State senator Andrew Dinniman announces retirement

Photo: Garen M. via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

PA State Senator Andrew Dinniman of West Chester announced his retirement in a press statement released on Feb. 7.

Dinniman, 75, is not seeking reelection in order to spend more time with his wife, Margo Dinniman. The two have been married for 51 years. Unfortunately, Mrs. Dinniman has been dealing with health issues for the past few years. Senator Dinniman stated, “Anyone who seeks public office understands that it’s a family decision…Even after a three-month stay at the hospital and Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation, she remained my biggest cheerleader, my most astute advisor, my rock.”

Although Mrs. Dinniman planned to support her husband again in this year’s election, Senator Dinniman stated that it is “[his] turn to be there for [his] wife.” Dinniman shared his gratitude for working for Chester County for the past 30 years, and promised to “…continue to work hard for you until the very last day of my term.”

In terms of reactions to Dinniman’s decision, there has been a lot of community support. Max James, the communications assistant for Senator Dinniman’s office, and also the previous editor-in-chief for The Quad, has received “…a huge outpouring from constituents and other elected officials thanking Dinniman for his decades of service.” James reflected that “it has been amazing to see hundreds of comments come in on one Facebook post alone.”

Senator Dinniman also has past connections with West Chester University. He directed the Center for International Programs and taught a course in Global Perspectives, according to his website. Later in his career, he was awarded WCU’s President’s Medal for Service for his dedication to education. Dinniman supports reducing the cost of education, and “he has introduced Senate Bill 829 to ensure that all children have access to early education programs regardless of where they live,” according to his website. In the Senate, Dinniman works as the minority chair of the Senate Education Committee.

In 2006, Dinniman became the first Democrat elected as a state senator since the 1890s. In James’ opinion, “Dinniman’s retirement signifies the end of an era in Chester County politics. When he was elected the state senator, he really was one of the only democrats in an elected position in the county. Now, at the time of his departure, every county seat has turned blue.”

Dinniman is a strong opponent of the Mariner East pipeline construction, supporting several bills to regulate the pipeline. This pipeline is located only a few miles from West Chester University. In terms of proximity to schools, Dinniman supports Senate Bill 260, which “outlines types of information that pipeline operators must share with schools that fall within 1,000 feet of hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, including how to respond to a leak. Currently, pipeline operators are not required to provide this information,” according to his website.

In his announcement for retirement, Dinniman endorsed one of his aides, Don Vymazal of Phoenixville. “I am throwing the full weight of my candidacy and support behind Don because I know him and we know what he stands for,” Dinniman stated. Other candidates running are Kyle Boyer of Tredyffrin-Easttown, who is a Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board member, and incumbent state Rep. Carolyn Comitta of West Chester.

Read more about the concerns of local citizens in Brendan Lordan’s Quad articles titled “The ongoing conflict with Mariner East pipeline construction” and “Mariner East 2 pipeline update.”

Alexis Lincoln is a third-year student majoring in English and minoring in journalism.

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