About Mayor Comitta

Did you know, she attended Fern Hill Elementary School and then to Stetson Jr. High and graduated from Downingtown High School.

Her secret as a mayor who truly represents everyone:

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Mayor Joe Riley, who just stepped down from being Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina for over 40 years, told me the key to being a good mayor was listening. We all have ideas and preferences, but as a civic leader the key, is to listen to the people we serve.

See more at her candidate blog.

See video of Mayor Comitta talking with students supporting the WCU faculty strike, Oct. 22.


Carolyn Comitta in USA Today

excerpts from “A suburban tide against Trump could sink his election bid” by Susan Page, USA TODAY, 9/13/16:

… But Democrats have become increasingly competitive in the suburban counties, which include about a third of the state’s voters. In 2012, Romney lost the other three and carried Chester by just two-tenths of a percentage point, the closest margin in the state.

Or, as West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta, a Democrat, ruefully recalls: “529 votes.”…

Comitta, who is challenging three-term Republican incumbent Dan Truitt for the state House of Representatives, enthusiastically backs Clinton. But she generally tries to talk about local and state issues, not the national race, as she campaigns. She stops by the farmers market after a morning of walking door-to-door on this recent day, distributing fliers that don’t mention party affiliation, instead describing her as “Mom. Educator. Mayor.”

“I hear from some people who love her, some people who would never vote for her, and some who will vote for her because they can’t imagine Trump being president,” she says of Clinton. “Because the two candidates are so polarizing, and I have to win my race, I’m not going there. … That’s a whole other conversation.”…


read the full article, including quotes from other Chester County residents, at USA TODAY

A call for unity: West Chester unveils Code of Community Values Resolution and Pledge

By Pete Bannan, Daily Local News, 8/21/16 {download text of the resolution here: wccode-of-comm-values-pledge

WEST CHESTER >> Members of the community turned out for the 6th annual Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center’s Community Unity Day Sunday.

In addition to youth basketball, plenty of food and great music, the highlight of the day was the unveiling and public signing of the Greater West Chester Code of Community Values Resolution and Pledge.

In part, the pledge reads:

“Whereas, the people of Greater West Chester value safety and security; we agree to come together when incidents that may be a result of hatred or discrimination based on race, color, national and ethnic origin, citizenship status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age and economic status.

Whereas, the community of West Chester values equality not just through policy and protocol but in how we treat each other in our daily lives; we agree to address issues of concern brought to our attention…”

“…as people of good will, we will not tolerate hateful speech or actions toward any individual or group in our community. “

West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta said the pledge came in response to several recent local incidents targeting the African-American community. Three cases of hate speech were found at John O. Green Memorial Park in the borough as well as incidents of racist speech at area high schools.

Comitta said members of the community realized it was important to come together to spell out greater West Chester’s commitment to being a welcoming community for all….

read more at Daily Local News

Chester County Leadership: Mayor Carolyn Comitta

By Ken Knickerbocker, VISTA Today, January 21, 2016

Carolyn Comitta, Mayor of West Chester, speaks to VISTA today about growing up in West Chester and moving to West Bradford when she was thirteen, transferring to West Chester College after her freshman year at Muhlenberg, the influence Bill Scott and Madeleine Wing Adler had on her rise to the Mayor’s chair in West Chester and the opportunities she sees for the borough in the New Year.

Where did you grow up, Mayor Comitta?

I was born and in Buffalo, New York. My mother was from Toronto and my father from Malden, Massachusetts. They met when they were both on vacation in Lake George and moved to Buffalo because that’s where my father worked.

When I was two years old, my father was hired by DuPont in Wilmington and we moved to the Merryweather Farms development in West Goshen.

I went to Fern Hill Elementary School and then to Stetson Jr. High before we moved to West Bradford in the Downingtown School District when I was in eighth grade. I ended up graduating from Downingtown High School in 1970….

read more at VISTA Today

Background Checks Will Reduce Gun Violence

Letter, Daily Local News, 9/12/15, from Mayor Carolyn Comitta

Many thanks to Andy Hachadorian for his recent thought-provoking article titled, “What’s the Answer to Gun Violence?” Andy ended his article with a question to readers: “What are we going to do? I’m all ears.” I am a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, part of Everytown for Gun Safety. We’re united in the conviction that support for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and people with severe mental illness. I am happy to share a simple answer to Andy’s question: close the loopholes in our background check system.

My first reaction to Andy’s column was that he sets an impossible bar: “We are kidding ourselves if we think we can prevent all gun violence by those mentally unstable or mentally ill.” I don’t know anyone who thinks we can prevent all gun violence.

