The League of Women Voters in publishing this material neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted, and does not assume responsibility for the content of any candidate’s reply.

Candidates appear in ballot order. Democrats are listed first in each race, as Pennsylvania currently has a Democratic governor. Where candidates are on both ballots, the Democratic ballot order is used.

Only candidates in contested races were asked to provide information.

Misspellings have not been corrected by the League of Women Voters.

/// indicates a candidate exceeded the allowed word limit of 50 words for biographical information, and 75 words for the answer to the question.


Primary Election 2017

Allentown races



School Director

Magisterial District Judge



Vote for one; 4-year term.

Candidates were asked:
"What do you view as the major issue in this campaign and how will you address it?"


Charles F. Thiel

D.O.B.: 1966

EDUCATION: University of Valley Forge; Bachelor of Science (1989); Lacey Township High School (1984)

OCCUPATION: President, Thiel Strategic Communications, LLC

QUALIFICATIONS: President, Thiel Strategic Communications, LLC. Extensive executive experience, both as President of Allentown Chamber of Commerce and as General Manager/VP of Business Development for Communication Systems, Inc., a security and technology company. Allentown School Board Director since 2013.

RESPONSE: Allentown has made great progress, but that has stalled because of political turmoil and cloud of corruption charges. I will work to rebuild trust in City Hall by being open, honest, and focused on service to taxpayers. My diverse background – former pastor, social worker, long-time business executive, community leader – provides me with the knowledge and experience to move Allentown forward. Our citizens deserve safe, clean neighborhoods and development that benefits all areas of our city.


Joshua Siegel

FB: Joshua Siegel for Allentown Mayor

D.O.B.: 1993

EDUCATION: B.A. International Relations and Diplomacy, Seton Hall University

OCCUPATION: Former Student Publicist at Seton Hall University, Field Organizer 183rd Legislative Race, 2016. Currently campaigning full-time.

QUALIFICATIONS: Experience at the municipal level: Bergen County Democratic Party and field organizing 183rd state house race, leader of student activist organization.

RESPONSE: The clearest issue in Allentown at the moment is ensuring that individuals view the government as honest and trustworthy. The job of the next administration will be to restore faith in government, limit the influence of money and rebuild the democratic process by providing people greater access to the budgetary process and implementing a voter voucher system. We have to bring to an end the era of big money in politics.


Siobhan Sam Bennett

FB: Bennett for Mayor of Allentown 2017

D.O.B.: 1957

EDUCATION: S.U.N.Y. Art/Economics B.A.: Regents Scholar; Deans List.

OCCUPATION: Allentown Businesswoman

QUALIFICATIONS: 32 year Allentown Businesswoman/National CEO: WCF/SSR; Mayfair; Historic Benner Mansion. 36 year Founder Blight/Crime-Fighting Programs: Properties of Merit; William Allen Construction Company. ONLY with positive relationship Governor/Harrisburg/D.C. keep NIZ thriving; ONLY endorsed PA Democratic Latino and African-American Caucus Leadership; Term Limits.

RESPONSE: Restore Faith In City Hall - Institute Mayoral Term Limits/Campaign Finance Rules. Solve Decades Old Crippling Chronic Issues - Correct Negative Perceptions of Crime/School District; Dramatically Reduce Absentee Landlords/Landlord Barons. Deliver Prosperity for Entire City - End Blight; Grow Small Business/Historic Preservation; Clean Up Neighborhoods; Address Drug Addiction. Grow Downtown NIZ Momentum - Only candidate including incumbent Mayor with DAY ONE positive relationships with Governor, Harrisburg and D.C. keeping downtown NIZ thriving, reducing everyone’s tax burden.


David S. Jones Sr.

D.O.B.: 1964

EDUCATION: Graduate Dieruff High School 1982; Professional Certification HR Management 1997; Professional Certification Organizational Development 1999; Professional Certification in Six Sigma 2002; Pastoral Studies 2004.

OCCUPATION: Senior Pastor

QUALIFICATIONS: Lehigh County Board of Commissioners 10 yrs, 25 yrs of executive level experience leading and developing complex organizations,10 yrs nonprofit leadership consultant.

