Collegeville’s Official Democrat Newsletter



Collegeville’s Official

Democrat Newsletter

Mid-September 2019

Readers: leading up to the election we will be sending out more newsletters than we usually do. Each one will have some different content, including a message from our Mayor, candidate information, voting information as well as links to articles and important websites. So we invite you to read through them and learn about your candidates and the upcoming election!

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Message from

Collegeville DEMS

We all live here in this one town. Together we work and play; together we make community. And now it’s your turn – Your turn to be heard; your turn to participate; your turn to be a part of what makes YOUR town OUR town!

The General Election is Tuesday November 5th.
Our candidates need your support!

Candidate’s Corner

Candidates on bridge


Kathy Costello for Council
Kathy has lived in Collegeville for over 23 years with her husband John. She is retired from Quest Diagnostics were she was a project lead, prior to that she served our country as a Sergeant in the USAF. She majored in Environmental Science at East Stroudsburg University. Currently she is a Democratic committee person in Collegeville 2 and also worked as Chairperson for Senator Katie Muth’s successful senatorial campaign. Kathy is dedicated to the revitalization of Collegeville and working to strengthen the relationship between the Borough and Ursinus College. She is an active member of the Borough’s Business Development Committee as well as the CEDC. She has one son and two grandchildren.

Craig - headshot

Craig Farr for Council
Craig has lived in Collegeville for 29 years with his wife Linda. They have three sons & five grandchildren. Craig is a retired toxicologist and chemical industry executive. He received his PhD in toxicology from Utah State University. He has served on several local not-for-profit Boards, including the United Fund of Collegeville/Trappe and the Community Music School. He volunteers at the Norristown Hospitality Center and The Literacy Council of Norristown helping folks in need. Craig has extensive experience in managing large budgets, diverse teams and complex programs both from his years in industry and serving on boards. He wants to engage the Collegeville community and attract new businesses to our area.

Gary - headshot

Gary Hoffmann for Council
Gary has lived in Collegeville since 2014. He moved here with his young daughter because of his positive experiences of Collegeville as a UC undergraduate. He is currently serving on Borough Council here and is on the Public Safety Committee. He was born and raised in Pottstown PA, and knows our area very well. He graduated from Ursinus in 1990 with a degree in Economics/Business Administration. Gary works at BYN Mellon as a Project Manager and Business Analysist. At work he strives to help develop strong and cohesive groups, a skill he will bring to the committees he works on as a member of Borough Council. He looks forward to working to improve the quality of life of all Collegeville residents.


Valarie Beckius for Council
Valarie has been a resident of Collegeville for more than 18 years and has served as both a community and school volunteer. She is an Elementary and Special Education teacher with a master’s degree from Penn State University. She has had experience as president of several organizations and served on various committees where she organized events, solved problems, and managed budgets.


Voting Information

Voter Registration:

Individuals applying to register to vote must be:

• A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the next election.
• A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual desires to register and vote for at least 30 days before the next election.
• At least 18 years of age on or before the day of the next election.

Learn more about registering
Download the voter registration form
Register Online: Online voter registration is available to those with a PA Drivers License

Montgomery County Voter Services
P.O. Box 311
Norristown, PA 19404-0311
Phone: 610-278-3000
Hours 8:30 a.m.- 4:15 p.m.

Absentee Voting Deadlines


Out of town for Election Day? Now is a great time to apply for an absentee ballot!! And make sure your college students have applied too!

Applications: The last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election (October 29, 2019). Please note that postmarks do not apply and original applications must be received (no facsimiles or emails).

Completed Ballots: All civilian “voted” ballots must be returned to the County Board of Elections Office by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election (November 1, 2019). Please note that postmarks do not apply. They must have your ballot in hand by that date.

Fill out an absentee ballot application here. You can then print it and send or take it in. You will then receive an absentee ballot in the mail that you will have to fill in and send back. Here’s the address:

A single first-class stamp is sufficient to cover the postage cost

Election Board
One Montgomery Plaza
Suite 602
425 Swede Street
Norristown, PA 19401-0311

You can also vote absentee if you’ll be traveling or cannot get to the polls. Learn more about where to pick up absentee ballot applications, other absentee filing situations (e.g., military) and more here.

