Tuesday’s municipal election has generated an outstanding amount of response and engagement from the community. To further foster dialogue leading up to the election, the Centre Daily Times extended an opportunity to all candidates to offer their final thoughts on the election. Their responses are as follows:
Brian Marshall — Centre County Judge of the Court of Common Pleas candidate
It is important that the voters of Centre County understand what our courts do.
County Court is not a daily episode of the courtroom drama “Law and Order.” In fact, jury trials are rare. On a daily basis, our judges address important matters that have a direct impact on people and families, such as child custody and property disputes.
Never miss a local story.
It is imperative that our next judge have the right combination of knowledge, experience, skills and perhaps most importantly, the right temperament. I am that person.
As a partner in Miller Kistler & Campbell, I have amassed broad experience practicing civil and criminal law, with a more recent focus on family law. In addition, I have assembled a set of skills and knowledge that is unmatched in this race. As a former Certified Public Accountant and as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I have an unparalleled command of financial matters. My training as a mediator and in collaborative law demonstrate my commitment to fairness and listening to all sides of a dispute.
I also serve as the 2017 president of the Centre County Bar Association. I will take my leadership experience with me to the bench and work with our judicial system to find new ways for the Court to better serve the residents of Centre County.
I am proud to have run a positive, ethical, grassroots campaign that generated bipartisan support across the county. My supporters recognize my qualifications and that I am the fresh voice that our court needs.
Ron McGlaughlin — Centre County Judge of the Court of Common Pleas candidate
Court of Common Pleas judges have a life-altering impact on the residents of Centre County on a daily basis.
When it comes to being judge, there is no substitute for time and experience in the courtroom. I have been in the trenches for 30 years and have the experience needed to make tough decisions on a daily basis and to ensure that the legal system runs well and is deserving of your faith. I have the knowledge and confidence to apply the law properly and fairly and to conduct the courtroom in both family and criminal law matters. I am the only candidate with jury trial experience. The Fraternal Order of Police has unanimously endorsed me, expressing respect for my professionalism, understanding of the law and work ethic.
Judges must work every day to earn the trust and respect of the residents of the county and that will be my primary goal as judge.
This election is about qualifications, not political party. The differences between me and my opponent are very clear.
On Tuesday, residents can vote for a candidate who has over three decades of proven courtroom experience or one who does not. People can vote for a candidate who has extensive experience in jury trials or one who has none. Residents can vote for a candidate who was unanimously endorsed by the FOP or one who was not. Experience matters. Maturity and integrity matter. I am ready to serve from Day 1 and would appreciate your vote.
Casey McClain — Magisterial District Judge (District 49-2-01) candidate
While I’ve been on the campaign trail since February, there simply has not been enough time to meet everyone. For those I have met, thank you for the warmth, sincerity and interest you have provided. You’ve thanked me for running and you’ve asked me tough questions about my experience and my values. The experiences I have had during this campaign have reinforced my belief that we really do have an engaged and compassionate community.
I set out to run a campaign based on honesty. As a judicial candidate, my honesty toward the public should be a building block for all that follows. Therefore, when asked those tough questions at the doors, at the debates, and at the C-NET interviews, I was open and honest. I told you what I believe and what is the truth; I did not tell you what you wanted to hear just to get your vote, nor did I mislead you.
Building on honesty, I offer the region 16 years of relevant legal experience. As a trial lawyer I’ve represented clients charged with everything from underage drinking to first-degree murder. As an adjunct professor at the law school, I train students on the finer points of advocacy and law, which are critical skills for a lawyer. I have been certified and qualified as a licensed lawyer since 2002 and it is this extensive legal experience that I believe really matters for this position as district judge.
Finally, all elections matter; all votes matter. Please vote Tuesday!
Dave White — Magisterial District Judge (District 49-2-01) candidate
I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout my campaign for magisterial district judge. Your community backing has been incredible and I have always been proud to say I have been part of keeping our community vibrant and safe. I was a community-oriented, State College police officer, serving our residents for more than 31 years. My wife and I have lived in Park Forest and Stonebridge, raising two adult children in our local schools.
I want to be a magistrate for all the right reasons; not for a title, a stepping stone to the next level of judge, not part time to practice law. Only to be the best-trained, full-time magistrate you would expect.
This is why I went to be trained as a magisterial district judge even before winning the election. I wanted to show my initiative, commitment and dedication to be prepared to start on Day 1. I am the only candidate already certified by our Pennsylvania Supreme Court Minor Judiciary Board of Education to perform the duties of magisterial district judge.
My master’s degree in public administration gives me the knowledge and skills to more efficiently administer court services to the public. My extensive training in working with victims is part of a greater team of county service agencies in protecting those needing emergency protection orders.
I am endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 51, which includes all local law enforcement and I ask for your endorsement at the voting polls.
Jason Moser — jury commissioner candidate
The jury commissioner position is an important part of the judicial and civic process. Jury service is one of two civic duties outlined in the Constitution of the United States — voting is the other one. This is a duty to be taken humbly and seriously. The jury commissioner summons’ potential jurors, assists during the selection process, and, in some areas, ensures that jury members are compensated for their services.
