You may know Frank S. Burstein as Patch's newest blogger, playing host to . You also may know Frank as the Kosher Deli guy at Wegman's in Collegeville. Or, you could know him as a local Democratic committee person. But, what you may not have known is that Burstein has been selected to be one of eight delegates from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth to be serving at this year's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Burstein, along with his wife, has lived in Linfield at since 2009 (he's also the president of the homeowners association there). He is a retired senior financial advisor, working with AIG Retirement, VALIC for 12-and-a-half years. Prior to that he worked at Raymond James & Associates Brokerage Firm for six years, and has been a Chief Financial Officer (independent consultant).
Throughout his professional career; however, Burstein has been very active in his community, both charitably and politically. A former resident of Elkins Park and Warminster, Burstein has a rich history in local connections:
"My wife and I moved in to Elkins Park in Montgomery County back in 1978. I was registered to vote when I was 21. Back then you couldn’t be 18 to be registered to vote. I moved into the development and get a knock on the door from the local committee person. The moving truck was still outside.
"She said ‘Would you be interested in becoming a Democratic committee person?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve been a Democrat, I just started voting. Sure, why not?’ So, I got involved that way. I became a committee person to a ward leader. I was treasurer of the Cheltenham Democratic Party for 10 years. They had asked me if I would consider running township commissioner of Cheltenham. Around that time, my wife and I made the decision to move to Bucks County, which we did.
"Interestingly enough, I was hooked on politics – not as an occupation but an avocation. I contacted the local head of the Warminster Democratic Party at the time and went up there before we did. I figured if I wanted to stay active, I’d get active immediately. I guess about six months later in the beginning of January of 1989, I got a knock on the door from a couple of local democrats I had met and they asked if I wanted to run for township supervisor. I said, ‘Why me? I just moved into the township.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, but you have no enemies.’ I said, ‘OK. I’ll put the time and energy in, but I’m not looking to put money into it or anything like that.’ I ran the first time and lost township-wide by 87 votes.
"I was still interested. Warminster was up-and-coming. They had some financial issues and my background was in accounting and finance. Two years later, I ran again. At that particular election, our party took every single district (out of 17) 2-1, which was unheard of, because at the time, the registration was Republican over Democrat. I won the election, got on the board, was vice chair for two years, was chair for two years, got a lot of things done during that time.
"Warminster was involved with the closing of the Naval Air Warfare Center, which there was a lot of things going on in the early-90s with the Base Closure Act. They lost about 2,500 jobs, went down to Washington and met the senators and congressmen. We really didn’t make much headway there, but over time we wound up coming up with a plan to redevelop that facility. Right now it’s doing well. There’s about 4,000 jobs there because that whole area which was considered open space became park land. Erickson Properties came in and developed it.
"We lived in Warminster for 21 years, was very active in the party, the Bucks County Democratic Party on the committee level, and also was elected to the Democratic State Committee from Bucks County as a delegate for eight years until we moved here to Montgomery County. [I] served on a lot of boards and commissions.
"My wife wanted to move to a 55-plus community. We knew the builder that we now have here in the township, McGrath, who also had similar developments in Bucks County. So, we made the move. We moved to Linfield, Limerick Township in 2009, which will be almost three years. We moved in in August. Because I had been very active all these years, I said I’d get active again.
"I got involved with the local party and am currently chair of the Limerick Democrats. First deputy of area four, which includes a number of municipalities, including Limerick, Royersford, Upper Providence, Lower Providence, Trappe, Collegeville, etc. So, I’m active there.
"I’m also a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. As far as the convention is concerned, I was asked by the committee chair of Montgomery County to fill out an application form online to the Obama campaign through the Democratic State Committee for the purposes of being selected as a delegate for the convention.
"Years ago, anybody could circulate a petition and if you get enough votes based on the candidates, etc., you go on. They changed the rules a number of years ago where now you have the support of a candidate and basically sign an affidavit that you’re committed to that candidate if you are selected and get on the ballot and go to the convention. They also need approval of the state committee. To make a long story short, I was selected. This particular convention, we’re in the Sixth Congressional District, there are four male delegates, four female delegates and one female alternate delegate.
"The protocol is that you still have to sign a petition to be on the ballot. I will go on the ballot for primary and because it is a non-contested primary for president, all of those who were selected will go to the convention. I’m looking forward to it. The actual convention is Labor Day week. That Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday following Labor Day. They do request the delegates come the Sunday before Labor Day, because you have caucuses to learn what’s going on. Will probably return that Friday after Labor Day."
Burstein will be an active blogger on Patch leading up to the Democratic National Convention, and then will do Live Blogging from Charlotte, providing photos and insights from what he describes as the "electrifying" experience.
Otherwise, Burstein is involved or has been involved in a number of other activities. Many of those activities were done with the full support of his wife, who also is active in some of his interests:
- Chairman of the Bucks for Kids non-profit in Bucks County
- Former Chairman for Bucks COunty Children & Youth Services
- Former Chairman, Warminster Township Planning & Finance Committee
- Former Treasurer, member Board of Directors for Warminster Township Municipal Authority
- Member of the Warminster Amateur Radio Club
- Member of the Bucks County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- Member of the Montgomery County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- Former Chairman of the Committee for Over 10,000 in population for the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors
- Honorable Discharge, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Reserves Medical Unit
"I look at is as a participation in a lot of different areas," Burstein concluded. "I’m the type of individual that likes to participate and give back to the community. Same thing as politics. I feel people need to get involved and participate in the process. Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to be registered to vote. It’s letting people know that certain things can be done from the local level up to the national level. Being involved directly in it is very challenging. I got to one convention myself when Clinton was in his first election. It was an electrifying experience. Now this year I’ll be a delegate. That’s something –getting to meet the top elected official in the country. To me, that’s an honor to do that."
He left us on one note that he lives his life by day-in and day-out.
"I just enjoy doing that and different things I’m involved in," he said. "I tell people today, you never grow old, you only grow older. As you grow older, you have a lot of life experiences. Same thing with my two sons. They always come to me and ask me for advice. It’s all learning experiences that you can pass on to different generations and etc. But, I enjoy doing it."