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Guide to local elections: head to head edition

Before we’ve given platform to only one candidate in a race, now we have both giving their views.


With November 8 coming closer with each passing day, elections big and small are ramping up to get those last few votes to win or keep office.

A lot of the attention has gone to national races in Pennsylvania: President, Senator, Attorney General, and others. What gets lost a lot of the time is the races for smaller offices, and so we gave a platform for a few local races that may not be getting a whole lot of press.

Pennsylvania 166th Legislative District: Greg Vitali (D) vs. Jim Knapp (R)

The 166th legislative district, comprising of Radnor Township, Haverford, and parts of Lower Merion, has Democratic incumbent Greg Vitali facing off against Republican challenger Jim Knapp for the office of state representative.

Vitali has been representing the 166th since 1993, and is the Democratic chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and has sponsored three environmental bills in the House this legislative session.

Campaign chair Scott Alberts said that the campaign is confident in winning in November, citing Vitali’s record in the House.

“He is very popular in the district,” Alberts said. “He has a good record in the House and is relying on that mostly in his campaign.”

He said that while Vitali hasn’t made many official campaign stops, he has campaigned extensively.

“It’s a very grassroots way of running a campaign,” he said. “Every day he goes door to door in the district, not as a candidate, but as their representative. He does this every day, even when there isn’t an election to win.”

Apart from the environmental acts proposed in the House, Alberts said that the greatest accomplishment of Vitali’s was opposing and leading the repeal of a controversial pay raise of state lawmakers, judges, and top-level executive officials in 2005.

“He refused the pay raise,” Alberts said. “He was against politicians lining their pockets from the beginning, and he stuck to his principles.”

Pennsylvania 157th Legislative District: Warren Kampf (R) vs. Hans van Mol (D)

The 157th District, which comprises of Tredyffrin Township, Paoli, and Phoenixville, has Republican incumbent Warren Kampf running against Democratic challenger Hans van Mol for the office of state representative.

Kampf has represented the 157th for five years, and is running for a third term. He serves on the Appropriations, Insurance, and Liquor Control committees. He is also Secretary of the Consumer Affairs committees.

Van Mol is the youngest candidate running for office in the state of Pennsylvania, at just 27 years of age. He worked as a competitive band instructor, inventory manager at J.W. Pepper and Son, and serves as the Parliamentarian of the Chester County Democratic Committee.

“I represent a new generation of leadership for Pennsylvania,” he said. “As the youngest candidate in Pennsylvania, I am able to give a voice for millennials and young people in the district and across the state.”

Van Mol said he went to over a dozen campaign events in the span of a week, from telling students at Phoenixville High School the importance of voting to the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville to rally Democrats.

“I always felt more of a connection with someone if I engaged with them directly,” he said. “And so that’s what I’ve been trying to do with my campaign.”

Van Mol’s campaign stresses the issues of education, the environment, and equality. Some policies he advocates for are equal pay for women, a severance tax on oil and natural gas companies, and a “fair funding formula” for public schools.

“Everybody should be treated and represented fairly and equally,” he said. “That’s really what I’m campaigning on, and what shapes my policy proposals.”

The Blackfriar Chronicle reached out to Jim Knapp and Warren Kampf, but neither returned phone calls.

About John McClatchy

Jack McClatchy started writing for the paper his freshman year, and has previously served as the News Editor during the 2015-2016 school year before becoming the first PR Director for the 2016-2017 school year. He is the President of the World Affairs Club, and is involved in the Academic Competition, Diversity Awareness, Speech and Debate, and Mock Trial clubs. He lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania along with his brother Luke (A pretty cool dude).

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