Do home security systems prevent all burglaries? Of course not, and no one claims they do or expects them to. Home security systems reduce burglaries. By requiring background checks for every gun sale, we make obtaining a gun harder for people who are prohibited from buying guns because of mental illness, and thereby reduce gun violence. Reducing gun violence is also the goal of those of us, including me, who agree that increased access to mental health treatment is part of the solution. Other developed countries have similar rates of mental illness, but they don’t have anywhere near the level of gun violence.

Federal law requires background checks for gun sales at licensed firearm dealers, but not for private, unlicensed sales, many of which now occur online. Pennsylvania goes a step further by requiring background checks for private handgun sales, but leaves the loophole open for unlicensed sales of rifles, shotguns and military style assault rifles.

In states like Pennsylvania that require background checks on all handgun sales, 46% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners, 48% fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns and there is 48% less illegal gun trafficking. After Missouri repealed background checks on private gun sales, gun homicides went up 25%, and gun trafficking rose too. Continue reading

Food for thought: Election 2013!


Dear West Chester Borough Neighbors:

It has been my honor to serve the people of West Chester for the last four years, and I am honored to AGAIN be your Democratic and Republic candidate for Mayor. Thank you for your support and your invaluable contributions as we work together to make West Chester Borough even better!

In addition to electing the Mayor, Borough voters will be electing FOUR (a majority!) Borough Council Members this Election Day, Tuesday November 5th. We are very fortunate to have a full slate of candidates representing both major parties.

I have served as an elected official for eight years: as a Borough Council Member and Mayor. As Mayor it is not appropriate for me to endorse specific Borough candidates. However, I would like to share my thoughts on the most pressing issues we face and my opinion on what makes a competent and effective elected official – food for thought as you cast your ballot for your Council representative.

West Chester’s most pressing issues:

Citizen Engagement

How do we invite more of our citizens to participate in the work of local government? The more ideas we have the better are our chances of generating really good ideas! West Chester is a diverse and dynamic community. All voices must be invited to the table and all viewpoints considered.


What are the services our local government should offer and how should we best pay for them? In the day of escalating pension costs, state mandates, restrictive state laws, with aging Borough infrastructure and government facilities, all revenue options must be on the table including raising fees and taxes, for thoughtful consideration by citizens and elected officials together. This is NOT a political issue. It is a practical issue.  Details here.

(Our County Commissioners, two R’s and one D raised 2013 County taxes 5% in order to best serve the health safety and welfare of the people they serve.)


How do we identify a healthy balance between preserving our historic resources and small town charm, while allowing for reasonable economic development?

Historic buildings and heritage sites (the Barclay grounds for example) must be preserved for future generations whenever possible. Occasionally an historic resource may need to be removed or modified in order for reasonable economic development that is deemed critical to our Borough’s flourishing future. Thoughtful community deliberation will lead to balanced decisions.


What key partnerships will enable greater success? Partnerships are the future! In the new economy, wise communities are building public private partnerships and sharing resources whenever possible. What strengthens one partner strengthens the other. (I.e. Safe neighborhoods, a vibrant downtown, an esteemed University, economic development, historic resources, small town charm, diverse housing, healthy, productive citizens.)

Qualities of a competent Council Member

Puts citizens first!

Loyalty to one’s constituents must rise above loyalty to one’s political party, special interest or personal interest.

Practices transparency.

There is no room for hidden or personal “agendas” in government at any level. Elected officials serve the people and generate the best solutions in open conversation WITH the people.

Understands and practices democratic governance and promotes civic engagement.

In democratic governance, it is the role of the elected official to frame the issue, convene the public conversation and hold the citizens accountable for working together to find a solution that works for the best interest of most. Good decisions are made when people with diverse viewpoints come together to share ideas and debate the best way forward for the community.

Listens to the people.

People deserve to feel they are heard; that their elected officials care; and that everything that can be done to help is being done.

Values our key stakeholders and understands the role each plays in building partnerships for a healthy future.

Our key stakeholders include our citizens, our businesses, our University, our township neighbors, our non-profits, our faith communities, our rental property owners, our developers, our County government and others.

Seeks objective, professional input on complex issues.

Utilizing Borough Boards and Commissions and Borough consultants to help frame issues and engage in meaningful public conversation leads to well-informed, thoughtful decisions.

Commits to “continuing education” for local elected officials.

Like being a new parent, most of us come to elected office with limited understanding of the job or the issues at hand! The more we learn the more we realize we need to learn! An effective elected official will take advantage of training available to hone the skills of democratic governance.

PLEASE VOTE ON NOV 5! West Chester’s future depends on YOU!



Carolyn T. Comitta