Bridging the divide: Milford, Pa., mayor shows us how
Here's something worth watching

On the surface, Sean Strub doesn't seem a likely candidate to be mayor of Milford, a small town (about 1,000) on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River near Port Jervis, where three of the Delaware's four states meet (Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.)

Nonetheless, he is; elected with 56% of the vote on Nov. 8, 2017. He is also a long-term AIDS survivor, avid supporter of LGBTQ rights, AIDS activist and owner of Milford's signature hotel, the Hotel Fauchere.

His winning campaign is the subject of a newly released documentary, "My Friend, the Mayor; Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump," by Max Westerman, a Dutch journalist who has known Strub since they both attended Columbia University in the late 1970s.

"When Sean Strub, one of my most liberal and politically active friends, told me he was running for mayor in a small town that voted for Donald Trump, I didn't think he had a chance," said Westerman.

"When I visited Sean during the campaign I discovered not only that he had a chance, but I saw the adage 'all politics is local' in action," Westerman said. "Ultimately, Sean gained  support because his constituents saw him as a neighbor, more so than a partisan label."

For what it's worth, I've watched the movie and it's really heartening in these difficult, divisive times to see how a community can see beyond the knee-jerk reactions cultivated on the national stage. I hold out hope that we don't have to be forever mired in cartoon versions of the opposition, on whatever side.

Even Strub's campaign chairman is -- at the time of the filming -- an avid Trump supporter.  He was happy enough to cross party lines to work for Strub's campaign and vote for the person whom he believed would make a good mayor and who would do good by his adopted home town.

The movie was selected to premiere at the Palm Springs Documentary Festival and the New York Independent Film Festival, both of which were canceled because of Covid-19

But not to worry, you can see it right away on Amazon Prime, as I did.

Really, it's a sweet little movie and well worth your time.

About Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire has been a journalist for 30 years in New York and Connecticut. She started in weekly newspapers and moved to full-time work in dailies 25 years ago. She knows about the tectonic changes in journalism firsthand, having been part of what was euphemistically called a "reduction in force" six years ago. Now she's working to find new ways to "do" the news as an independent online publisher of news about the Delaware River, its watershed and its people.

Leave a Comment