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SWARTHMORE >> In a packed lobby of town hall, borough Mayor Tim Kearney, a Democrat, announced his intention to run for the seat held by state Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield.

“I think what’s important is that I’m not a typical politician,” the 57-year-old married father and architect said. “I’m a citizen who wants to act politically.”

Kearney was re-elected to a second term as Swarthmore mayor this year and has served on the borough’s zoning hearing board and planning commission. A father of two adult children, he has lived in the borough for 23 years.

He said both President Donald Trump’s election a year ago and this November’s sweep of Democrats into county positions propelled him to run.

Kearney said it was his grandmother who said, “You’ve got to be willing to work for the kinds of things that you really want.

“So,” he said, “we’re working for it.”

McGarrigle offered his perspective on the mayor’s entrance to the race.

“I’m looking forward to a campaign where we discuss the important issues facing residents of the 26th district,” the senator said. “I’m proud of my record and accomplishments, particularly my success in obtaining additional funding for our local schools and my work to boost economic development in the county to create new jobs.”

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, of Swarthmore, came to Kearney’s announcement.

“Every bad thing you see happening in Washington is happening in Harrisburg right now,” she said. “The senator that Tim is seeking to replace is from the party of Trump and he votes the same way as every ultra conservative Republican in Harrisburg.”

She added, “I know that Tim will read the bills, do his homework, not vote the way some party boss tells him to and will represent you well.”

Kearney said the seat is winnable for Democrats and that there is a lot happening in Harrisburg.

“The dysfunction there is really kind of unbelievable,” he said. “I can’t understand how. In my business, in my local government, we have a balanced budget every year. We spend what we have, we don’t spend what we don’t have.”

He identified the budget, education and the environment among his top concerns.

“Why do my kids have an incredible first-class education here in the Wallingford Swarthmore School District and over in Upper Darby, there’s twice as many kids in the class?” Kearney said. “It’s inequitable all the way around.”

To his supporters holding signs and eating blue and white “Tim Kearney 2018” cake pops, he said, “If you think clean water to drink and clean air to breathe are more important to us than for people to make profits in whatever their business is that does the polluting, then send me to Harrisburg.

“If you believe that it’s outrageous that women don’t get paid equal amounts of money for equal amounts of work, if you think that women have the right to make their own health decisions about their own bodies as opposed to politicians, then send me to Harrisburg,” he continued.

Kearney underscored his belief the Democrats can win this seat.

“We can do this thing,” he said. “We can work together. We have to do this. It takes a village. It takes a ville. It takes Swarthmore. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think you guys had my back and that we could make this work, so send me to Harrisburg.”

The 26th state senatorial district includes Aldan, Clifton Heights, East Lansdowne, Glenolden, Marple, Media, Millbourne, Morton, Newtown, Prospect Park, Ridley Park, Ridley Township, Rutledge, Springfield, Swarthmore, Tinicum, Upper Darby and Upper Providence in Delaware County and a small part of Chester County.

In other campaign news, today state Rep. Jamie Santora, R-163, of Upper Darby will kick off his re-election campaign by collecting toys for needy families at 11 a.m. at Anthony’s Restaurant in the Drexeline Shopping Center in Drexel Hill and at 12:30 p.m. at the Clifton Heights Fire House.

Both events are open to the public, who are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys for younger children while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies with a Santa visit and Christmas carols to sing.

“Often, elected officials and political candidates use their official campaign kickoff as an opportunity to raise money for their campaigns,” Santora said. “I didn’t want to do that. I first decided to run for the state Legislature in 2014 because I wanted to help local residents and support our community. So tying my re-election announcement to a charitable toy drive that benefits people in our community just made sense.”

And, he said he was making a deliberate choice to focus on what unites people.

“As Americans, we always come together to help our fellow citizens and that is even more true during the holiday season,” he said. “While I certainly hope that people can come out and support our toy drive, I know that by and large, local residents will be doing what they can to help those who are less fortunate this holiday season.”

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Tim Kearney For PA Senate

Democrat Tim Kearney announces his campaign for Pennsylvania’s 26th Senatorial District.Kathleen E. Carey – Digital First Media