Community Elections Government

Meet the 2023 Primary Election Candidates: Lower Saucon Township Council

Lower Saucon Township Primary Election Candidates

To help our readers be informed voters, Saucon Source reached out to the seven candidates running for three open seats on Lower Saucon Township Council to request information about why they are running, what challenges they believe the township faces and more. If they responded to our request, you will find their answers here.

Est. Read Time: 13 mins

If you live in Lower Saucon Township and are registered to vote as a Republican or Democrat, you have the opportunity to vote for candidates running for township council in the May 16 municipal primary election. To help our readers be informed voters, Saucon Source reached out to the seven candidates running for three open seats on Lower Saucon Township Council to request information about why they are running, what challenges they believe the township faces and more. If they responded, you will find their response below, along with a photo if one was provided. The candidates’ names are listed in the order in which they appear on the unofficial Northampton County Office of Voter Registration candidate’s list.

Pennsylvania has closed primary elections in which only registered Republicans and Democrats may vote for candidates from their own parties. The winners on both sides advance to the general election in November, which is an open election in which anyone who is registered may vote (including independents). Since there are three Democratic candidates for three council seats, all three will likely appear on the November ballot. There are four Republicans running for three council seats, which means that the top three finishers in the primary will advance to the general election.

Lower Saucon Township Council members serve four-year terms. The council is composed of five members, three of whom are candidates in this election. Incumbent status is denoted with an (I).

To view a list of all candidates who will appear on the ballot in the 2023 municipal primary elections in Northampton County, refer to the list published by the county office of voter registration.

More information about where and how to vote in the primary election is available at Look for a ‘Meet the Candidate’ article about the Saucon Valley School Board election this week.

Live in Hellertown Borough? Check out our story about the candidates running for borough council.



Laura Ray

Please explain why you’re running for LST Council.

The phrase, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” resonates with me. I felt compelled to run because I did not want to sit back and hope that there would be three strong, trustworthy, level-headed candidates to step forward. I wish I would have run in 2021. I want to be one of the three who will work to put our township back on the path of being a harmonious community.

There are stark differences in how our Township’s Council meetings are run compared to other communities. I would like our meetings to be welcoming. We need two-way dialogue at meetings. Many residents feel they are not represented. First Amendment rights are hampered by the public comment policy. The changes made to the policy were unnecessary and I would revise it to make it citizen-friendly! I was disappointed that the long-awaited AV upgrade does not allow for active remote participation. I would pursue that ASAP.

My career in IT has given me a lot of experience doing analysis and problem-solving. I’ve observed many things which indicate that decisions are being made without the pertinent information evaluated beforehand. An analytical approach will lead to sound decisions.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently facing the township and why?

The reputation of the Township has diminished. It took a long time to earn trust and build strong relationships with our residents and neighboring communities. Much work will need to be done to restore the goodwill and community spirit in Saucon Valley.

It’s not clear at this point where things will stand with the status of library services by year-end. Undoing any long-term agreement would be challenging. The money being wasted on legal expenses is out of control, and offering a quarter million dollars up front to a library outside our community is ludicrous. None of that shows any fiscal responsibility.

Pressure to develop our rural areas and balancing that with the desire to strengthen the tax base is a challenge. This includes the proposed landfill expansion. Additionally, the concerns residents expressed regarding zoning changes along Easton Road, Rt. 412 and Rt. 378 should be addressed instead of ignored.

If elected to council, how do you plan to address these challenges/what else do you hope to accomplish?

Rebuilding relationships with our neighbors will be done with personal, face-to-face communication. There should be open dialogue and not just communication via lawyers. I would treat residents respectfully and listen to their concerns before making decisions.

All libraries in the area know our residents would like Hellertown Area Library (HAL) as our home library. If we have an arrangement with another library at year-end, I’d look to return to an agreement with HAL. Personal discussions and negotiation directly with the library will be needed to resolve this.

I’d pursue removing some uses allowed in recently-rezoned areas. The impact on residents should be addressed. I would roll back the rezoning of the environmentally-sensitive land beside the landfill. Existing conservation easements on the property should remain.

I would work with Hellertown to reestablish joint operation of the compost center. Additionally, I’d pursue getting the Saucon Valley Partnership back to actively meeting.


Priscilla deLeon (I)

Please explain why you’re running for Lower Saucon Township Council.

Lower Saucon Township (LST) is a gem of a community. I love living in the Saucon Valley.

I am running for another term because my work here for LST residents isn’t done. In fact, much of the good work we have done in the township has been undone recently.

My 35 years on council testifies to my dedication, accessibility, integrity and proven record in the community. It has been an honor and privilege serving the residents.

The Township had a vibrant community relationship with Hellertown Borough, developed over decades. I helped create the Saucon Valley Partnership to bolster that relationship and improve the quality of life for all our residents. The Partnership has not met since 2021.

The Hellertown Area Library (HAL) was a valuable LST resource. That relationship has been poisoned and our residents’ access to library services is severely limited.

