Elaine Paul Schaefer has been an engaged resident and environmental activist in the Newtown Square section of Radnor Township for over 20 years. Her unique blend of professional and political experiences makes her a compelling candidate for Delaware County Council. She served as the first female President of her Township's Board of Commissioners, won a Republican seat that flipped her Township blue in 2009, and implemented major government reform arising from unprecedented government corruption and waste. None of those accomplishments would have been possible without her personal call to action, and decades of commitment to improving her community.
Elaine became deeply involved in local politics in 2002, when proposed development of the Ardrossan Farm inspired her to found the Radnor Conservancy. With her new organization, she led a successful open space bond referendum campaign to save 71 acres of the historical farm from suburban development with a stunning 79% of the vote. When the time came for Radnor Township to issue the bond, the Republican controlled Board of Commissioners stalled and failed to deliver. But Elaine was committed to her cause. So, she ran to replace them. Her victory, in a Republican District, was the seat needed to flip the Board of Commissioners in her town to Democratic control. Little did she know that her work had just begun.
At that time, the Township was in a state of disarray with a financial corruption controversy, a record of deficit spending and high levels of resident distrust of the local government. Under Elaine’s leadership, the new Democratic majority completely revamped the government, appointing an entirely new management structure, instituting a higher level of financial reporting, increasing transparency and right-sizing the staff. The Board remains under Democratic control today, and Radnor serves as a model of accountable local government in our region -- a model needed for Delaware County Council.
Elaine Paul Schaefer knows what it takes to reform an inefficient, corrupt and dysfunctional government structure. DelCo’s government has been under single-party control for too long and the will of the people isn’t represented by a Board that supports a private prison, fails to support a health department, and doesn’t put a high enough priority on open space preservation. These are issues that negatively impact all of our diverse communities in Delaware County, and we deserve more. Elaine is running to -- once again -- reform a stagnant, unfair system to an accountable, transparent and fair branch of local government.
Change doesn’t come easily. It will be a long, tough journey, but with your help, Elaine hopes to have the responsibility and privilege of working for you.
Elaine lives in the Newtown Square section of Radnor with her husband, John, of 27 years and her poorly trained but lovable Labrador Retriever, Biggie Smalls. Her three children are grown, two working in Boston and her youngest a junior at UNC. Elaine received her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her Juris Doctorate from William and Mary.
Professionally, after starting her career as a lawyer, and founding the Radnor Conservancy, Elaine has continued her commitment to the environment. She is the Executive Director of the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, a non-profit organization that protects the Schuylkill River’s water quality and promotes positive development of Schuylkill River Trail and the communities in the Schuylkill watershed. She has also served on the Delaware County Conservation District Board, and she is currently a board member of Conservation Voters of PA, the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce, the 9/11 Memorial Trail, the Circuit Trail Coalition, and Heritage PA.
Politically, Elaine has been a Democratic Committeewoman for many years. In 2016, she ran for PA State Representative in 165. Despite losing that election in a tough year for Democrats, she set fundraising and volunteer engagement records that cycle. Most of her political energy is spent helping strong female candidates get elected. As recently as 2018, she was an ardent supporter of her newly elected State Representative Jennifer O’Mara, and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon.