Democratic Candidate for Swarthmore Mayor Speaks at Swat

by Brendan Work

Tuesday night, the Democratic candidate for Mayor of the Borough of Swarthmore, Rick Lowe, came to speak at the College Democrats’ meeting. Lowe is engaged in a race for mayor against the Republican candidate, Alice “Putty” Willets; the election takes place Tuesday, November 3rd.

Introduced as “the candidate officially endorsed by the Swarthmore College Democrats,” Lowe is seeking to be the first Democratic Mayor of the Borough in, as he puts it, “anybody’s memory.” While born in Philadelphia, Lowe has lived in Swarthmore for the last 17.5 years, has raised two children here, and was the Borough Solicitor from 1998 to 2000.

Lowe started his talk by acknowledging that most local issues do not necessarily fall along traditional partisan lines, but he nevertheless stressed the “power of the people in office to help [candidates in other elections] get elected” as an important aspect of his own election. In addition, he said that “the office of the Mayor can have the largest effect on the day-to-day lives” of locals and students.

One central focus of Lowe’s talk was town-gown issues. “As Solicitor, I became heavily involved in college-specific issues, such as how security at Swarthmore interacts with the local police,” Lowe said, but he emphasized that he still wants “more synergy” between then Borough and the College. He expressed his support for potential local development projects such as the oft-proposed Inn, and the possible moving of the bookstore downtown. Lowe said, “I just think that there is so much more that the college and the town can do together.”

An area that Lowe said the Borough and the College could work together on was “making Swarthmore a haven for ‘green,’” citing the importance of buying local foods and creating green jobs in Swarthmore. “I’m not the first guy to think green or anything like that … but from a political standpoint, this is part of the future,” Lowe said.

He added, “There’s no reason that a small place like Swarthmore can’t be a part of things.”

Student Democrats’ response to the talk seemed largely positive. College Democrats President Jon Erwin-Frank ’11 said, “The talk went pretty well. It’s hard to get people excited in an off-year like this, but we were able to get this many people here to hear about the Mayor, and I think we’ll be able to get a good amount of people out there.” College Democrats Internet Director Alex Burka ’12 added, “A lot of what (Lowe) said resonated with me, so I hope people get out there and vote.”

More information on Lowe’s campaign is available on his website. (Willets does not appear to have a website.)


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