Mayor Robert Donchez seeks second term
Bethlehem Mayor Robert J. Donchez has announced that he will be a candidate for re-election in the May 15 primary election.
In announcing his candidacy for re-election, Donchez said he seeks to continue his lifetime commitment to Bethlehem and will focus on fiscal responsibility, public safety, economic development, strong neighborhoods, openness in government, improving the business districts and recreational facilities and increasing the street overlay programs.
In a release issued last Friday, Donchez said that during the past three years, difficult decisions have been made to deal with the city’s financial outlook.
“These decisions have succeeded with good and stable budgeting, which was in serious need at the outset of my term.,” he said in the release. “This led directly to improvement of the City’s bond rating. We have progressed from “BBB with a positive outlook” to “A- with a positive outlook” and increased the City’s cash balance.”
According to Donchez, Bethlehem continues to be one of the safest cities in Pennsylvania.
“The implementation of the beat officer, increased patrols, partnerships with Lehigh University, Moravian College and the Bethlehem Sands Casino have proven to be effective.
“Currently, my administration is in the process of working closely with Northampton County on consolidation of our 911 Emergency Communication Center as mandated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” he added.
Bethlehem continues to be business friendly, Donchez said.
“During the past three-and-a-half years, the city has continued to see growth in small businesses and continued development on the former Bethlehem Steel property known as LVIP 7 and Majestic Realty,” he said. “With recent changes by the state legislator regarding the CRIZ legislation, the city has begun to see new development especially in South Bethlehem.”
While some city residents might agree on the need for openness in government and their perceived lack of it currently, Donchez points to a pledge he made when first running for mayor.
“I pledged that I would have an Open Door Policy, one day each month, for citizens to come to City Hall with no appointment to discuss their concerns with me,” he said. “I am proud to say over 200 residents have taken advantage of this initiative. In addition, I have conducted nine walking tours throughout our City, followed by neighborhood meetings.”
Bethlehem, through its rich history continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family, according to the press release. Public safety, recreational facilities, strong neighborhoods and quality of Life issues are important reason why families and businesses want to locate in Bethlehem.
Improved partnerships with Lehigh University, Moravian College, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem Area School District, St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network have provided additional funds and programs for city residents, according to the release.
“I believe that Bethlehem has made great progress under my administration,” Donchez said, “but there is so much more to do to continue to keep moving our city forward.
“I respectfully ask the citizens of Bethlehem to review my record,” he said. “I believe it justifies support for another four years to serve as Bethlehem’s mayor.”
Prior to his election as mayor, Donchez served on city council from 1996 to 2013. Before serving as chief of staff to to both Rep. Daniel T. McNeill and Rep. Joseph F. Brennan, he was a social studies teacher in the Allentown School District. He has served on numerous local, county and regional committees and commissions.
He is a Kutztown University graduate and has taken additional graduate courses at Kutztown, DeSales College and Wilkes University,
He and his wife, the former Jayne A. Miller, live in Bethlehem and have two children, Robert and Kristen.