|Phillips a little uncomfortable shaking hands after debate|
|Dietz gets last-minute pointers from his daughter|
For his part, Barron tried his best to remain congenial. He admitted that he has made mistakes, but argued he is a different person at age 38 than he was at age 30.
|Arlene Klocek gives us a bright smile|
In robocalls, Barron has suggested that Phillips would try to privatize Gracedale. Phillips responded that, as Controller, he "would not take a policy position. I would not be pro or con. That goes out the window." As a Council member, Phillips admitted that he does support a free study of the advantages of forming a 501c3, and noted that pro-Gracedale Democrats like Bob Werner and Scott Parsons agree with him.
When it was over, I asked several Republicans whether Phillips had won. "He lost," responded one of them, a sentiment that was echoed by several others who are still going to vote for him.
Phillips came on too strong, while Barron was congenial and even spoke to a fellow who was heckling him during the debate.Barron actually apologized to the guy. People like sour sauce and sweet sauce, but Phillips was simply too sour.
In the Council debates, I'd expect to see John Cusick or Scott Parsons come out on top. Both are very knowledgeable about County government. Nobody works harder than Scott Parsons, who had a near 100% attendance rating at Council and Committee meetings last year.
This debate was far more civil, to the point where it became boring. Arlene Dereskiewicz Klocek had to nudge me awake at one point as I began to doze off.
Though they were all impressive, the winner of this debate would have to be Lori Vargo Heffner. She had a good self-deprecating sense of humor, and conveyed an image of sincerity that seemed to impress even the hard-line conservatives who surrounded me. "She seems like such a nice woman," a tea party member told me as the debate went on.
She was the sweet sauce to compliment the sour sauce from Phillips.
"Why the heck should you vote for a psychotherapist for County Council?" she asked. After the laughter subsided, this double master's degree recipient noted that 48% if the Countys budget deals with human services. "I feel I have something to offer."
Cusick, a high school math teacher who is a bit a=of a wonk, championed the idea of converting Gracedale into a 501c3 before other counties began actively pursuing it. He also spoke of needs for improvements at the 1870's era jail. "To say it's functionally obsolete is an understatement" he noted.
Parsons stressed his inclusive approach to government."Rs and Ds don't matter," he said. "We've got to make sure we provide the services to the people that need them."
Matt Dietz, whose young daughter was giving him a pep talk before the action started, worked his way up from a baggage handler at the Airport to a pilot and small business operator. He spiced his remarks with what people tell him as he goes door-to-door. From speaking to police officers and municipal officials, he pointed to a need for a central booking station in Northampton County so that officers can get back on the road. He'd also work for a more proactive approach to drug overdoses.
All the candidates did very well, and all certainly proved they are worthy of support.
At one point in the evening, Heffner offered this advice. "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don't say it mean." She seemed to follow that mantra the best. Phillips, not so much.