The juror, for their part, weighs the evidence presented by both sides in a trial, both civil and criminal, and ultimately decides on a fellow citizen’s — a peer’s — or organization’s innocence or guilt. This civic engagement, as evidenced in research by John Gastil, E. Pierre Deess, Philip J. Weiser and Cindy Simmons, relates to an increase in voter participation by those that have served on juries.
Voting helps elect those who make the rules and laws of day-to-day life; juries deliberate evidence that can significantly impact a person, an organization and/or a community. Neither of these duties should be taken lightly and both should be welcomed earnestly.
Be sure to vote on Tuesday.
Michael Black — State College Borough Mayor candidate
This Election Day, State College borough residents have a decision to make. That decision will shape all our futures.
I first came to State College as a grad student at PSU. Like all of us, fell in love with the community. It was here I met my beautiful wife, Tonya. We decided to start a family. Now, we’ve lived here for 27 years, our son Lake is 12, and I run my own small business downtown.
Our mayor should understand all facets of our community. As a student, a resident, small-business owner and community leader I’ve spent my life cherishing all that State College has given my family. But it’s time to do more.
I believe that we can better preserve and enhance our neighborhoods and green spaces. I believe we can better support the business community and encourage entrepreneurship. I believe we can do more to embrace our diversity, ally with Penn State and to energize our politics with new voices. As your mayor, I promise to do just that. Those are our values. And despite being new to politics, that enthusiasm, vision and respect for community convinced the Centre Daily Times to endorse Michael Black for State College mayor.
Now more than ever, your voice and your vote matters. You deserve a seat at the table and a mayor who has your back. I will.
I would love to earn your trust and humbly ask you to vote Michael Black for mayor.
Don Hahn — State College Borough Mayor candidate
State College is a town where great accomplishments appear to occur anonymously. So many people are involved in our civic and nonprofit communities, coming together to make State College all that it is. We do not need someone to rescue us. Our town is already great because of its volunteers.
Throughout this campaign, I have been honored by the support of many of those with whom I have worked across my lifetime in service to my hometown, from small committees to President of Borough Council. Over this past year, I have loved meeting people, discussing the issues, hearing new perspectives and improving as a person. I believe I am better able to represent State College as mayor now than when I started.
I continue to believe in the importance of neighborhood preservation, fiscal balance and regional cooperation. I am inspired by our Mayor Elizabeth Goreham to continue her legacy of activism for sustainability, inclusivity and entrepreneurship. As a former member of the board of the Pennsylvania Municipal League and the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Governments, I will be an effective advocate for education, affordable housing and local government reform.
At a time when our elected officials in Washington seek to rule through division, substituting charisma for capability, State College needs to avoid falling into the same trap. State College needs a unifier with experience — a leader who will listen.
I humbly ask your vote for Donald Hahn, the Democratic nominee for mayor of State College.
Ron Madrid — State College Borough Mayor candidate
The last door has been knocked on, the last brochure distributed and the last campaign sign handed out. It is now up to the electorate to decide who will be the next mayor of State College.
Ours is and will continue to be an outstanding community to live work and play. It is a safe, inclusive, diverse and tolerant community whose residents represent what is best about being an American. Though we may differ on issues and have different perspectives, we can all take pride in the borough and all of its residents.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported my campaign and provided me encouragement in my quest to become mayor. I would also like to thank the hundreds of borough residents who took the time to speak with me during my door to door campaign and provided me insight into what they consider to be the important issues and challenges facing our community.
Whatever the result of the election, I am a winner because I have gotten to know the residents of State College better and the campaign has strengthened my love for our community.
Richard Fitzgerald — State College Borough Council candidate
I was thrilled to read that this year’s campaigns generated conversations among the electorate to a degree not heard in some time. This type of activity reinforces the vital foundation of this community and more broadly our democratic republic.
This liveliness also affirms that this election cycle is special. A feeling echoed by the people who I have met. A sentiment where the majority of people are less concerned if you are a Democrat or a Republican and more concerned about getting things done in a fiscally and socially responsible manner. Continue the efforts needed to make State College a safe place for children. A community dedicated to taking care of those less fortunate. To know their opinion is being heard. As I told many of you during my visits to your homes I will not forget what you shared with me. If granted the privilege to serve you I will bring your voices with me. I will also reappear at your front door so we can continue our conversation.
In order for government of, by, and for the people to function I urge you to involve yourselves in local politics. Your insights and ideas comprise the threads which hold the fabrics of this community together.
My father, who served in the Navy during World War II, impressed upon me to never take for granted your right to vote. It was secured and continues to be defended by sacrifice. Exercise this gift and vote.
Dan Murphy — State College Borough Council candidate
Thank you, State College!
Since announcing my candidacy for State College Borough Council, I have been humbled and motivated by your encouragement, challenge, and support. I moved to State College for a new professional opportunity. The people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and the experiences I’ve had here have made State College home. It’s an easy community to love, a sentiment I’ve heard in many conversations these last few months — whether at neighborhood cookouts, happy hours downtown, on campus, or in quick conversations on a bike path. I’m ready to get to work for State College. That’s not just a campaign slogan, it’s a commitment.
