Historic Montgomery County PA Inauguration

— by Bonnie Squires

For the first in 140 years, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, now has two Democratic Commissioners, making the Honorable Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards the first Democrats to hold the majority posts.  In addition, both Shapiro and Richards are Jewish, another historic first for the county seat in Norristown.  Shapiro had served for years as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, once serving as Deputy Speaker, and Richards had served as chair of the Whitemarsh Township Board of Commissioners.

More after the jump.
The third county commissioner, Bruce Castor, former District Attorney, and Shapiro and Richards have all pledged to work together cooperatively for the good of the county, reversing the former board’s often public fights and accusations.  In an era of economic downturn and tax shortfalls, the commissioners will be challenged to maintain the level of civility which they displayed during the Inauguration and celebratory luncheon which followed.  In a show of good faith, Castor, the Republican, even attended the Montgomery County Democratic Committee’s luncheon, and Castor even came to the podium when the Democratic Chairman Marcel Groen invited  him to say a few words.

Jewish Democrats Win Historic Election in Montgomery County


— by Bonnie Squires

Leslie Richards and Josh Shapiro were ecstatic with the response of fellow Democrats as they announced that they had received a call from Bruce Castor conceding  the election, making the Democrats the winners of the Montgomery County Commissioner majority seats for the first time in history.  For 140 years, the Republican party had dominated the suburban Philadelphia county’s politics, but November 8, 2011, became an historic day, as the Democrats won the county-wide election with comfortable margins.

This is also a historic election in that both Shapiro and Richards are Jewish.  Preliminary figures have Shapiro with 87,965 votes and running-mate Ms. Richards at 86,014, to Bruce Castor’s 76, 635, and Jenny Brown’s 74,983.  Castor is an incumbent Republican county commissioner, and Brown is a Lower Merion Township Republican commissioner.  The top three vote-getters, Shapiro, Richards and Castor, will be sworn in January in Norristown.