Bethlehem Press

Friday, January 24, 2020


Wednesday, September 5, 2012 by The Press in Local News

Daniel McNeill, former Whitehall Township executive with a strong union background, wasted no time getting his campaign started for state representative in the 133rd District.

The state Democratic Committee on Monday tapped the 65-year-old Hokendauqua resident as the party's candidate.

"This isn't an 'I, I, I' position," McNeill said in his remarks to committee members at the Fullerton fire hall Sunday. "This is a 'we' position and I believe we have to approach this as a team."

Lehigh County Democratic Chairman Rick Daugherty said the party will soundly back McNeill in his campaign, a seat held by a Democrat for decades.

The action by the state committee follows a recommendation from party committee members of the 133rd District who, on Sunday, gave McNeill 15 votes, the highest of the eight persons seeking to fill the vacancy.

McNeill fills the void on November's Democratic ballot. State Rep. Joseph Brennan withdrew his name from the ballot following his arrest Aug. 15 on drunken driving and simple assault charges. Brennan announced last Wednesday he would not seek re-election following a news conference held in Catasauqua last Tuesday by Republican candidate David Molony.

McNeill will now face Molony for 133rd district legislative seat.

The district includes Coplay, Catasauqua, sections of Whitehall Township and wards in south Bethlehem, east Allentown and Fountain Hill. For decades it has been represented by someone from Bethlehem and Fountain Hill. That will change after the election, regardless of whether McNeill or Molony wins.

During Sunday's vote by the local committee members, McNeill received 15 of the possible 40 votes. Fountain Hill Mayor Jose Rosado came in second with 11 votes. Each of the eight candidates had a person nominate him or her and a second vote was then given by another person, after which each aspiring candidate gave a three-minute address.

Daugherty said McNeill had strong support from party committee members from Whitehall and is well-known in the district.

Other local candidates aspiring to secure the committee's favor included Catasauqua Councilwoman Jessica Kroope and Coplay Councilman William Leiner Jr., a former Lehigh County commissioner and borough mayor. Bethlehem residents Anthony Rybak, George H. Yasso, Ray Lynn and Patricia Smith-Mendsen also went after the nomination.

McNeill commented Sunday that the district should be served by a person who can get the job done in Harrisburg for local constituents.

Employed with Lehigh County's Health Services, McNeill served as Lehigh County manager of regional partnerships, as Whitehall commissioner for two terms and as an appointed Whitehall Township executive.

He was also employed with the state's Department of Weights and Measures.

Affiliated with Ironworkers Local 36 for 38 years, McNeill was the union's business agent and secretary for seven years, vice president of Lehigh Valley Building Trades for seven years and was responsible for seeking employment for 150 workers.

Married for 27 years to Jeanne McNeill, the couple has two daughters, ages 19 and 25.