Mary Kozak

Mary Kozak, Berks' newly elected recorder of deeds, is applauded by supporters during a post-election event at the Reading Regional Airport in Bern Township.

It's been a whirlwind.

Since Nov. 5, Mary Kozak said she has gotten about three hours of sleep due to all the excitement and flood of calls to her phone offering congratulations for her victory over three-term incumbent Fred Sheeler to become the next Berks County recorder of deeds.

"It has been truly overwhelming," she said Friday afternoon, Nov. 8.

But the victory, she added, does not belong to her alone.

The Reading Republican credited the support and guidance she received from the county GOP committee for helping her get over the finish line in first place. According to complete but unofficial results, Kozak won the position with 37,305 votes, defeating Sheeler by nearly 1,800 votes.

"I was the CEO of my campaign, but we did it as a team," she said. "It may have my name on it but this victory belongs to a lot of people. We never took anything for granted."

Kozak said she is looking forward to putting that leadership to use in her new position.

She said she's confident she will pick up the job quickly. But, in the meantime, she said she will depend on the professionalism and expertise of those who work in the office to ensure a smooth transition. She would also like to sit down with Sheeler to go over a few things.

But that may not be a possibility.

After his loss, Sheeler expressed distress over his loss, saying his competitor did not have the experience to run the office. As he had during the campaign, he said Kozak has "no knowledge of what the position entails" and that she failed to fill out the proper paperwork needed to run. Kozak ran in the primary election as a write-in candidate after her incomplete paperwork led her to pull her name from the ballot.

Kozak pushed back on those comments. She said Sheeler doesn't know her well enough to be able to say what he did and that he is greatly underestimating her abilities.

"I guess I must have done something right as CEO of my campaign since I was able to defeat a three-term incumbent," she said. "When mistakes were made, and I acknowledge that mistakes were made, I never threw anyone else under the bus because as the leader of my team I was responsible. That goes right to my integrity."

Kozak said Sheeler was unnecessarily critical of her campaign as soon as he found out he would have to defend his post. She said he was out to get her from the start.

"It was nothing short of bullying from Day 1," she said. "But my team got stronger every time something was thrown in our way. We answered back, and we won."

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