Embracing Transparency

Mayor Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins

Collegeville has much to celebrate. Since January of 2018 our borough has been on the move. With the historic election four Democrat Council Members and the first Democrat Mayor in the history of our municipality, we have been making good on our promise that “Collegeville Matters”.

We promised that we would be more transparent in our governance. We have been. Minutes of our meetings are now posted to the Borough Website as soon as they are approved by Council rather than sixty days after the last council meeting as in the past. The Borough now publishes a regular newsletter where citizens and others receive a recap of the actions and plans of Borough Council. A new Website is under construction and soon to be launched that will provide interactive capabilities with residents. These moves towards greater transparency have been made thanks to our Council President, Marion McKinney and our Council Communications Chair, Shannon Spencer.

In addition, our transparency includes listening to and responding to feedback and questions from our residents. Recently, citizens raised concerns about a sewer project along the Perkiomen Creek which backs up to the Collegeville Crossing development of which many had not been aware. When this came to light, Council Member Catherine Kernen quickly called for and arranged for a hearing and conversation between residents, our Sewer Authority representative and project managers on the project. These conversations led to clarity and consensus regarding how this is helping our entire borough.

Why? Because Collegeville Matters.



Collegeville Democrats’ monthly meeting

Last Wed of each month, 7:30-9pm in Wismer Hall    (Ursinus College)

Candidate Meet & Greet
Sept 22, 4-6 pm
232 Freeland Drive, Collegeville

Voter Registration Deadline:
October 5, 2019 at 5pm
It can take 2 weeks for processing. Please register ASAP, in person is best!
Absentee Ballot Application Deadline:
Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019 at 5pm
Absentee Ballots Due at Voter Services:
Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 at 5pm
Election Day:
November 5, 2019, 7am-8pm
Important Links:
Collegeville Dems
Collegeville Borough
Business Development Committee & Downtown Revitalization
CEDC events
Area 4 Dems
PA Democrats
PA On-Line Voter Registration
MontCo Voter Services Registration Info
MontCo Voter Services Absentee Application Info
On-Line Absentee Application Info


Get Involved!!
Attend our meetings
Email us
Learn about us
Encourage your friends to vote!

Sign Up for this Newsletter



Read about registering online for your absentee ballot from the York Daily Record.

Q & A With the Candidate – Gary Hoffman

Gary - headshot


Why are you running for Borough Council?

I tell my daughter Alicia all the time, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I grew up in a local borough and watched leadership make decisions on what was best for themselves and not working together for the community. Things never changed or get any better. I have also seen other local boroughs go from a same type of situation, to now be a place where many people visit to support local businesses and choose to live. This is only accomplished by everyone in the boat rowing in sync and in the same direction. I was so excited to be able to cast the final vote to hire Barth Consulting Group and take that first step of many to make an organized push to change the downtown Collegeville environment. My financial back ground will ensure that being Stewart’s of taxpayers money, means that all finances will be used wisely and with care.

What is your Collegeville indulgence?

I try to eat healthy, so I’m so happy we have a local wholefood store to try so many new item and delicious fresh bread.

If not at home, where in Collegeville would we find you?

Riding my mountain bike on the Perkiomen trail.

What is your favorite memory in Collegeville, so far?

Along with graduating from Ursinus in 1990, moving back and seeing how much the college and town relationship has grown since then.

Why did you move to Collegeville?

I wanted my daughter to grow up in a similar environment as I did. Being able to walk safely to a store, restaurant, and park or friends house. Having great neighbors that look out after you as much as you look out for them. And great school district that will only get with the #UnitePV team.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

For 8 years I was a teaching golf professional at a club in West Chester.


I still own my first car, a 1967 Mustang and will never sell it because it reminds me of time spent with my dad.