I know that I have a learning curve ahead of me. You have been incredible teachers. You also have incredible ideas and vision for the future of State College. I have long understood that I represent more than just myself, and I’m ready to bring your voices to my work on Borough Council.
We have big questions to answer in the coming years on issues like affordable housing, community safety, the relationship between campus and community, financial uncertainty, and our growth. I don’t have all the answers. I do have the ability to hear and understand multiple perspectives, a strength in building relationships with others, and a desire to bring new energy and insight to these important conversations.
Thank you for your commitment to State College. Thank you for your vote. I look forward to working for you and for State College.
Evan Myers — State College Borough Council candidate
As this election campaign closes, I have some last thoughts. State College has been my home for 45 years. A Penn Stater, I served on student government. My wife and I have three children, graduates of State High and two current Penn State students. I have extensive local community involvement and have served on many governmental commissions and committees. As a current member of council, I have worked on legislation to ensure fair and affordable housing. I have a business and budgeting background, but I know that government is not a business. Government needs to be efficient, but its functions are to serve the needs of its citizens to provide services and a safe environment. I have been proud of my sponsorship of resolutions and ordinances in council, upholding the rights of immigrants, people of color and the LGBTQ community as well as protecting the environment. We face important issues: our shrinking tax base, pressure on homeowners, and the need for a thorough review of zoning codes addressing everything from height to density and impact on our neighborhoods. We need to have strong and sustainable neighborhoods, protect neighborhood parks and shopping and have a functional working relationship with Penn State and students. We need to find new sources of revenue without additionally burdening taxpayers. I want to continue to build on my decades long efforts to make State College a more vibrant and inclusive community and ask for your vote Tuesday. Working together, State College has a bright future.
Evan Duffey — Bellefonte Borough Council candidate
Dear Bellefonte South Ward residents,
Being on a borough council is a commitment to a community. Bellefonte is a wonderful place to call home with distinctive charm, an active community and wonderful people. Great communities thrive because of dedicated people working hard behind the scenes to make them so. I’m asking you to allow me the opportunity to grow; to expand my contribution.
I have served my community my entire life. On my trail to Eagle Scout, I learned the value of giving my personal time to foster and aid my community. As a member of a community service fraternity in college, I worked hard for charities and local organizations that made a difference in my college home. I have been a volunteer firefighter since age 18, and currently serve as a captain in the Bellefonte Fire Department, helping my community members and visitors on the worst days of their lives and educating them on fire prevention in the hopes of preventing those days.
Borough Council may be toward the bottom of the ballot. But some of the decisions and issues council works on can have the biggest impacts on your everyday life. Council runs our home. I’m asking for your vote for borough council, because I am committed to this community. I want to see it grow, while making sure we protect everything that is already wonderful about it.
So South Ward Residents, please vote for me. I will not squander the opportunity.
Mark Parfitt — Patton Township Supervisor candidate
Since starting this campaign nine months ago, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of Patton Township’s residents, businesses and visitors. Despite having various backgrounds, values and political affiliations, almost everyone I meet shares a common feeling: the Centre Region is a great place to live, work and visit. My goal is to help our community maintain that status as we manage the pressures of unprecedented growth. This isn’t an either/or divisive issue. It’s also not an issue we can ignore. I believe we can successfully help our community to evolve while also preserving what we value most.
Several projects and initiatives currently have the potential to impact our region for generations to come. From the proposed Patton Crossing town center to the Whitehall Road Regional Park to future developments in Toftrees and Gray’s Woods, we’ll only have one opportunity to get each of these done right. At the same time, our community is becoming increasingly unaffordable for individuals and families. Plus, our regional growth zone is close to being maxed out. With a major research university in our backyard, our community is built on the foundations of informing, learning and being inclusive. Having local access to experts in almost any field imaginable is a competitive advantage few other communities can match. If anybody can solve the issues associated with rapid growth, the people of the Centre Region can. As a supervisor, I hope to play an active role in developing and growing this type of community engagement.
Casey Grove — Gregg Township Supervisor and Constable candidate
Gregg Township Residents: Do you want less taxes? Do you want more property rights? Do you want truth and transparency?
If elected your Township Supervisor, I will do my best to see that your rural private property rights are protected, taxes are cut, and that government does not try to exceed its limited purpose. I will be your wrench in the gears & keep you informed. I will not agree to subject a person to fines, or tolerate penalties for victimless crimes, or condone governmental intimidation. I am a strong supporter of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I do not believe government should be doing much more than making sure that your God-given rights are protected.
I view private property as the bedrock of freedom & liberty, and the cornerstone of economic sovereignty. The right to use your property as you see fit (as long as it harms no one else) is a fundamental right of being a property owner.
If elected, I have chosen to not accept any wages for township supervisor. I want to serve in the purest of forms of public service.
I will be on the ballot in Gregg Township in two places on Tuesday — township supervisor and township constable. I cannot simultaneously serve the township both as supervisor and constable. If I do not win the supervisor race, I can use the position of township constable to keep a close watchful eye on our local government and report to you, the Taxpayers.