With two weeks to go until Election Day, a community activist and volunteer has announced a write-in campaign for Bethlehem mayor.
Todd Dietrich, 32, is a software-training consultant for an information technology company, this year’s Downtown Bethlehem Association Volunteer of the Year and now an independent candidate for mayor.
A news release from Dietrich said he has a “strong desire to give residents a real choice in candidates when it comes to voting for mayor.”
City Councilman Bob Donchez, the Democratic nominee for mayor, is the only name that will appear on the ballot for city mayor on Nov. 5. No Republicans ran.
Donchez defeated fellow City Councilman J. William Reynolds in the Democratic primary election in May.
The negative tone of that race upset many, including Dietrich, who described his feelings in a blog posted Monday.
“I found it more than a bit disturbing,” Dietrich wrote. “While one candidate chose to look toward the future of our great city, the other candidate chose to run a disgracefully negative campaign. Unfortunately, the latter candidate won the primary and is now the only person listed on the ballot for mayor.”
In his news release, Dietrich said that he has been a registered independent since he turned 18 and is “not beholden to the positions of the two major parties.”
“I’m a straight shooter who isn’t afraid to make an informed decision after gathering the facts and soliciting input from all sides,” Dietrich said. “I won’t simply bend to the whims of those who complain the loudest like many elected officials do. I also will not make any campaign promises since I know the mayor can’t do it all alone. He or she needs to work with the citizens of Bethlehem as well as City Council to make real change happen.”
Dietrich grew up in Allentown and graduated from William Allen High School in 1999. He graduated from Penn State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Sciences and Technology.
He moved to Bethlehem two years ago when he purchased his first home in the city. For the past year, he said, he has regularly attended City Council meetings.
Over the past several years Dietrich has been an active member of the Lehigh Valley community, especially in Bethlehem, where he’s regularly volunteered with the Downtown Bethlehem Association and Musikfest.
Dietrich invited city residents to attend a Meet and Greet event with him on Thursday at Tapas on Main from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is not a campaign fundraiser and he said he will not be accepting or asking for donations; only votes.
Voters are welcomed to solicit Dietrich’s opinions on various issues facing the city including topics such as public safety, economic development, and fiscal responsibility. They can also get more information and regular updates on his campaign Facebook fan page: facebook.com/dietrichforbethlehem.