With the November 8 election day swiftly approaching, Upper Dublin Patch is on a mission to inform its readers about the background and stances of every single candidate running for office in our township.
We'll present two pieces on every candidate: first an interview on their personal background, followed by a second to find out their viewpoint on key issues. To find which ward you're in, click here.
Patricia Zaffarano is completing her fourth six-year term as district judge, and will face challenger Michael Paston on election day. In May's primary election, for which both candidates cross-filed, Zaffarano won the Republican ballot with almost 80 percent of the vote. However, she was unable to edge Paston on the Democratic ballot, losing by 54 votes, 985 to 931. To find out more about the position and its responsibilities, .
Upper Dublin Patch: What publicly elected offices have you held, and for how long?
Patricia Zaffarano: The position of Magisterial District Judge is the first and only publicly elected office I have run for and held. I was first elected in 1987 and have continued to serve the communities of Upper Dublin Township and Ambler Borough since then by successfully being re-elected each time with the support of Republican, Democrat and Independent voters.
UDP: Can you take a moment to tell our readers a bit about yourself – where you’re from, your education, and your professional and personal achievements?
PZ: I am a life-long resident of Upper Dublin and a graduate of Upper Dublin High School. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement & Corrections from Penn State and a law degree from Villanova. I then served a 2 year judicial clerkship followed by 7 years as an Assistant District Attorney here in Montgomery County, specializing in prosecuting sex crimes. Thereafter, I was elected to the position I now hold.
My husband and I have been married for 23 years.
I have been very fortunate to live, work and serve in the community that I have always called home.
UDP: You have been a longstanding judge. Why did you choose to make this your career?
PZ: I always wanted to be an attorney and work within the criminal justice system. I’m sure my Dad’s 34 years as a police officer here in Upper Dublin had an impact on my decision. My experience as a prosecutor taught me the inner workings of the courtroom, how to try cases and how to be an effective advocate for justice on behalf of the community. Eventually I felt that I could do more on the bench. Serving as a judge has been an honor and a privilege. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing.
UDP: What would you say are a few key characteristics of the way you run your court? What can individuals expect when entering it?
PZ: When people come to the District Court they can expect to have a full opportunity to be heard. They will be treated with patience and respect, and can be assured that I will do my best to listen to them and then render my decision in a fair and impartial manner. Practically, we do our best to hold the hearings in a prompt and timely fashion.
I am also a full-time judge who takes who takes pride in interacting with the public and helping them even when not in the courtroom.
Stick with Patch as we continue to speak with candidates. Click for previous interviews. Incumbents in bold.
Upper Dublin Township Commissioners
Ward 1: (R), (D)
Ward 5: (D), (R)
Ward 7: (R), (D)
UDSD School Board
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Magisterial District Judge