The Nov. 5 municipal election is right around the corner, and The Times caught up with those vying for a spot on the Northampton Township board of supervisors. Running for a six-year term are Ann Marie Mitchell (D) and Rick Sorensen (D), and incumbents Barry Moore (R) and Adam Selisker (R).
Ann Marie Mitchell
Mitchell and her husband have lived in Northampton Township for 20 years, with their children educated in the Council Rock School District. She has worked in business in various capacities and practiced as a business lawyer (with education from Wharton School and Penn Law) for more than 25 years in Bucks County, Philadelphia and New York City. Mitchell is also the owner of several rescue pets, and is renovating an old stone farmhouse in the township. This is her first time running for political office, but said her experience will help her succeed.
“I believe the current board has left money on the table when they negotiate with vendors, developers and financial groups,” she said. “I will get to the heart of a matter quickly and efficiently. I know that every dollar counts and that budgets have limits.”
Mitchell said she decided to run for supervisor for a number of reasons.
“We need a fresh set of eyes to look at all that the community has to offer, while taking a closer look at how our tax dollars are being spent and rethinking how we maintain and manage township resources for the future. By not maintaining local roads, past boards have allowed more roads to need repair than there is money to fix them. Water and sewer costs are increasing rapidly and we have to address service levels as contracts expire,” she said. “I believe my strong business background, ability to see the bigger picture and experience outside the township is needed to take us forward in the best way possible.”
If elected, Mitchell wants to “get back to basics” and away from “small-town insider politics.”
“Our township leadership must become more transparent, wiser stewards of our tax money. All town residents should be invited to participate, ask questions and serve as volunteers – roles that appear to be limited by the incumbents to insiders and friends,” she said.
She would also balance development “in a thoughtful way while preserving the character and small-town feel of Northampton.”
“By emphasizing resources like the sports, recreation and cultural attractions that we offer our residents, we will draw and support work/lifestyle centers and smart growth,” she said. “Day to day issues like road repairs, traffic and nuisances that affect quality of life have to be addressed while we modernize township services, develop a long-term plan and seek non-tax resources.”
Why should people vote for Mitchell?
“I will provide the fresh eyes and independent, well-qualified leadership that we so clearly need on our board. As a mother, I am mindful of the impact the decisions we make have on our families, our senior residents and our children and the community at large,” she said. “I believe my straightforward and transparent approach and business and legal acumen will be of great value. I am the only candidate with this unique background.”
Sorensen and his wife have lived in Northampton for almost 33 years, with their two grown sons Council Rock graduates. He has spent more than 40 years in customer service, is an engineer by training and a technical representative by trade. He also ran the local service department of a multinational firm, servicing vital life safety systems. Additionally, Sorensen worked with the local YMCA to train and teach traditional martial arts. This is his first time running for political office.
“I feel that township supervisors should do things for the township and residents, not to them. It is apparent to me that the incumbents don’t share that view,” Sorensen said. “I think the first issue directly speaks to the ethical foundation I have always believed in – a conviction that positions in the township administration, such as tax collector or supervisor mid-term appointments, should not be limited by political party affiliation and past associations with government officials.”
If elected, Sorensen said residents who are willing to serve on township boards and commissions should be selected based upon their talents and desire to serve, “not upon their connections.” He would work to fix the financial state of the township, which he said is currently $38 million in debt; safeguard the local government from “unethical favoritism;” make contracting with the township a fair and open process; hold the local government accountable to the needs and demands of residents; make roads safer by adding sidewalks and bike lanes to major commercial areas; and work with local business groups to fill empty storefronts.
Why should people vote for Sorensen?
“Northampton needs a fresh perspective on how our money is spent, enhanced ethical standards, renewed respect for our residents,” he said. “Our government needs a clear understanding of exactly who works for whom.”
Moore has lived in Northampton Township for just over 25 years, with his four children all Council Rock graduates. He spent 30 years in corporate America as a financial executive for companies such as General Motors, for which he spent three years in Dublin, Ireland working as president of a bank. A lifetime environmentalist, Moore founded the family-owned business Moore Energy, which specializes in solar installations around the tristate area and is headquartered in Southampton. He’s also an active volunteer with various sports programs and previously served as president of Churchville Nature Center.
He has been a Northampton supervisor for six years.
“I ran for supervisor because I think Northampton Township has just outstanding people, great neighborhoods, great schools, great parks, things like that. But I was very upset with the condition of the downtown areas of Richboro and Holland,” Moore said. “A lot of the things that should’ve been happening weren’t happening. With my background in business and finance, I thought I could help the township make some improvements.”
These improvements include selling the formerly vacant Richboro Elementary School in a public auction and raising more than half a million dollars for the township; revitalizing the formerly vacant Davis Pontiac site, which now boasts a Wawa, restaurants and Irish pub; and the implementation of LERTA – a tax abatement program for people who want to invest in the community.
Moore said he’s also proud of his ability to secure $25 million in state grants for the township over the last six years, which he said is “probably more money than they’ve gotten back in the last 100 years.” According to Moore, this money was used for local parks and a new police station, and eventually new sidewalks and crosswalks in Richboro.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress over the last six years, but I think there’s still a lot more things to do. I want to see downtown Richboro and Holland become more walkable, and so we want to make more improvements in those areas,” he said.
If re-elected, Moore said he would also work to keep the number of local firefighters from diminishing.
“We need to make more improvements in getting paid firemen on the payroll, plus we need to make improvements on the fire house,” he said.
Why should people vote for Moore?
“Adam [Selisker] and I are running as a team. One thing I know about the township, we have a very good board that works well together. Everybody comes from different backgrounds, but Adam and I are both business people, and I think running a township is a business. You have to understand what’s involved in the township, and we’re lifelong residents of the township,” Moore said. “We know how to get things done for the community. And not only do I have my children living in my town, but I have three grandchildren living in Northampton.”
Selisker, a husband, father of three, graduate of Council Rock High School, Delaware Valley University and St. Joseph’s University, and township resident for more than 40 years, is the global vice president for research and development for Global Chemical Company. He has been a volunteer firefighter in Northampton since 1980, and has served as fire chief for 20 years. Selisker was appointed to the board of supervisors last year to fill an unfinished term. This is his first election for a full term.
“I really enjoy it. I enjoy the work. Northampton is a great place to live. I’ve been there for a long time, and I want to keep it a great place to live. The rest of the board members are good folks to work with,” he said. “Everybody’s community first, which I really like. We have good, healthy discussions. We respect each other’s positions and it’s a good environment to help guide the township.”
For Selisker, a highlight of his tenure has been lending his first responder knowledge and expertise to the board.
“That is one of the core functions that the supervisors need to provide is police, fire, emergency medical services,” he said.
If elected, he would work to pave more miles of road per year and keep them in good condition through a sustainable road improvement and repair program.
“It won’t happen overnight, but we need to start somewhere and I’d like to see it start now,” he said.
Additionally, Selisker said he would make the “safety and security” of residents a priority, and work to improve traffic flow around town.
“Many of these roads have been here a long time, and the amount of traffic that travels over them now has increased exponentially over the years,” he said. “We have to try to keep it flowing and keep it safe.”
Why should people vote for Selisker?
“I’m passionate about Northampton. I’m passionate about keeping it a great place to live,” he said. “I’ve lived here a long time and I’m 100 percent dedicated to the success of our township.” ••
Visit buckscounty.org for additional election information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org