Brackenridge mayor challenged by independent candidate
Brackenridge Mayor Thomas Kish ran unopposed in the May primary, but will have to fight for re-election Nov. 7.
Ronald Crawford, listed on the ballot as an Independent, is challenging Kish for the mayor's seat.
The position is a four-year term.
Kish, 64, secured the Democratic nomination for mayor in the primary with 153 votes. No Republicans appeared on the ballot.
There were two Democratic write-ins and 10 Republican write-ins.
Kish has been mayor for eight years. Prior to that, he served as a Third Ward councilman for one term. Council positions are four-year terms.
Crawford, 60, has no prior political experience, but said he usually attends borough council meetings. He also goes around the neighborhood to talk with residents.
“You don't see the mayor doing that,” he said.
Kish, an Allegheny Ludlum retiree, said he has seen Crawford at council meetings, but doesn't know him on a personal level.
“I say ‘Hi' to him, that's about all,” Kish said.
Crawford said Kish is an OK person. He doesn't think he's a good politician.
“If a resident comes up to him and asks him something or complains about something, it goes in one ear (and) out the other,” Crawford said.
If elected, Crawford said he would focus on fixing borough roads like Prospect Street and Roup Street. He said residents have been complaining about the state of those roads for at least three years.
“Those are the two worst,“ said Crawford, a retired Giant Eagle stock worker.
A mayor's primary responsibility is overseeing the police department.
Brackenridge has four full-time police officers, including Chief Jamie Bock, and three part-time officers.
Since he has been mayor, Kish said the borough police department has been “working heavily on drug control” because drugs are rampant throughout the borough and in neighboring municipalities.
Kish would not elaborate on what that work entails.
“(There's) an epidemic of drugs around this place as far as I'm concerned,” Kish said. “You can't keep them under control — they're just getting out of hand.”
Crawford declined to comment on the state of the police department.
“I'd have to get in as mayor before I could even say anything about that, to see what the problems are if there (are) any,” he said.
In addition to public safety, Kish said he is passionate about street paving and blight issues.
He has no voting power as mayor, but can make suggestions to council.
“I like to push to get more streets done for taxpayers so they can see that actually we're doing something in the town,” Kish said. “When you do a street in the town, everybody notices. The taxpayers see where the money is going.”