Delco Dems take tour of businesses

Delaware County Democrats

UPPER DARBY — The Democratic candidates for Delaware County Council kicked off a listening tour of small businesses Wednesday in Upper Darby.

The Democratic candidates, Bill Clinton and Patricia Worrell, began their event at The Preschool Academy located in the 100 block of Hampden Road. They toured the school and met with school founder Verna Aggie, who is also president of the Long Lane Business Association. The school used to be located on Long Lane and is now located in the building that formerly housed St. Alice Catholic School.

Clinton, of Upper Providence, and Worrell, of Chester, are running against county council Vice Chairman Mario Civera, of Upper Darby, and Councilman Dave White, of Ridley Township.

Aggie told Clinton and Worrell that members of the Long Lane Business Association would like to see more police presence along Long Lane at night. They also would like more grants to help fix up properties.

“I think business owners in general ... feel Long Lane has been abandoned,” Aggie said.

The next stop on the tour was at KuUmba Hair Salon located in the 200 block of Long Lane. The Democratic candidates met with the Michelle Schofield, owner and stylist at the salon.

At the salon, Clinton and Worrell were joined by David Boonin, a Swarthmore resident and controller candidate on the Democratic county slate, and Joe Sestak, a former congressman for the 7th Congressional District.

Boonin, a nationally recognized regulatory economist and owner of an economic and financial consulting business, is running against incumbent county Controller Edward O’Lone, a Marple Republican who is also the township’s finance director.

Sestak, who served as vice chairman of Committee on Small Business when he was in the U.S. House, said about 60 percent of all new jobs are created by small businesses. He expressed support for the Democratic candidates for county office.

“The Obama administration has only done half the amount — in four years — of regulations that the Bush administration did in his last four years,” said Sestak, who is currently exploring a run for U.S. Senate in 2016. “What we’re finding out is many of the regulations and challenges of getting a permit ... are more the municipality and the county types of challenges. In my mind, that’s why these candidates are wonderful.”

Clinton and Worrell said they believe county officials need to provide more assistance to county’s 50,293 small businesses. They said they understand the challenges of being business owners.

Clinton, an Upper Providence councilman is the former chief operating officer of Delta Dental Massachusetts and is currently a graduate faculty member at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where he served for 10 years as director of the organizational development and leadership master’s program. Worrell is chairwoman of the Chester Zoning Hearing Board and owner of a cleaning service.

Civera is a former longtime state legislator and former Upper Darby councilman who owns a deli. White is a former Ridley Township commissioner and owner of a mechanical contractor company.

“Over the course of the past two years, Delaware County Council and the Commerce Center have engaged in numerous meetings with a diverse representation of the county business community and work force development leaders,” said Pete Peterson, a spokesman for the Republican county slate. “The goal of those meetings was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the county in terms of ways to maximize future job creation. The results of that extensive outreach were incorporated into a 10-year economic development plan that council will be releasing next week.”

Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie argued that there is a large police presence in the Long Lane area, and said Civera helped secure grants for the township when he was a state legislator. Micozzie said new businesses are coming to the township, inluding an H&M clothing store at Market and 69th streets and a new Ross clothing store at Chestnut and 69th streets.