year” and “Citizen of the Year” and gives a “Beautification” award. Some years the PBPA Board of Directors labors over its decisions with much discussion. However, this year the choices were immediate and the vote unanimous. The honorees were recently celebrated at our 2009 Annual Banquet held at the Farmhouse at People’s Light & Theatre in Malvern.

Paoli Hospital president Barbara Tachovsky was chosen Business Person of the Year for providing outstanding leadership for the hospital’s mission, values and goals. Barbara is responsible for developing and implementing the master plan at Paoli Hospital, which includes the five-story patient-care tower, the Pavilion. Under Barbara’s leadership, Paoli Hospital has been named to the list of 100 Best Hospitals in the country. We thank Barbara for her vision for what Paoli Hospital “could be” and then the leadership and ability to make it happen.

The decision in the Citizen of the Year category was equally as easy this year. Retiring at the end of this year from the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Judy DiFilippo was named the Paoli Business and Professional Association’s selection for Citizen of the Year. Judy is currently serving her fifth four-year term as township supervisor and will retire at the end of 2009, having served 20 years. The best reflection of Judy’s skills lies in her long-term outcomes. With outstanding civic and charitable responsibility, Judy has demonstrated through her leadership a generosity of spirit that embodies the idea that volunteerism and community service must be inclusive for all and can enrich all our lives.

The Paoli Hospital was named our choice for this year’s Beautification Award. The new 259,000-square-foot Pavilion officially opened in July. The Pavilion features 124 private patient rooms, a new Emergency Department, new surgical suites, outside courtyards and a three-story Atrium that connects to the parking garage. From the moment you step inside the doors of the new Pavilion, the interior design creates a calming, peaceful environment through generous use of glass and neutral colors. Over 350 carefully selected pieces of art continue the theme of bringing nature inside and helping create a sense of serenity for visitors and patients alike.

We salute Paoli Hospital for setting a new standard in community hospitals. We salute Barbara and Judy for their vision, leadership and commitment to our community.

Pattye Benson, Board of Directors, Paoli Business & Professional Association