Dear members of the Chester County Democratic Committee,
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kieran Francke. I am the committee person for London Britain Township in Zone 3. I am also a member of the Executive Committee and the second youngest committee person in our ranks. I will graduate in May of 2023 from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in History and Broadcast Journalism.
While most people think of a 21-year-old Democrat, most think of a progressive socialist, and I do not fit that description. I identify as a liberal to very liberal category. I am supporting my friend Leonard Rivera for the Court of Common Pleas this year and am writing to ask you to do the same.
I plan to go to law school in the coming years. Through my coursework and general interest, I have already read many statutes, bills, resolutions, briefs, codes, case laws, opinions, and precedents. I have realized the importance of nominating and endorsing the most qualified candidates for the Court of Common Pleas, of which only a few are genuinely qualified from our slate.
Leonard is definitely the most experienced regarding the number of trials he has tried to verdict, plus the number of years practicing. Leonard has been practicing for over 32 years as a litigator. Leonard started as a public defender and was a registered Democrat early in his career. He moved to Chester County and has worked in litigation for firms and his own firm. He has tried cases in the Court of Common Pleas, Superior, PA Supreme Court, Immigration Court, and Federal District court. He has worked in Immigration law in the past. He currently specializes in family, contract, criminal defense, personal injury, and general civil law. Leonard has also been in more trials than any other candidate in the race during his extensive 32-year career at nearly 200 to verdicts on both the criminal and civil sides.
Leonard knows what a good judge is because of his extensive courtroom experience. He knows the good qualities are compassion, the ability to listen, patience, and understanding of all people who come before him, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, immigration status, or criminal record. Leonard will treat you fairly. So how do I know all of this? The first reason is that Leonard has been a friend of mine since I started as a KAD volunteer in 2019, and I have seen him be very accepting and patient.
The second is that I had friends at Kennett High School whom he coached in Mock Trial. Something I, unfortunately, didn’t have at Avon Grove but wish I did. Leonard was dedicated and passionate about coaching those students to win their cases as if they were his own.
Third, Leonard is on the Chester Water Authority (CWA) board, where he is fighting against Aqua, a for-profit entity that has been trying to buy out the water authority. Leonard is dedicated to the ratepayers in Chesco and Delco, who would be forced to pay much more. He will fight this sale until the bitter end (unless he becomes a judge first).
Fourth, Leonard volunteers for many causes. In politics, Leonard is a member of the CCDC Chair’s Club, the DEI committees in Zone 8, and CCDC. Outside of politics,
- He is on the advisory board of the Technical College-High School, Pennock’s Bridge Campus
- Member of the County Commissioner’s Department of Children, Youth, and Family Services Advisory Committee
- He offers legal help at La Comunidad Hispana, where most of his pro bono work originates. He also served three terms as a board member, including when they applied to become a federally-funded medical center.
- He is a member and past president of the Longwood Rotary Club, which started Operation Warm, where people donate coats for kids and adults, provides scholarships, and build houses in the Kennett Area.
- Finally, Leonard is committed to the Latino Community and, 15 years ago, founded the Latino Luncheon, which meets on the first Friday of every month to build a stronger Latino business network. This organization raises money for a scholarship given to students of Latino Descent who plan to attend either West Chester or Immaculata Universities. Leonard is clearly committed to service in his community and all of Chester County.
Finally, Leonard was appointed by the Pennsylvania State House in 2009 to serve on the Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness. He has been the chair of the entire commission since 2020 and chairs the Interpreter Services subcommittee and Jury Services committees. Through his work in the courtroom and on this Committee, Leonard helped to create a new rule of evidence for state courts, which is a rare occurrence. A Chester County Common Pleas Judge asked one of his clients about his immigration status. Leonard interrupted and said that the information wasn’t relevant. So he reported this event to the Interbranch Commission. They wrote a letter to the PA Supreme Court, and this advice became a rule of evidence, all thanks to Leonard Rivera’s work. But that’s not all. The interbranch commission wrote a letter on a new statewide rule for the re-indigent (impoverished) regarding access. Leonard helped write that letter. He helped write one to the PA Supreme Court about mandatory Anti-Discrimination training for judges and other court personnel trying to make it mandatory. He helped write the booklet on creating a diverse PA bench. He supported in a letter to the senate judiciary committee SB 854 on the LGBTQ panic defense as chair of the commission. He wrote to HUD to talk about the commission and how a proposed rule change in homeless shelters will further discriminate against LGBTQ people, especially the trans community asking for equal access for all. He supported a 2017 PSU study on race and capital punishment decisions and another with the JSGC task force a year later. He wrote a letter to judges on reducing pretrial incarceration of nonviolent indigent defendants and one to the legislature on police reform in 2020. Another letter to ICE agents saying their presence in PA state courtrooms was intimidating to all defendants, legal or not, and that the courts must remain accessible to those here legally or not. There is much more than the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness does in its work. I only talked about more recent work Leonard has done, but there are years more of his work on this commission. His work on this commission shows he has the experience and temperament to be an excellent court of common pleas judge. It shows that he will be fair because he has been fighting it all this time through this statewide commission. The things I mentioned above are linked below in case you would like to read Leonard’s hard work.
So for those reasons, I would like you to vote for Leonard Rivera on February 15th at the Nominating Convention. He is committed to the Democratic Party. He is by far the most experienced candidate and by far the most understanding and compassionate one. If anyone has any questions for me, please feel free to contact me.
London Britain Committee Person
CCDC Executive Committee Member at Large