Dolores seeks Damascus seat
Despite being past the deadline for getting on the official primary ballot, she decided to run. Keesler said that both Democratic districts in the township are supporting her write-in candidacy. Last week, she and others mailed letters to 1,300 Democratic and Republican voters in the district, asking them to write her name in on the ballot for the primary election on May 17. Keesler is a write-in candidate for both ballots.
The letter highlights Keesler’s years of involvement with Damascus Township. That experience hearkens back to the days when township officials met in Elvin Swenson’s basement with barely enough room for a few chairs. When she learned in 1971 that the government was going to do something with the river, she went to see the supervisors, only to be told there was nothing they could do. She began reaching out to neighbors.
Today, Keesler seeks to correct the perception that she does not support private property rights. In fact, she fought hard for those rights as a result of the Tocks Island Dam Project, which forced the sale of her aunt and uncle’s beloved property containing the now public—and very popular—Buttermilk Falls. Despite the loss, Keesler says that she appreciates the National Park Service’s role in the region, cleaning up trash, performing law enforcement duties, enhancing river safety and protecting the natural resources.
Having participated in the long struggle and even longer healing process that ensued, Keesler anticipates a similar process related to natural gas development in the region. “People on both sides of this issue need to sit down together and seek common ground,” said Keesler. “Whether you’re a leaseholder or not, if something goes wrong, we all need to be on the same page to protect our way of life. That’s one reason why we shouldn’t rush into this.
“Our township is a valuable asset, and the citizens feel it should remain so. We are capable of going into the future with ways for the township to thrive, as other areas have done in similar circumstances. I have a belief in American ingenuity.”
Keesler’s parents owned a property in the Upper Delaware and she and her husband bought their own on River Road in 1965. She began teaching for the Wayne Highlands School District in 1975 and retired in 2001. A lay speaker for Callicoon United Methodist Church, Keesler says that her life has been an unpredictable path that tends to follow God’s lead.
As she rounds this next bend, she asks, “Where do You want me now?” And she’s confident of the answer.