Dolores seeks Damascus seat
May 11, 2011 —
When Dolores Keesler was unexpectedly removed from her appointment as Damascus Township’s representative to the Upper Delaware Council (UDC), where she had been serving as chair following her election in January 2011, she was stunned.
That termination by Damascus supervisors, Keesler said, misrepresents the balanced perspective she feels she brought to her role. Various members of the UDC have publicly complimented Keesler for her conduct during UDC meetings. But even before she was elected chair, Keesler regularly asked tough questions when she felt it was necessary. It’s a practice that has gained her respect from some and wariness from others.
“I was very happy serving my community on the UDC,” she said, “then I was thrust into the limelight. My vision for the township includes protecting our clean water and air, improvement and maintenance of town infrastructure, transparency and open governance, disclosing conflicts of interest and a sustainable economy. ”
Early in 2011, the supervisors called Keesler in for a meeting and told her they had gotten complaints about her stance on gas drilling. Keesler told them she was striving to be fair and even-handed on the issue. “They labeled me anti-gas,” she said. “I am not anti-anything. I am pro. I am for our environment, for our river’s life. I’m for taking the time to make sure we get this right, so that our grandchildren can enjoy a productive and safe future here.”
While a large percentage of the land in the township is under lease, the number of leaseholders representing that acreage is estimated to be considerably smaller than the number of non-leaseholders who live and vote there. It is that portion of the citizenry that Keesler would like to see more fully represented in the township, where each of the current supervisors is a leaseholder with personal stakes in the development of natural gas.
Keesler has become increasingly unhappy with how township supervisors are conducting business. Beyond the issue of gas drilling, Keesler said she has a number of other concerns. “I want accountability,” she said. “I want to see the books.”
While considering what to do, she began receiving phone calls and email messages from other residents urging her to run for supervisor. “This has nothing to do with retaliation or revenge,” Keesler said. “It’s about what is the right thing to do.”