Armstrong County Republicans vying for another term in office as well as newcomers wanting to throw their hat in the ring were at the Kittanning Township Fire Hall last night.
It was their first step in getting on the ballot for the May Primary Election. They must collect signatures on petitions. The number of signatures needed depend on the office to which they want elected.
The would-be candidates were behind a row of tables and supporters were able to go to whichever person they wanted to endorse with their signature.
Among the county incumbents were Jason Renshaw, commissioner; Amanda Slagle-Hiles, treasurer; Myra Tammy Miller, controller, Brenda George, Prothonotary, and Marianne Hileman, register/recorder.
There were several new aspiring candidates for county commissioner.
John Hileman from Rural Valley was the youngest among the group. At 26-years-old and no previous political experience, he said he felt more young people should become involved in local government and run for office.
“I think the political climate is changing in favor for the younger demographics and I’d like to be a part of that and help with my generation and voicing my opinions and generation’s opinions,” Hileman said.
He considers himself underemployed, In addition to college, he also worked two years for an HVAC company as a chimney sweep.
“This is more an exploratory thing, I never ran before and I want to see how far I can get.”
A familiar face to many young people is Don Myers, who formerly was an educator at Lenape Tech. He lives in South Buffalo Township and said he wants the opportunity to do good things for the county.
“With background and experience I have in public education, building construction, and business, I’d like to see things a little different in our county. We need to make opportunities as good as we can for everybody – your family and mine. I want to see new housing. We can get houses, businesses and jobs and those types of things. I look forward to the chance I hope I do get the opportunity to do it, work hard for everybody and make some positive change for the county.”
Jorn Jensen of West Franklin Township is attempting his second run for a commissioner’s seat. Four years ago, he ran in the Primary, but was defeated by Renshaw and then-incumbent David Battaglia. Jensen said his mission hasn’t changed in the last four years.
“No more of the same! We have to attract industry and business to Armstrong County to provide the work and the future for our youth to stay in this county.”
Jensen said he doesn’t feel the current leadership is doing an effective job.
“We keep getting more and more of the same. We need to solve problems… solve problems at the 911 Center. We need to attract business and industry to this area and we need the commissioners to get involved with the school board.”
Greg McKelvey is the Zoning Officer in East Franklin Township. Citing his desire to make both economic and quality of life improvements for the residents of Armstrong County, McKelvey believes he brings the right intangibles of business and public service experience at a crucial time for our area.
“As someone who has lived and worked essentially his whole life in western Pennsylvania or Armstrong County, I think there is definite potential to make a difference in job creation and housing starts for parts of our County,” McKelvey said.
The Democratic Committee also held a petition signing event last night in the Commissioners’ Conference Room in the court house annex. However, no invitation was given to the Kittanning Paper to be in attendance.
Posting on Facebook, the committee appealed to any Democrat that would be interested in, or willing to run for local office, including borough council, township supervisor, and school board.
“We need to elect more Democrats at every level in the county, and will help you learn what you need to know to run,” their Facebook post stated.