The Upper Darby Republicans held a press conference on the township building steps Monday to announce Brian Burke as their candidate for mayor. Burke, now president of the Upper Darby Council, changed parties in March to run as a Republican.
Frank Agovino, Delaware County GOP chair, said Burke would work with other GOP team members for “commonsense principals” to bring fiscal stability and safe streets.
“Under dysfunctional Democratic rule, we’re on the verge of losing everything that is dear to us,” Agovino added. “Brian has stepped forward and will fight for a brighter future for us.”
Burke announced his party switch and candidacy following Mayor Barbarann Keffer, a Democrat, saying she would not run again after being charged with a DUI and going into rehab.
Burke said he loves Upper Darby and enjoys serving it.
“After four years of mismanagement and dysfunction by the mayor and her administration, a change is urgently needed,” Burke said. “As president of council, I’ve had a front-row seat of the administration’s mismanagement of basic operations and finance. I’ve been disappointed and frustrated by the administration’s hyper-partisan, overly political bunker mentality.”
For example, “Our police department has worked years without the contract they deserved, making daily sacrifices while politicians in the building made backroom deals for their own benefit,” said Burke. “After four years, we are less safe, less prosperous, and more unstable than at any time in our history. Politics is toxic. This administration has failed. Their constant drama is played out daily in the local press. Why else would a mayor decide not to seek re-election? Successful mayors are re-elected.
“And by the way, if you think the proposed alternative would be any better, just look at the current state of the Upper Darby School District. Again, less safe, less prosperous, and more unstable than at any time in its history.”
Burke referred to the endorsed Democratic candidate for mayor, Edward Brown, now serving as the Upper Darby School Board president.
Former councilman Tom Wagner also spoke.
“We now have a situation in this township; according to widespread news reports, some 18,000 parking tickets have been languishing in this building,” said Wagner. “Not being processed and sent to the courts where they belong, in danger of expiring. The town council has called for an audit of that situation.” But heard nothing for “weeks and weeks.”
“We need a change in the mayor’s office,” Wagner continued. “And we’ve got that change ready to go.” Burke is not interested in politics but interested in working “to get things done for Upper Darby,” Wagner claimed.
Burke has served on Upper Darby Council since 2019 when he was elected as a Democrat to an at-large seat. He has served as president of the township council since January 2022. Burke is a State Local 420 Steamfitter and previously served on the St. Dorothy’s Athletic Association board. He currently serves as vice president of the Aronimink Swim Club. He lives in Upper Darby with his wife and three kids.
Council Vice President Laura Wentz is also running for mayor as an unendorsed Democrat. She is running with a slate of two other unendorsed Democrats called “Democratic Candidates for Change in Upper Darby.”
Those candidates are Alfred E Means II for the 4th District Council seat and Jennifer Howell for Upper Darby School Board.
The primary is May 16. The last day to register to vote is May 1.