RESPONSE: Corruption is a major issue. I will make sure our Government is conducting the people’s business in an honest, fair and transparent public way ensuring equal access for every person. Economic growth beyond the downtown is a must for a city of which suffers the distinction of having 1/3 of its people living below the poverty line. I will lead efforts to explore ways to leverage the city’s assets to create more living wage jobs.


Ed Pawlowski

D.O.B.: 1965

EDUCATION: MA Urban Planning and Public Policy-University of Illinois, Chicago; BA Theology- Moody Bible Institute

OCCUPATION: Mayor-City of Allentown

QUALIFICATIONS: Mayor since January 2006; President of Pennsylvania Municipal League, 2013-2014; Advisory Board, U.S. Conference of Mayors; Lehigh County Democratic Committee Jack Pressmann Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013; Bradbury-Sullivan 2014 Champion for Equality Award; Morning Call Top Work Places Award to the City of Allentown 2015///

RESPONSE: In my twelve years as mayor: We've balanced the budget and fixed deficits; Tackled and funded our pensions, saving our city from bankruptcy; Improved public safety (10 straight years of crime decreases); Ushered in over a billion in new development; Created thousands of new jobs; Did it all without raising your property taxes for twelve straight years. I want to continue to serve this city as mayor because I believe we can do even more.


Ray O’Connell

D.O.B.: 1949

EDUCATION: 1976 - Whitehall High School; 1971 - Kutztown State University, BS; 1977 - Lehigh University, M.ED.

OCCUPATION: Retired Allentown School District. City Council President.

QUALIFICATIONS: 38 years with Allentown School District; 8 years on City Council, past 3 years President of Allentown City Council.

RESPONSE: Bringing trust and leadership to the Mayor’s office in City Hall. I will unite us, not divide us with my administration. I will be a leader for all the residents. My policy positions include, but are not limited to: 1. Public safety; 2. Economic development; 3. Strengthening the relationship between the city and the school district; 4. Affordable housing; 5. Improving quality of life issues in all neighborhoods; 6. Forging a bond between city government, school district, and community.


Nathan L. Woodring

FB: Woodring for Mayor

D.O.B.: 1962

EDUCATION: Easton Area High School 1980. Lehigh Carbon Community College Professional Pilot Program.

OCCUPATION: Current Occupation Commercial Driver

QUALIFICATIONS: US Navy. Elected State Constable 4 years. Wilson Borough Council 2 years

RESPONSE: Economic Development, Education Debt, Government Corruption. I am proposing a home lottery and education lottery to stimulate local jobs and for the replacement of blighted properties. Education Lottery for 2 ,4 year prorgams also for flight training. Background checks for office holders to weed out persons who committed crimes, I feel allowing these persons to run for office and decieve the public taints the character and integrity of office.///



Nat Hyman

D.O.B.: 1963

EDUCATION: Parkland 1979; The Hill School 1981; Georgetown University (BA) 1987; Columbia University (Masters) 1987

OCCUPATION: CEO - Landau Jewelers. CEO - Hyman Properties

QUALIFICATIONS: CEO for 30 years of 2 large corporations, creating thousands of jobs. Awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine, Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young, and Muhlenberg College.

RESPONSE: This campaign is about the lack of integrity in Allentown’s government and a loss of trust in our elected officials. As the only outsider running for Mayor, I will bring transparency to our government, have zero tolerance for unethical behavior, and ensure and equal opportunity for all.


Luiz Garcia

FB: Garcia for Allentown

D.O.B.: 1980

EDUCATION: Saint Leo University, degree in Criminal Justice. PA State Police certificate, Law Enforcement, 2012-2013///

OCCUPATION: Allentown Police Detective, 2013 to present; Navy Military Police investigator, 2000 to present.///

QUALIFICATIONS: I have a passion for using my many years of experience dealing with community-related issues to help build long-lasting positive relationships with others, while achieving goal-oriented ideas.

RESPONSE: Accountability in City Hall. Accountability is something that I take very seriously in my professional life and my private life. As your next Mayor, accountability will become even more important to me. The Mayor’s time in office should be limited to no more than two terms. Upon taking office I will, within the first 100 days of my administration, send to City Council a proposed Ordinance which would amend Section 302 of the City Charter. ///



Vote for four; 4-year term.

Candidates were asked:
"What do you view as the major issue in this campaign and how will you address it?"



