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Carnegie forum set for Allegheny County Council seats

| Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Citizens who want to know more about those seeking to lead Allegheny County government can attend a series of candidate forums by the League of Women Voters ahead of the Nov. 7 general election.

For residents of the Carnegie and Bridgeville areas, a forum for District 1 and District 4 candidates is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Ave., in Carnegie. The league set up at least six candidate forums ahead of the election.

“You can make the most impact on the local level,” said Judy Clack, voter service chair for the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh. “These are all people running locally and so it's the biggest chance the public has to make an impact on their daily lives.”

There are 13 council districts and two at-large council members who drive the agenda for government at the county level.

In District 1, Democrat Jack Betkowski of Ross is challenging incumbent Republican Tom Baker of Ross. Baker is a former North Hills School Board member who was elected to county council in 2013. Betkowski is a Ross Township commissioner who won a write-in campaign in the spring.

There are about 100,000 people in county council District 1, which is composed of 14 communities including Ross, West View, and Ben Avon and Moon, North Fayette.

In District 4, Republican Dimitrios Pantzoulas of McKees Rocks is challenging Democrat Pat Catena Jr., who was appointed to the seat in January.

Catena is a former Carnegie councilman. A judge in March removed Pantzoulas from the primary ballot, because he broke rules gathering signatures supporting his nomination. He received enough signatures as a write-in candidate during the primary to appear on the fall ballot.

District 4 also covers Scott, South Fayette, and Robinson.

Candidates will introduce themselves, and then will answer questions from the audience, followed by a closing statement. Candidates are limited by timer on their responses.

The questions submitted are screened by league volunteers to make sure “they're not redundant and not attacking people,” Clack said.

“If people don't vote, don't complain,” said Clack, who has been active in leagues of Women Voters for 41 years. “I really encourage everyone to get informed to make the best decision possible that they can.”

Kimberly Palmiero is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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