Bethlehem City Council race too close to call – The Morning Call

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The candidates include newcomers Hillary Kwiatek, Rachel Leon and Kiera Wilhelm, and incumbents Bryan Callahan and Grace Crampsie-Smith. Incumbents Olga Negron and Council President Adam Waldron are not running for reelection.

The winners of the primary are likely to be elected in November; no Republican is running for a seat.

As of about 11: 30 p.m. Tuesday, according to unofficial election results out of Northampton and Lehigh counties, Crampsie-Smith was in the lead with 3,766 votes, followed by Wilhelm with 3,760, Leon with 3,433 and Kwiatek with 3,426.

Bethlehem City Council - Democratic





Kiera Wilhelm (Democratic)



Hillary Kwiatek (Democratic)





Bryan Callahan (Democratic)



100% of precincts reporting

Bethlehem City Council - Republican(Vote for 4)


No Candidate (Unaffiliated)

Running Unopposed

Callahan had 2,824, according to unofficial results.

Crampsie-Smith was appointed to council in 2019 to fulfill the four-month, unexpired term of council member Shawn Martell. She went on to win a two-year term effective January 2020 that was created when Eric Evans resigned to become city business manager.

Crampsie-Smith said she is seeking reelection so she can continue promoting her agenda of assuring public health and safety, balancing economic development with housing that is inclusive and affordable, and encouraging sound fiscal management.

A graduate of Moravian College, Wilhelm is the director of Fig Bethlehem magazine, a publication that supports and promotes local businesses and organizations in the Lehigh Valley.

If elected, Wilhelm said she would support issues like diversity, racial justice and equality, and promote sustainability, including the addition of green spaces in the city and improved public transportation, walkability and targets outlined in city’s climate action plan. Wilhelm also supports increasing affordable housing options, ending housing insecurity and policies that support Bethlehem’s small-business community.

A West Bethlehem resident, Kwiatek works at Lehigh University as a communications specialist.

If elected, Kwiatek’s priorities would include creating jobs with family-sustaining wages while recovering from the pandemic. The city must also increase the availability of quality, affordable housing, she said.

Kwiatek wants to create a partnership between the city’s public health and police departments. Health care workers can be dispatched instead of police to respond to mental health, substance abuse or other nonviolent incidents, she said.

She also would prioritize the city’s climate action plan, creating neighborhood parks and family activities, supporting diverse, small, local businesses and addressing racism and inequity in the city.

Leon is a former member of the military and a student at Northampton Community College. She has not responded to previous requests for comment.

After speculation that he would run for mayor, Callahan announced he would seek his third term on City Council instead.

A full-time educator in Bethlehem Area School District’s Northeast Middle School, Callahan said the time isn’t right to run for mayor. He recently opened Callahan’s Driving School and Testing Center with his brother, former Mayor John Callahan, which will require a significant amount of time.

Morning Call reporter Christina Tatu can be reached at 610-820-6583 or [email protected].

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