NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> Four candidates are vying for two open, six year seats on the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors.
Incumbent Democrats John Mack and board appointee Dennis Fisher are facing a challenge from Republicans TJ Butler and Daniel Boyle.
The outcome of the race could determine political control of the board. The Democrats currently enjoy a four to one majority. If the two Republicans win it would tip control to the GOP. If one or both Democrats win control will remain with the Democrats.
The Advance of Bucks County asked each of the candidates to respond to a question - in their own words - about why they are running and the biggest challenge facing the township. Here are their responses:
John Mack (D)
The most pressing issue facing Newtown Township is the significant financial shortfalls, which are primarily caused by the loss of past Earned Income Tax revenue when Lockheed Martin left town and a reduction in Real Estate Transfer Tax revenues due to diminishing development of new housing projects and other factors. Yet there is a possibility of Newtown losing its semi-rural charm and becoming a modern-day “Pottersville” through over development. It is imperative that Supervisors have the necessary EXPERIENCE and TIME to devote to develop a 5-year financial plan and a new 10-year Comprehensive Plan to deal with these problems and make the right decisions that benefit all residents. As a Supervisor, retired businessman, and member of my homeowners’ association executive board, I have the experience and time necessary to devote to the job.
I am a long-time resident of Newtown Township and a retired small businessman and online publisher of a pharmaceutical newsletter with a BA degree from Franklin & Marshall College, an MS and MPhil degree in Biochemistry from Columbia University and an MA degree in Communication Arts from the New York Institute of Technology.
I am currently serving as Secretary of the Country Bend Owners Association Executive Board as well as Secretary/Assistant Treasurer on the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors. I am married to my lovely wife Debbie for 34 years have two sons who attended Council Rock public schools and Penn State University.
Dennis Fisher (D)
I am running to serve. Twelve years of serving on the Planning Commission and the Environmental Advisory Council have prepared me for this time. My understanding of Land Use issues and my ability to build consensus with other points of view will be critical as we develop the 10-year Comprehensive Plan to guide Newtown’s future. I believe I have a unique sense of the Newtown community and a large network of relationships built on the trust of many years of civic service and non-profit leadership.
Economic Development - In years ahead Newtown Township (NT) will be challenged to maintain excellent public services while strengthening our financial position. As the liaison to the Financial Planning Committee I was a leader of building consensus to obtain a Pennsylvania Community and Economic Development matching grant. This grant will allow NT to initiate a proactive multi-year budgeting strategy. I would also seek professional connections with county officials and local organizations to promote the township as the right fit for office and “high-tech” jobs.
During my 42-year behavior health career in Philadelphia I have developed excellent listening skills, an open mind and a willingness to build consensus. I served 12 years on both the Planning Commission and the Environmental Advisory Council. In 2017 I was elected Auditor. For years I have been leading missions in Appalachia and in Africa. I have been asked to assume leadership of local, regional, national and international non-profits. As a current Newtown Township Supervisor, I have learned to embrace the requirements of the position. I will focus on keeping Newtown a great place to live, work and worship.
Daniel Boyle (R)
My wife and I moved to Newtown when I left that Marine Corps in 2011. We fell in love with the combination of a loving, close-knit community with great schools and a unique small business district with accessibility to major cities but maintains open and expansive safe, residential communities. I am running for office because all of these things have come under attack. Taxes have risen each of the last two years. Overdevelopment has squeezed our local businesses and our Newtown neighbors that run them. People are trying to replace our small community with a larger corporate development center. And I do not believe that is what is best for the residents of Newtown.
I graduated from Temple University where I met my wife Lisa, a standout basketball star at Temple. We have seven children, including Gavin who has Down Syndrome, which is why my wife and I were so thrilled to move into the amazing Council Rock school district. I spent eight years following graduation in the United States Marine Corps, including multiple Iraq deployments. I work in financial services as an Investment Banker. And I am a concerned Newtown resident who expects to raise my family here for years to come and hopes my family will raise their families here and I believe that real change only occurs when we are willing to put ourselves at the point of friction in a position to effect that change.
TJ Butler (R)
As a 25-year resident of Newtown, I want to preserve the values that have shaped Newtown into one of the best places to live, work and shop in Bucks County. As our community continues to grow, we need to support our local business owners, use common sense when approving development (commercial or residential) and get back to maintaining fiscal responsibility.
I am a 25-year resident of Newtown Township and a Council Rock graduate. I have served on the Newtown Grant HOA, coached youth sports for more than eight years, served on the Board for NIFA and CRWA and I volunteer at my church. I live in Newtown Grant with my wife Jenelle and two children.