Ed Zucal

FB: Ed Zucal Allentown City Council

D.O.B.: 1957

EDUCATION: Graduate Northwestern Lehigh H.S 1976; attended Penn State University, 1976-1978; Graduate Southern Career Institute, 1988–Para-legal; Allentown Police Academy 1992 – graduate.

OCCUPATION: School Security Officer, Allentown School District; Deputy Coroner, Lehigh County (23 years)

QUALIFICATIONS: Longest Residing Resident running for this office (31 yrs.); Allentown Police Officer (24 years); Sergeant, formerly in charge of entire traffic division.///

RESPONSE: The major issue which currently plagues the City of Allentown is the perception that its governing body with the Mayor on down are a group of individuals destroying the city through their corruptive behavior. The citizens have lost faith, hope and the belief in the American governmental system. As an Elected Official and retired Police Officer I will watch and promise every citizen that any illegal activity by Allentown officials will be reported to the proper authorities and prosecuted to the fullest.


John Rosario

FB: John Rosario for City Council

D.O.B.: 1959

EDUCATION: Insurance broker, realtor, tax professional, notary public

OCCUPATION: Self-employed. B+R Enterprises, owner, 24 years in business in Allentown.

QUALIFICATIONS: I am qualified to serve as City Council and lend my business experience of 24 years running a successful business on 7th street in Allentown, I have created many jobs in the process ///

RESPONSE: Our city is in desperate need of new and innovative thinking, we need a clean slate. As a small business owner in Allentown for 24 years I believe that we can make a tremendous difference if we tackle the lack of homeownership amongst our less fortunate citizens. Many of our citizens are not invested in the process, this will eliminate our trash problems and will create a better environment for our children to have a steady household and neighborhoods where to develop.///


Eugene McDuffie

No response


Jessica Lee Ortiz

D.O.B.: 1978

EDUCATION: High School, William Allen 1997. Quick & Company, Finacial Analysis Special Needs, 2005. Lehigh Real Estate Institute, 2012.


QUALIFICATIONS: Human Relations Chair, 2016, 2017. Government Affairs Committee 2014 to 2017 Vice chair. Diversity Committee – Harrisburg, Washington DC & Lehigh Valley 2017 chair. Community Outreach Task Force 2017 chair. CareerForce mentor.

RESPONSE: Allentown’s current major issues is the division between our local elected officials. After meeting with all my opponents, mayoral candidates, & current elected officials, there’s one common demoninatior. The fact that NO ONE is willing to work with each. I’m willing to work with all my elected officals. I firmly believe in creating solutions and I’m willing to agree in order to create the best possible soultion for the people of Allentown.


Daniel A. Buglio

FB: Daniel A Buglio for Allentown City Council

D.O.B.: 1973

EDUCATION: Graduate: Weatherly High School, 1991. Graduate Police Academy, 1993, Associate’s in CJ. St. Louis University, 2005—Registered Medicolegal Death Investigator.

OCCUPATION: Police Officer/Deputy Coroner-Senior Investigator

QUALIFICATIONS: Public Service 20 years, City resident since 1998, Active Police Officer, Endorsed by the Allentown Firefighters and the Local 302, IAFF

RESPONSE: The major issue in this campaign that I am focusing on is simple: Change. Improvement. Trust. It’s time to break-away from the puppet-master regime in the current administration and install new faces with new ideas. I am not a career politician who has lost touch with the daily needs and concerns of our residents. My career has given me a unique perspective on the pains and challenges we all face. I will listen to everyone. I will respond.


Kenneth P. Heffentrager

No response


Cynthia Mota

No response


Julio A. Guridy

FB: Councilman Julio Guridy

D.O.B.: 1960

EDUCATION: Graduate of Freedom High School. B.A. From East Stroudsburg & Masters in Sociology from Indiana University.

OCCUPATION: Director of Contract Compliance at the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission

QUALIFICATIONS: 16 years on City Council, Former President of Council, Current Budget & Finance Committee Chair & Current Co-Chair of the Inclusionary Housing & Lower income Housing Committee.

RESPONSE: The major issues we must address in order to move Allentown Forward are first and foremost Open and Transparent Government. As co-sponsor and co-author of recent pay to play legislation, I will continue to work to ensure a fair process for those wishing to do business with the City, thus protecting taxpayer dollars and restoring trust in City Hall. Equally important, we must look to extending neighborhood and economic development throughout the City in order to build communities and opportunities for good family-sustaining wages.


