The beloved former Mayor of Kennett Square returns to fill a new role as borough councilman
By P.J. D’Annunzio, Staff Writer, KennettTimes.com
KENNETT SQUARE — Leon Spencer’s work is not done.
The man who was at the helm of Kennett Square as mayor for a decade is back in the newly elected station of borough councilman. In that role he seeks to continue a lifetime of service to people of Kennett Square and the community he cherishes so greatly.
“I’ve always been of the mind that if you have the ability to do something and you sense the need for it to be done, then you have no choice but to get involved. Kennett Square is a great community, but I think there are things we can still do, things that need to be done,” he said.
“I think it’s important to make sure that the relationship between the mayor and the council is a solid one,” he continued. “As I said in a debate before the election, I want to make sure the current mayor knows he has one hundred percent support from the council. As a council member I feel like I’m able to ensure that that’s the case.”
Spencer believes that his experiences as mayor and as the representative for the five Southern districts to the Chester County Intermediate Unit have left him well-prepared for his seat on the Borough Council.
“I am particularly sensitive to people; what the people need,” he said. “As the mayor in a municipality in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, my primary responsibility was to the police department. Through that, through those experiences, I feel I have a pretty good sense of what the people in the community need, and how to service those needs.”
In order to address the most pressing of those needs, Spencer is focusing on an issue that is on almost every American’s mind of late, the national economic climate, and how it’s impacting citizens on the local level.
“I think that certainly in these times, ensuring that the borough is fiscally sound is important—the economy is effecting everyone’s lives…the budget is important, we need to make sure we make good, solid fiscal decisions. We have to make sure we’re good stewards of the dollar,” he said.
“We need to monitor how we spend our dollars,” he explained. “We may have different viewpoints on how to do that, but I think there are ways that we can trim some of our expenses. I want to share those thoughts with the council.”
But Spencer’s concerns go beyond dollars and cents. He is also focusing on the very fabric of the community itself by assessing the equity of its residents.
“I think that the ever-changing makeup of our population is significant, and I’ve always been one to believe that you treat people fairly, no matter whom they are or what they believe,” he said. “I need to make sure that the Hispanic population has a voice in this community in which it lives. I’m not sure if we’ve accomplished that yet. Case in point: I really believe that council meetings should be a place where a person of Hispanic background who isn’t well-versed in English and who wants to voice an opinion should have some way to do that, whether it be with an interpreter or something else; the community has to be user friendly.”
Spencer feels the solution to this problem is for the borough to utilize a well-established resource right in its backyard.
“I think there’s a great opportunity for the council—and I’ve thought this for years—to work with more closely with the school district. Some of the challenges that the district faces are language issues, and I think the district has done quite well with that. So, I think we can learn from them. I think there should be ongoing communication with the school board and the borough council, it shouldn’t be sporadic,” he stated.
To Spencer, at the end of the day, Kennett Square is home; a home that he holds dear and works to preserve:
“Kennett Square is a place, in my mind, where people look out for each other…and they do so for the good of the whole,” he said. “I really think people in Kennett care about their community: they want to make it attractive, they want to make it a place that is vibrant and alive, and they want to make it a place that people will recognize. They want people who don’t live here to say ‘gee, I’d like to go there for dinner or I’d like to see the shops or I’d like to at least go there and see what this place is I keep hearing about.’ Back when I worked in New Castle County down in Delaware I heard people talk about things like Tallulah’s Table, or coming to Longwood, or talk about how quaint the town is.”
As a communitarian, Spencer shows no signs of slowing down. As a councilman and continuing public servant, he takes the duties with the utmost seriousness.
In short, Leon Spencer cares about Kennett.
“I like to think of it as a place where people want to come; they want to experience Kennett Square,” he said. “That, to me, is a big deal.”