We waste our tax money on lawsuits, avoidable if the Council had listened to residents’ wants and needs. The township, debt-free for years, now uses our savings to pay attorney fees. This is fiscally irresponsible.

This is not the Township I want us to be. We have to return to being that gem of a community.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently facing the township and why?

The appalling lack of respect for taxpayers/residents who attend public meetings to share their concerns, only to be silenced in three minutes by the council majority. Council civility and integrity have been eroded along with any respect residents have for them. LST constituents have the right to be heard and ask questions.

Total lack of transparency by the Council on issues such as the Library, the status of legal actions or issues where they can’t even estimate the cost, like legal fees.

Indiscriminate rezoning of portions of the township over the objections of those who live there (like Applebutter Road/Riverside Drive, Easton Road, Rt. 412 and Rt. 378) and the objections of those who care for the quality of the environment and our lives in the township for decades into the future from the effects of the Bethlehem Landfill.

Loss of collaborative ventures with Hellertown such as the Compost Center, the swimming pool and, most especially, the Library.

If elected to council, how do you plan to address these challenges/what else do you hope to accomplish?

I pledge to restore civility, integrity and respect to all communications between Council and its constituents.

I pledge to restore the residents’ right to public comment after discussion of each agenda item to provide valuable information and help elected officials make informed decisions.

I pledge to work to improve communication with our neighbors in Hellertown Borough and revive the community relationship.

I pledge to review all financial expenditures to guarantee that they are, first and foremost, in the best interests of our residents. This would include restoring the relationship with HAL and protecting the natural resources our township has in abundance.

This is outrageous! We need a new council majority to listen to the people who elected them to solve problems–not create them–and not to be bowing to special interests that benefit a select few!

I pledge to do my best to return LST to a gem of a community.


Victoria Opthof-Cordaro

Please explain why you’re running for Lower Saucon Township Council.

I believe I can use my unique skillset as a mom, attorney and advocate to be a positive, welcoming and collaborative voice for Lower Saucon Township. I want to mend the fractured relationships the majority of Lower Saucon Township Council has developed with residents and surrounding municipalities. I will focus on policies that support our residents and our Saucon Valley community. We do not currently receive public library “Access” services; I want to do what I can to restore our commitment to full public library services through a long-term agreement with our Hellertown Area Library. I want to maintain the beautiful character of our township by honoring decades of planning to protect sensitive natural resources and residential areas that are not served by public sewer or water. That means preserving the conservation-protected woodlands adjacent to the Bethlehem landfill and honoring the pleas of our residents to keep areas along Easton Road and 412 residential. I also want to curtail irresponsible spending on litigation. Council should be responsibly protecting our approximately $2 million annual surplus and federal Covid relief money. As an advocate for our Saucon Valley values and community, I am the right choice for Lower Saucon Township Council.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently facing the township and why?

Lower Saucon Township Council majority has isolated itself from residents, community engagement and responsible planning that benefits Lower Saucon Township residents. The biggest challenge Lower Saucon Township faces is its leadership. Council majority has diminished the township’s reputation and lost the public’s trust to make sound decisions in the best interest of the community. I will be the leader our residents deserve by advocating for Saucon Valley values and being open, transparent and trustworthy on council. I will listen and thoughtfully consider every resident’s concerns. I will make decisions for the township that will restore our community partnerships and commitment to keeping Lower Saucon Township beautiful. I will do all that I can to keep Saucon Valley together.

If elected to council, how do you plan to address these challenges/what else do you hope to accomplish?

I will work to restore the Saucon Valley Partnership we previously enjoyed with Hellertown Borough and Saucon Valley School District. I will evaluate the status of our library services and do all I can to bring Saucon Valley together with Hellertown Area Library. I will immediately implement a public comment policy that restores citizens’ First Amendment rights. I will promote community engagement, in person and virtually. I will restore public trust by thoughtfully listening to residents and voting for policies that promote Saucon Valley values. I will be a responsible steward of taxpayers’ money by eliminating wasteful spending and ending litigation that does not benefit Lower Saucon Township residents. I will work to diversify our tax base and revitalize blighted and empty commercial properties to maximize revenue for the township. I will be a trusted and honest voice on Lower Saucon Township Council, advocating to keep our Saucon Valley together!



Kathy Pichel-McGovern

Please explain why you’re running for Lower Saucon Township Council.

I am a third-generation resident that is passionate about my hometown. LST is a beautiful, desirable, safe place to live. I am very disheartened and disappointed in the direction our council is taking. I do not agree with most of the decisions that have been made and want to get involved to change the direction of our township.

We should be looking at ways to enhance resources to residents, use taxpayer monies wisely and continue the quality of life that we have. Removing library services from residents and ultimately allowing the Hellertown Area Library to financially fail is a level of absurdity never seen before. Additionally, we should be enhancing the quality of life for residents on Easton Road, not destroying it. Having previously been on the planning commission, we made stringent restrictions to limit the impact of developers in the community and property values. Currently, we have a system where there are no considerations of any kind of property value, quality of life or environmental impact to the community.