Daryl L. Hendricks


D.O.B.: 1953

EDUCATION: Graduate Dieruff High School, 1971; Degree in Criminal Justice Admin. LCCC; completed numerous degree courses from Muhlenberg College’s Wescoe Sch.

OCCUPATION: Joint partnership in "Darter LLC", a real estate company.

QUALIFICATIONS: Allentown City Council, 3.5 years. Vice President of Council (2nd yr.), Chairman of Public Safety Committee, member of Business & Finance Committee. Council’s Liaison on AEDC and the Allentown Parking Authority.

RESPONSE: As Vice-President of City Council, I believe the biggest need is for open, honest, transparent and ethical government. I hold a leadership role in exposing and advocating for change to create a more open, responsive City Hall, through live-streaming of Council meetings and "Speak Up Allentown", an interactive website for comments, questions and polling on citizens’ most important concerns. A lifelong resident and 37-year veteran of the Allentown Police Department, my record speaks for itself.


No candidates



(Vote for one; 2-year term)


John Rosario

see above


Courtney A. Robinson

FB: courtneyrobinson

D.O.B.: 1982

EDUCATION: Graduate Parkland High School 2001; Attending Desales University

OCCUPATION: Account Manager working with small businesses throughout the United States.

QUALIFICATIONS: Former Member Democratic State Committee, Former Vice-Chair Lehigh County Democratic Committee

RESPONSE: The glut of blighted properties in Allentown is the greatest issue we must tackle. Far too many of our neighborhoods contain properties that are falling apart, filled with trash and a genuine threat to public health and safety. Tackling this issue will have a real impact on both the quality of life in our neighborhoods and home values. We must aggressively target these problem properties and use every tool to address these issues quickly.



Louis J. Hershman


Voter's Guide index page

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(City of Allentown except parts of wards 17 and 18)


(Vote for not more than four; 4-year term)

Candidates for school director may cross file to be on the ballots of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. They are listed below according to the Democratic ballot order. Cross-filed candidates are listed first, followed by those who are on the ballot of only one party.


Candidates were asked
"What do you view as the major issue in this campaign and how will you address it?"


Robert Walker

FB: me/RobertWalkerforASDboard

D.O.B.: 1969

EDUCATION: Graduate William Allen High School, 1986; Graduate Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, 1986.

OCCUPATION: Team Supervisor Counter Sales and Small Lighting Projects Champion at Colonial Electric Supply.

QUALIFICATIONS: William Allen Parent Teacher Student Association, Vice President-4years; William Allen Alumni Association, Treasurer; William Allen Touchdown Club – currently in my 6th year of volunteering.

RESPONSE: As we begin to rebuild and restore the Allentown School District, we must do so in a fiscally responsible way. Wasteful spending and high salary buyouts must end. We need to use taxpayer money prudently to give our students the best education possible, while keeping taxes justifiable for homeowners.


Sara Jane Brace

D.O.B.: 1984

EDUCATION: Northern Lehigh High School, 2002; B.S. University of Pittsburgh, 2006; M.Ed. DeSales University, 2010

OCCUPATION: Executive Director – Liberty Bell Museum of Allentown

QUALIFICATIONS: Appointed to Allentown School Board, 2017, Upside Allentown-Education Committee, Hamilton District Main Street Program-Marketing Committee, the Rising Sun Initiative Community At Large Honoree, 2014

RESPONSE: A major issue is the amount of money being paid out to charter schools by the public school system. Next school year the Allentown School District is expected to pay more than 40 million dollars to area charter schools. I will continue to work with and support the school district administration with showcasing the positive aspects of the district so parents want to keep their children in their community school with their community peers.



Phoebe D. Harris

FB: MsPhoebe4ASD

D.O.B.: 1965

EDUCATION: Graduate Elkton High School, 1983; Cecil County Vo-Tech, 1983; Attended Cecil College – North East Maryland, 1984; Graduate Tidewater University – Roanoke, VA, 2000.


