Barbara Handelin (Willistown Township Supervisor)

Barbara is a geneticist entrepreneur who has a long history of being a voice for those who are unheard, and a grassroots organizer for ethics in a highly ethically charged field; human genetics. Barbara and her family moved to the area in 1994 where her son and daughter grew up and were educated, in both the Quaker school tradition for elementary school, and in public high school.

Today, Dr. Handelin is CEO and cofounder of BioPontis Alliance for Rare Diseases, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making new therapies for rare diseases.

Born into Political Activism: Barbara learned about the value of political awareness and personal action by watching her mother stumping for Kennedy and Johnson; calling neighbors on election day with the League of Women Voters; and using the power of the purse by not buying Welch candies (Sugar Daddies!) when they were majority-owned by members of the John Birch Society.

Standing Up for the Unheard: While working on her PhD, Barbara was asked by women faculty and fellow students to be the harassment target who would finally be willing to file charges against a senior faculty member who had a 10-year history of on-campus misconduct without a prior victim willing to come forward. That professor was fired a year later.

Ethics Is Core: Barbara served 10 years as a board member of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the safety of people who participate in human research trials while also affirming the critical value of public participation in research. Barbara has served on a variety of federal committees and advisory panels on ethics in genetic testing, including the HHS Secretary's Advisory Panel on Genetics, Health and Society.

Government for All: "I believe local government serves all its residents; as Supervisor, I will co-create a caring township by listening to your ideas and concerns from every corner of our township so we can solve them together, such as safe walking pathways, more and varied camps that are affordable for families, or town hall meetings on community challenges. I will serve as a voice for those who today are rarely heard in the township halls, ensuring fair and respectful treatment for all our residents. I will work to bring our codes and regulations in line with our growth and contemporary demographics, asking for equity across all parts of our community. I will also work to enhance cohesiveness to build a quality community while sustaining property values."