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Big Shoes to Fill

In a previous post, I mentioned that some candidates for office might enter a race for Township Supervisor as the stepping stone to a future political career. This caused me to look into who In the Pennsylvania political world started out as Supervisor. There have been several prominent Pennsylvania politicians who began their political careers as township supervisors.

Here are a few examples:

Tom Ridge served as the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2001 and later became the first Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush. Ridge supposedly began his political career as a township supervisor in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Governor Ridge is a hometown hero and has been honored numerous times within the County. The Tom Ridge Center at the Presque Isle State Park entrance, Tom Ridge Field at the Erie International Airport, and many other forms of recognition for this favored son of Erie County can be found.

Let’s not forget Ed Rendell, who served as the Governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011. Before becoming Governor, Rendell served as the Mayor of Philadelphia. However, prior to his mayoral tenure, he started his political career as a township supervisor in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania. Yes, he cut his teeth in local government before hitting the big stage in a significant role as mayor and then Governor.

Arlen Specter was a long-serving U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, representing the state from 1981 to 2011. Specter began his long political career as an assistant district attorney, but he also served as a township supervisor in Philadelphia's Philadelphia County.

Allyson Schwartz is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district from 2005 to 2015. She started her political career as a township supervisor in Abington Township, Pennsylvania.

These are just a few examples of Pennsylvania politicians who began their careers as township supervisors. It's worth noting that serving as a township supervisor can provide valuable experience and a foundation for a successful political career at higher levels of government. Undoubtedly, each of these examples learned valuable political lessons in their original roles. Perhaps the future holds great things for you as well. Step up to the challenge and know that KMS is there to assist in guiding your municipality to a positive step forward in the future. “Fire up the ballot box, and get ready to lead.”


About the Author

David L. Anthony is a member of the Keystone Municipal Solutions team of experts. He is a veteran of municipal government, having served more than 33 years in various positions of public service. Contact him at To learn more about David and the Keystone Municipal Solutions team, click here.

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