Opinion

Candidates outline their positions ahead of Election Day

Editor’s note: In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s local election, readers have submitted their letters endorsing candidates. With days left before the election, candidates were invited via a note on the CDT opinion page to send letters outlining their positions. Their responses are below.

Bald Eagle Area School District Board of Education

As an alumnus of the Bald Eagle Area school district with three children currently advancing through the BEA school system, I am excited to be running for a seat on the Bald Eagle Area school board. Many things have changed and evolved since my time at BEA. It is important for the school district to not only progress with the times, but to be leaders in how to deal with these changes so the students are guaranteed a quality education. First and foremost, I will work toward generating a balanced budget. Next, I want to ensure students receive the best educational experience possible. This includes ensuring each student and teacher has support and access to the best technology and learning resources available. Third, the safety of students, teachers and staff needs to be of upmost importance. I want to work with the administration to establish a safe and comfortable environment for students to learn and teachers to educate. Finally, we need to reward and support innovative teachers to allow the curriculum to advance to match that of larger districts. The students at BEA deserve additional educational opportunities to prepare them for their future endeavors. Bald Eagle Area can be more progressive and competitive so as to attract new students to decrease declining enrollment. In closing, I want to help further establish an effective, safe and competitive school district to help ensure that Bald Eagle Area remains a great place for students to learn, staff to educate and families to grow.

Adam Frank, Port Matilda

Centre County Controller

The Centre County Controller’s Office is the internal auditor and financial manager for the county. It provides auditing and reporting on the various departments across the Centre County government to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used to make Centre County a great place to live for all residents.

As a long-time resident of Centre County, former board member of a local nonprofit focused on affordable housing, past-president of a regional trade association, and graduate of a countywide leadership program that showed me the importance of community engagement, I care deeply about our community and the way our local government operates.

With over a decade of experience in management, I have overseen multi-million dollar budgets, performed financial assessments, including forecasting revenues and expenses, and supervised 30-plus team members. All of this uniquely qualifies me to serve in the Controller’s Office and ensure that it runs efficiently and effectively. It should never be difficult or time consuming to find up-to-date information about how and for what your tax dollars are spent. From day one, I plan to create accountability and transparency in the controller’s office through modernization, up-to-date reporting, and making public information more accessible to you.

On Tuesday, vote for transparency, innovation and accountability. Vote for me, Jason Moser.

Jason Moser, Bellefonte

Centre County Prothonotary

I am Jeremy Breon, candidate for Centre County Prothonotary. For the past eight years I have worked in the Centre County Prothonotary’s Office. The Centre County Prothonotary is a dual office holder and is the permanent record keeper for the Court of Common Pleas, which includes both Civil and Criminal Courts. That means documenting and keeping track of well over 10,000 cases a year in Centre County Court. As First Deputy Prothonotary I participate in court proceedings including: naturalization, jury selection, sentencing and bail hearings.

I want to be your next prothonotary because the services of the Centre County Prothonotary’s office are vital to the community. My eight years of experience has prepared me to maintain this office for our community. I am ready to serve the citizens on day one.

On Election Day, please join me and make eight years of experience count. Vote Jeremy Breon, your next Centre County Prothonotary.

Jeremy Breon, Aaronsburg

Centre County Treasurer

I’m Colleen Kennedy, and I’m seeking election for treasurer of Centre County. I’ve worked in accounting for over a decade. I changed careers, from music education, and put myself through an accounting program by clerking for the controller of a small consulting firm. I was then recruited out of the program to work in the public sector as an auditor. For the last seven years, I’ve been a member of the accounting staff for a local manufacturing company. I also volunteered for several years as treasurer for an arts nonprofit. Even as a full-time accountant, I am still an active musician, serving as music director for my church and sharing my love of music with several performing groups in our community.

If elected, I will modernize operations in the treasurer’s office. I would follow the example of other counties in the commonwealth that now offer online options for submitting forms and payments. Expanding electronic processing of transactions, as businesses have done for years, would save resources and cut costs, while offering more convenience and more transparency to county residents. Money saved can be put toward vital services that we all care about.

Musicians have a saying: “Good enough” isn’t. We can do better. I am the only candidate with the breadth of experience to implement much-needed improvements to the treasurer’s office. We live in the 21st century, and it’s time for our county finances to live there too. I’m asking for your support on Tuesday. Thank you.

Colleen Kennedy, State College

Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors

I am writing to appeal to the residents of Ward 2, Ferguson Township for their vote to be an independent voice as a supervisor. With my research background and my leadership experience in academia, I promise to bring an evidence-based approach to problem-solving to improve the living experience in the township to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about the environment and about social justice.

In the next four decades, Ferguson Township will be developed. Can we do it sustainably? Issues related to climate change cannot be tackled by the federal or state government alone. The enormity and the nature of the problem requires everyone to step up to the plate including local governments. I have not received any funding from any corporate entity; I will represent the interests of the residents only.

I am passionate about social justice. Can we improve the system to ensure that we do not have a repeat of the Osagie case in Ferguson? Can we have mental health professionals answer certain 911 calls? Implicit bias training? I will advocate evidence-based policies to ensure no lives are lost, be it the life of a community member or that of a police person.

As the first person of color ever on the board, I will bring diverse ideas and lived experiences to help improve decision-making. I seek your vote to serve you with passion and integrity and make the township an even better place to live in.

Prasenjit Mitra, Ferguson Township

State College Area School District Board of Directors

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the SCASD Board of Directors for the past four years. The amount of information and knowledge needed in the position of School Board Director is overwhelming and after four years I feel I have the expertise to make knowledgeable decisions.

I am passionate about political participation and have been since I participated in a high school Bicentennial Competition on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I have a Masters in Public Administration and experience working in local government. I understand the process of collaboration, negotiation and teamwork. With a school board of nine members, such qualities are essential.

I proudly represented the former PA-05 U.S. Congressional district in the recent Pennsylvania gerrymandering case which ultimately resulted in fair congressional maps for the 2018 and 2020 elections. I received a Thaddeus Stevens Award for my participation in the case which reads, “For your fortitude in restoring the right to have all votes count in Pennsylvania.”

I am passionate democracy at the local level and believe that the greatest impact occurs closest to home. I will always meet with any citizen about any issue, and am happy to do so. Hearing from citizens, whether at public comment at a board meeting, over coffee, or while going on a walk together, is my favorite aspect of being on the school board.

Please vote on Tuesday, and I am excited to serve for four more years!

Gretchen Brandt, State College

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Over my eight years on the SCASD Board of Directors, I have been grateful to be able to serve a community that cares so deeply for the education and well-being of children. Safe, welcoming, and high performing public schools are truly at the core of our community.

The students in our schools today will graduate into a rapidly evolving global economy. Excellent public schools must allow them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. To ensure that every student has the opportunities they need to learn and grow, we are continuously evaluating and improving our curriculum and programs. Our board is following through on a multi-year strategic plan to close achievement and opportunity gaps, support continuous growth for every student, and ensure readiness for a purposeful life after high school.

Strong communities plan carefully for the future. Thoughtful planning and budgeting by the board and district staff over the decade since the financial crisis in 2008 have secured a strong financial position for the SCASD. We have one of the highest bond ratings in the state (indicating strong fiscal health), and a capital funding plan to meet future facility needs. This effort was made possible by the support of a community that voted overwhelmingly in favor of funding the new State High building project.

If re-elected, I will continue to put students’ best interests at the center of my work, to be a thoughtful trustee of resources, and to ensure community voice and transparency in decision-making.

Amber Concepcion, State College
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