Candidates seek city council re-election in Northampton County vote


Candidates on the ballot for the Nov. 5 Northampton County elections are preparing for Election Day and setting potential agendas.

The City of Bethlehem has candidates running for re-election on city council, such as Michael Colon (D) and Paige Van Wirt (D).

Van Wirt won the special appointment to become city councilwoman in March 2018 after Eric Evans became the city’s new business administrator.  

“The ability to speak my mind, openly and freely, comes with a big burden, which is you better be prepared…you better know what you are talking about,” Van Wirt said.

Van Wirt shared her excitement as her first re-election bid approaches. She recalled how much she has learned while serving this past term.

Van Wirt said one of her goals, if re-elected, is to find ways to stay connected with Bethlehem citizens. She said she is always pushing her agenda and posting about important meetings on Facebook for local residents to attend. She said she wants people to know that council meetings are now streamed on YouTube for the public to view.

Similarly, Colon said he is proud of the work the city council has produced in the past years and how the community has worked together. 

“We have been named in numerous national publications, whether it is for the redevelopment of Bethlehem Steel or how we were listed in Forbes as one of the best cities to retire to,” Colon said.

At 33 years old, Colon is one of the youngest members on city council.

“I don’t plan on being on city council forever,” Colon said. “I think now is a good time. I am relatively young. I don’t have a family. Another term is just where I am at between my work commitments and outside work commitments.”

Looking for something different, John Morganelli (D), who served seven terms as district attorney for Northampton County, is now a candidate for judge of the Court of Common Pleas, alongside Abe Kassis (D) and Victor Scomillio (R).

Morganelli said he felt he already accomplished all of his goals as district attorney and wanted the opportunity to assume a different role.

“I want to continue making decisions that protect our community from violent crimes and predators,” he said. “Also, I want to focus on child matters, including abuse to children and nonsupport issues where kids are not being supported adequately financially by their parents.”

Marijuana decriminalization is another issue candidates are weighing.

Jim Martin, who is running for re-election as district attorney in Lehigh County, still believes that marijuana is an issue that should be dealt with by the state. 

“We intend to continue to work with both DAs so that they can do what’s beneficial for our citizens, which is to stop criminalizing marijuana for small cases,” Van Wirt said. “It ends up penalizing people who are of limited needs in income than anyone else because they don’t have the ability to fight back. It is more of a social justice issue.” 

Northampton County residents will vote Tuesday, Nov. 5. 

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