Andy Warren and Hal Marcovitz have known each other since the late 1970s when Andy ran in his first campaign for Bucks County commissioner. Hal covered the campaign, working then as a reporter for the Doylestown Intelligencer. Later, Hal moved on to the Allentown Morning Call, where he remained posted to the Bucks County Courthouse, covering the county government and the political stories behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Andy pursued his career in politics, ultimately serving as a commissioner into the 1990s. He would later go on to a second career as a regional administrator for PennDOT.
Hal left daily journalism in 2006. In the subsequent years, Hal and Andy remained in contact, meeting a few times a year for lunch while always exchanging ideas and opinions on past political stories in Bucks County as well as current events as they were unfolding.
During one such lunch, Andy mentioned to Hal that he had just attended the funerals of two good friends and noted Bucks County political leaders. Andy said it had occurred to him that so many people who were involved in the evolution of the Bucks County political scene were no longer with us, and that he feared a lot of history is being lost. He wondered whether there was a way to preserve the story. After talking over the idea, Andy and Hal focused on producing a book that essentially covers the evolution of Bucks County politics over the past 75 years.
Hal and Andy got down to work. Over the course of the past two years they have interviewed more than 20 current and former political leaders in Bucks County. They have culled through boxes of public records as well as old newspaper clippings, some dating back decades. They have gathered numerous photographs illustrating the transition of Bucks County from a one-time rural region into a bustling collar county that enjoys a tremendous degree of influence in regional and state politics. The project was slowed for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic, but eventually the work got back on course and now Notes on Bucks County is available to readers.
The book includes the following features:
A Foreword by Bucks County Community College professor Bill Pezza.
An Introduction by Andy, explaining the factors that led to the initiation of the project and the process the authors followed in putting the book together.
A chapter on the growth of Bucks County since the days when two-fisted Joe Grundy ruled the county political scene. The chapter covers the growth of Levittown, the influence of author James Michener, a few cases of corruption, and the emergence of such dominant political leaders as Harry Fawkes and Milt Berkes.
A look at the case known as Beckert v. Warren, which started out as a dispute over a line item in the county budget and grew into something of a constitutional crisis.
Two chapters focusing on the Point Pleasant water project, without question the most divisive local issue to have ever faced the citizens of Bucks County.
A chapter devoted to the careers and eventual clash between Pete Kostmayer and Jim Greenwood, since the 1970s perhaps the two most dominant political figures in Bucks County politics.
A look at the Outsiders—the personalities who over the years have been more than willing to bend the rules, making Bucks County a place where electoral success has never been a sure thing.
A chapter devoted to the two Bucks County political leaders, Mark Schweiker and Jim Cawley, who found success in statewide electoral politics.
The authors examine the county election of 2019, the year in which the long-dominant Bucks County Republican Committee finally imploded.
A look at the 2020 presidential election in Bucks County.
And a final note by Hal, in which he comments on the state of the press in Bucks County, an institution in which he was very much a part for nearly three decades. We hope you enjoy reading Notes on Bucks County as much as we enjoyed telling the story. We look forward to hearing your comments on the book.
Andy Warren and Hal Marcovitz
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