Voters guide: State College Borough Council

All candidates were asked to respond to the following question:

What are your three top priorities for this position?

State College Borough Council

Term: Four years


Catherine Dauler

Campaign website:

Education: Marietta College, B.A., history; Lesley University, M.Ed., reading education.

Occupation: Teacher

Qualifications: Council member, 12 years; past president, two years; College Heights Neighborhood Association, past president; National League of Cities, finance, administration, and intergovernmental relations steering committee; Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women, 2014 Outstanding Elected Democratic Woman Award.

Answer to question: I remain committed to shaping a promising future for State College. This requires making good strategic decisions to preserve our neighborhoods, to maintain the vitality of our downtown and to encourage sustainable practices that reduce our carbon footprint while promoting the quality of life in our borough.


Ron Madrid

Date of Birth: April 16, 1952

Education: 1974, U.S. Naval Academy, B.S.; 1984, Troy University, M.S.

Occupation: Penn State contract administrator/program manager; Military War College instructor

Qualifications: Current chair of the Real Estate Advisory Commission; Holmes-Foster Neighborhood Association president: 10 years; Planning Commission: eight years; Historic Resources Commission: four years.

Answer to question: 1. The budget. The borough needs options to address its shrinking tax base, stagnant revenues and increasing labor costs. With Pennsylvania Assembly approval, the borough should consider levying retail liquor taxes, a sales tax and/or share in the hotel occupancy tax. These taxes would make the region’s visitors share in safety and infrastructure costs now being paid for by borough residents. 2. Neighborhoods. Preservation and sustainability requires stable property taxes, stemming the flow of conversion of single-family households to student rental properties and “rational” downtown development. 3. Equal representation. Serve all borough residents regardless of political or social standing.


Jesse L. Barlow

Campaign website:

Date of Birth: July 8, 1955

Education: 1977, U. Kansas, B.A; 1981, Northwestern, Ph.D.

Occupation: Professor of computer science and engineering

Qualifications: Board member, State College Community Land Trust, one year. Resident of State College/Centre Region, 34 years. Resident of State College borough, 12 years.

Answer to question: Managing our development appropriately. We need to work toward a borough that attracts more families and young professionals, grows our tax base, but respects our high quality of life. Promoting further regional cooperation. Regional cooperation gave us Schlow Centre Region Library among other benefits. We need more cooperation in planning so that the borough and the region can grow intelligently and contain sprawl. Continue preservation of our neighborhoods. Our development goals must respect our neighborhoods and remain mindful of issues involving student housing. In doing so, we need to coordinate our development goals with our neighborhood goals.

David J. Brown

Date of birth: Jan. 29, 1944

Education: 1966, Maryknoll Seminary, B.A.; 1968, Ohio State University, M.A.; 1970, Ohio State, Ph.D.

Occupation: Retired clinical psychologist

Qualifications: Former director of two large counseling agencies — responsible for services, personnel, budget and policies; former volunteer at State College Food Bank, Centre Volunteers in Medicine, board member of On Drugs, precinct poll watcher; community activist for social justice.

Answer to question: My priorities are: 1. Addressing the borough’s crisis of revenue insufficiency, and meeting the borough’s service and fiscal needs through more stable and adequate revenue mechanisms. 2. Approaching borough redevelopment with a “big-picture” vision rather than the prevailing “piece-meal” decisions; updated code and zoning regulations grounded in what best serves the permanent resident, neighborhood and “downtown” needs of State College. 3. Promoting cooperative planning and sharing of resources and responsibilities with adjacent township and regional entities — delivering cost reductions, more holistic development for quality housing, jobs, recreation, services and goods —generating a greater State College and Happy Valley.

Janet Engeman

Campaign website:

Date of birth: May 14, 1943

Education: Barnard College, 1961-63. B.A. in economics 1965 Lock Haven State University.

Occupation: Writer/photographer

Qualifications: Successfully stopped the Columbia gas pipeline from running through our town. Helped enforce the ban on properties used solely as “tourist houses.” Participates in Borough Council, Planning Commission, HCA and COG meetings. Worked as a labor market analyst, social policy researcher, communication facilitator, software development planner and tech writing manager.

Answer to question: My three top priorities are: To seek creative solutions to our budget problems that do not increase property taxes and drive established residents out of the borough, while striving to maintain our excellent services and quality of life. To implement comprehensive rezoning to help guide development, maintain neighborhoods, and make homeownership attractive and affordable to young professionals, retirees and non-professionals who work here. To foster cooperation with the university so we can continue to work together to solve social and environmental problems that affect the health and safety of all borough residents on both sides of College Avenue.