QUALIFICATIONS: Son is currently a student in the Allentown School District who is enrolled in the Special Education Department program; Cecil County Board of Education – Food & Nutrition Department Secretary for Three Years///

RESPONSE: 80% of Allentown School District (ASD) children live below the poverty level. This needs to change, and we need to work to lower this number. The single parent households in the ASD need to be represented as well. A collaborative effort needs to be established between the Allentown City government and the ASD Board of Directors. 80% of the student population in ASD are minority, and I will be the voice for the minority majority.


Cheryl Johnson Watts

FB: cheryl4allentown

D.O.B.: 1963

EDUCATION: B.A. Princeton University 1985

OCCUPATION: Financial Advisor

QUALIFICATIONS: Member Princeton Alumni Schools Committee, 1985 – Present; Fellowship, Association of Public Policy and Management, SUNY at Stony Brook Summer 1984; Peer Tutor Counselor, Upward Bound, (Program for At-Risk Students from Paterson and Passaic NJ) Fairleigh Dickinson University Summer 1983.

RESPONSE: We must prioritize increasing our students’ ability to learn. Our children must be able to read and interpret proficiently at every grade level so they will be equipped to thrive in the 21st century. This means providing every possible resource for success. I will evaluate every decision on programming, policy and purchasing by how it will increase our students’ capacity to learn, first, and will encourage my colleagues to do so as well.


Lisa A. Conover

Facebook: People for Lisa Conover

D.O.B.: 1968

EDUCATION: Columbia High School, 1985; Attended the College of NJ, Ewing NJ, Education Administration/Supervision


QUALIFICATIONS: Education, Community, Youth and Family Advocate. 4 Children in Allentown School District. 19 yr old Physically Handicap son at Dieruff. 16 yr old son completed two year at Dieruff. Now attends PA Cyber Charter a parent choice alternative. 14 yr old daughter, 10 yr old son.

RESPONSE: Setting a Higher Standard is at the top of my list of goals in terms of what is to be accomplished and expected from Allentown School District. We must hold ourselves accountable to ensure nothing less than exceptional progress from our school district, it's administration and schools. It is our responsibility and duty to develop, build and support our children and our schools. The overall milieu of our Board, its Administration, trickled down to the lowest level of our schools must embrace the need for change.



(Vote for one; 6-year term)

Candidates for MDJ may cross-file to be on the ballots of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. They are listed below according to the Democratic ballot order.

Candidates in contested races were asked to answer this question:
What does the phrase "judicial independence" mean to you?



(Allentown Wards 2, 12 and 19)


David Howells Jr.


(Allentown Wards 14 & 15, Catasauqua Borough and Hanover Township)


Michael D. D’Amore


(Allentown Ward 16 and Salisbury Township)


Michael J. Pochron

(Salisbury Township)

FB: PochronMDJ

D.O.B.: 1955

EDUCATION: Graduate Salisbury High School 1973; B.S. East Stroudsburg University 1977

OCCUPATION: Magisterial District Judge Salisbury Twp. and Allentown 16th ward District Court 31-1-08

QUALIFICATIONS: Salisbury Township Police Officer 29 1/2 years. Police Officer DeSales University 4 years, acting chief for 6 months. Certified by PA Minor Judiciary Education Board to be a Magisterial District Judge.

RESPONSE: I feel that judicial independence means that the judiciary acts independent of the other branches of the government and is free from the pressure or influence of political parties. Judges can then make impartial decisions based on the law and the facts of each case. Judicial independence is important so people who appear before the court have confidence that their cases are being decided fairly.


Kyle B. Miller

(Salisbury Township)

FB: @miller4mdj

D.O.B.: 1986

EDUCATION: Salisbury High School, 2004; Pennsylvania ACT 49, 2005

OCCUPATION: Pennsylvania State Constable, Salisbury Township

QUALIFICATIONS: Pennsylvania State Constable, elected and serving 3rd term; 12+ years. 20,000+ criminal, non-traffic, traffic and civil court cases processed. Allentown Police Department commendation. Pennsylvania ACT 49 criminal/civil law certified to work in minor judiciary.

RESPONSE: Judicial independence is imperative in maintaining the integrity of the court system. Judges must avoid any possible unethical situations or extrajudicial activities which potentially bring the impartiality of the court into question. Courts shall not be persuaded by improper influence from other branches of government, private or partisan interests. It is essential for judges to make rulings per the rule of law and judicial discretion with steadfast compliance to the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct.


(Candidates in other Magisterial Districts are listed under "Lehigh County")


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