I firmly believe that with the right council members, we can slow down and bring honest revenue to the township while improving the quality of life that we enjoy.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently facing the township and why?

The are many major hurdles facing our township. All residents–Hellertown and Lower Saucon–deserve access to a library that is fully funded. Also, there is no reason why both communities cannot have a united compost center; we are wasting taxpayer money on a lawsuit and a new “disposal center.” We should be united with Hellertown and be a good neighbor. Neighbors and communities work together. Our open space committee is being restructured, and for that I am leery and concerned.

The landfill is a major consideration. We have five years before its proposed closure. In addition to the current landfill committee, there should be a much larger “think tank” that includes New York, New Jersey and local communities that all participate in the waste production. Having been heavily involved in the Penn East Pipeline movement, no one wants a pipeline–or a landfill–in their community. We must problem-solve collectively.

If elected to council, how do you plan to address these challenges/what else do you hope to accomplish?

My first consideration would be to drop the lawsuit with the library and work with the State Librarian to reconnect Lower Saucon Township and Hellertown residents’ access and fulfill our financial obligation. Having been on the Hellertown Area Library Board and a past treasurer, finding monies to support libraries is difficult for anyone and should not be made more complicated.

I would drop the lawsuit regarding the compost center; that is a waste of time and money. I would work hard with Hellertown Borough and its mayor to reconnect our communities and honor our financial obligations.

Finally, my biggest goal is to find alternatives regarding expansion of the landfill. To continue our current practice is not safe for our residents or our community. There are cleaner options for the landfill without expanding. I firmly believe that I could get the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and EPA to help us.


Mark Inglis (I)

No response.

Note: Mark Inglis was appointed to fill an unexpired portion of a four-year term following councilwoman Jennifer Zavacky’s resignation from council in May 2022.


Susan Blair

Susan BlairPlease explain why you’re running for Lower Saucon Township Council.

As a life-long resident of the township, I seek election to the Township Council committed to fiscally responsible decision-making which both preserves and improves the quality of life for all residents. I am particularly committed to the preservation of open space, including community parks, athletic fields and recreational facilities. And I am dedicated to enhanced public safety, including additional police force as needed, to protect the safety, well-being and security of our neighbors.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently facing the township and why?

The most challenging issue facing our township is to find alternative sources of revenue without unduly burdening our taxpayers. Prime among them is finding the most reasonable and workable resolution to the landfill expansion question. I look forward to evaluating the findings of the landfill hearings in search of the most educated decision that will benefit our community while protecting our environment. I believe the township must look at diversifying its dependence of the landfill with alternative sources of revenue. A keystone of that effort must be a commitment to fiscally responsible management of taxpayer funds while keeping our township debt-free.

If elected to council, how do you plan to address these challenges/what else do you hope to accomplish?

If elected, I plan to address every issue to come before the council with diligence and thoughtfulness. I will listen to resident concerns and research issues to ensure intelligent decision making. I will work to repair our line of communications between the township and its residents. It is uncivil and needs repair. Mutual trust based on the sharing of factual information must be the foundation of the relationship between the community and the township. I support council term limits. If elected, I pledge to serve ONLY two terms because council must receive fresh ideas and views on a consistent basis to ensure a healthy future for our community, friends and neighbors.

Sandra Yerger (I)

Sandy YergerPlease explain why you’re running for Lower Saucon Township Council.

I am running for reelection to continue the blending of preservation of open space and protection of our natural resources, with responsible development. This will help the township remain fiscally responsible and debt-free.

I am a lifetime Lower Saucon resident (Seidersville and Easton Road). I am a founding member and former long-time chairperson of the Lower Saucon Township’s Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and have served on the Township Planning Commission.

During my time as Chairperson of EAC, I successfully worked with township officials and area residents to promote improved water quality, and to identify and preserve sensitive natural areas and farmland. I have and will continue to work closely with the Parks and Recreation Board to improve the township’s passive and active recreational facilities, including the addition of much-needed sport fields and nature trails.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently facing the township and why?

Of all the issues facing our township, the most important is preserving quality of life for all our residents. To accomplish this, we must work together to build a sustainable community by encouraging economic growth while preserving our historic and natural heritage. We can accomplish this by stressing compliance of our ordinances and zoning designed for responsible growth, while respecting the rural character of Lower Saucon Township. After much deliberation, I voted against rezoning the landfill property and because I wanted a traffic evaluation done prior to the rezoning along Easton Road I voted against that rezoning as well. I will review the conclusions of the landfill conditional use hearings and balance what is best for the community with the desires of individual property owners.

If elected to council, how do you plan to address these challenges/what else do you hope to accomplish?

I would like to encourage residents to work together in a proactive civil manner rather than a reactive manner to address township problems such as storm water management, sewage problems, traffic concerns and recreational and open space needs. The broad-based citizen’s effort that led to the township’s acquisition of Polk Valley Park, which I was proud to be an active participant in, is the type of unified community project which I will support as a council representative.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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