Valarie Beckius Collegeville Borough Council


Valarie has been a resident of Collegeville for more than 18 years and has served as both a community and school volunteer. She is an Elementary and Special Education teacher with a master’s degree from Penn State University. She has had experience as president of several organizations and served on various committees where she organized events, solved problems, and managed budgets.

Meeting Information

Candidates on bridge


Municipal Chair: Andrea Baptiste

  • collegevilledemocrats
  • “Like” Us On Facebook

Meeting:  Last Wednesday Every Month

Time:   7:30 PM

Place:  Wismer Hall, Faculty/Staff Dining Room – Ursinus College


  • Main Street Entrance park in lot next to Corson Hall
  • 5th Avenue Entrance Lot behind Collegeville Fire Station

Collegeville 1 Committee Women:

  • Valerie Beckius –

Collegeville 2 Committee People:

Collegeville 3 Committee Women:

  • Cathy Kernen –
  • Penny Balzereit –


Chair:  Ashley Wilkerson,

Web Site:


Collegeville / Limerick/ Lower Providence / Royersford / Skippack / Upper Providence / Trappe

Meeting:  2nd Thursday Of Every Month

Time: 7:00 PM

Place:  IBEW Building 3455 Germantown Pike Collegeville, PA 19426

Montgomery County Democratic Committee

Chairman:  Joe Foster

Executive Director:  Eunice Franklin-Becker

Political Director:  Joe Graeff

21 East Airy Street

Norristown, PA 19401

610- 272-2000 – Phone

610- 272-2005 – Fax  General E-mail Box and Event Submissions

Meeting: 3rd Thursday Of Every Month

Time:  7:30 PM

Place:   AFSCME District Council

88 Robert T. Cooper Labor Center

3031 Walton Road, Bldg. C, Suite 300

Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Collegeville Indivisible:

MCDC Areas Map


Borough Council Candidate Kathy Costello


Q&A with Kathy Costello

Why are you running for Borough Council in Collegeville?

I see the wonderful potential in Collegeville where I live with my husband John, where I raised my son and where my son and his family are now residents.

I’ve always hoped that Collegeville would be able to attract and keep businesses on Main Street and in our shopping centers that would appeal to both residents and the college kids. 

I realized I could keep hoping or do something about it by running for Committee person, joining the Business Development Committee, the CEDC and now running for Borough Council where I plan to use my skills, energy and enthusiasm to help make Collegeville a better place to live.

What do you love about Collegeville?

  • The Perkiomen Trail where I ride my bike and walk my dog
  • Ursinus College and all the great things it has to offer the residents of Collegeville
  • The Perkiomen Valley School District where my son graduated from and where my grandchildren will be attending school in a few years.

 What would you change about Collegeville?

  • Continue to work on the revitalization of Collegeville’s business district, by helping to recruit restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment venues and retail stores that will appeal to both students and residents.
  • Improve communication between Borough Council and the residents of Collegeville to ensure that the residents are informed about what is happening in the borough and that they have a voice.
  • Implement the current Code enforcement that applies to distressed and abandoned buildings like the Perkiomen Bridge Hotel.

 What is something most people don’t know about you?

  • I repaired navigation equipment on large cargo aircraft while serving in the USAF.

 Fun Fact

  • I lived in a tent for 7 months in West Virginia while I was building a log cabin.

Kathy has been a resident of Collegeville for the past 24 years.  She served our country as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force and studied Environmental Science at East Stroudsburg University.  Kathy retired from Quest Diagnostics in 2013 after 24 years, where she was a group lead/subject matter expert and trained employees at various Quest Diagnostics sites across the country. 

Currently Kathy and her husband John are Committee People for Collegeville 2.  Kathy started an Indivisible group after the 2016 election and is still an active member of that group today.  She served as Chairperson for the Katie Muth 2018 Senatorial Campaign.  

She is an active member of the Borough Business Development Committee as well as the CEDC.  Kathy is dedicated to the revitalization of Collegeville and working with Ursinus College and Collegeville residents to achieve that goal.