Monroeville Council nominations up for grabs
On Tuesday, Monroeville voters will decide which candidates will win their party nominations for the four Monroeville Council seats — which could represent a majority on the seven-person council — that are up for grabs this year.
Winners will advance to the Nov. 5 general election, and the winner of that election will take office in January.
Three of the four council races have only Democratic candidates. The 3rd Ward has races on both tickets.
With incumbent Bernh ard Erb choosing to run for mayor, 1st Ward voters will elect a new representative this year. Democrats Linda Gaydos and Georgiana Galagaza Woodhall seek the party nomination for the 1st Ward seat. No Republicans are on the ballot.
Political experience: None
Job: Retired business owner
Education: Gateway High School graduate
Community involvement: Gateway Boosters, food banks, hospice care, Center for Organ Recovery & Education, Monroeville Fire Company No. 3, American Legion, charity golf outing
Family: Married, with two children
Family involvement in past years, along with a passion for change, are what Gaydos said drove her to run for Monroeville council. She said she wants to “bring a sense of team back to our local government and eliminate internal games and personal agendas” while helping to fix issues and maintain useful services.
Georgiana Galagaza Woodhall
Political experience: 1st Ward representative on the Monroeville Planning Commission
Job: 22 years of experience in the insurance industry
Education: Degrees from the Community College of Allegheny County's Boyce Campus and the University of Pittsburgh
Community involvement: Volunteer for 20 years in planning charity walks, golf tournaments, black-tie affairs and church activities
As a third-generation Monroeville resident, Woodhall said she and her family have enjoyed the services Monroeville offers.
“We have watched our community grow and now see the many challenges Monroeville is facing,” said Woodhall, noting that she has been an advocate for the people by appearing before local government on an array of issues, including the redevelopment authority and gas drilling.
Both parties have a race in the 3rd Ward. On the Democratic ticket, incumbent Lois Drumheller faces a challenge from former Councilman Ron Harvey, who is a fire chief. Daniel Alexander and Len Young are competing for the Republican nomination.
Political experience: Monroeville Council member
Job: Respiratory therapist
Education: Bachelor's degree in education from the University of Central Florida
Community involvement: Maintaining state licensing and credentials as registered respiratory therapist and asthma educator
Family: Husband, Oliver “Skip” Drumheller
Drumheller said she helped start the community food garden in 2011 and hopes to expand that project, as well as address other issues facing residents.
“Monroeville faces challenges in providing essential services,” she said. “Our neighborhoods and parks, which dovetail to a thriving business district, are dependent on an open and honest government for a safe living environment.”
Political experience: Served previously on Monroeville Council for 17 months
Education: Gateway High School graduate, certified paramedic, Pennsylvania State Police Academy graduate
Community involvement: Chief of Monroeville Fire Company No. 5.
Family: Wife, Nancy; and daughter, Kimberly
Harvey has lived in Monroeville for 58 years and said he is ready to see change on different issues, including the budget and maintaining worthwhile municipal services.
“I would like to help council to get back on track with serving the residents and making Monroeville a respectable and proud place to live again,” he said.
Political experience: None
Job: Telecommunications technician
Education: Associate's degree in specialized technology from Aviation Electronics, several safety and professional certifications.
Community involvement: Member of the American Radio Relay League, member of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Gateway Midget Football and Cheerleading Association, Monroeville Baseball Association, Monroeville Parks and Recreation — basketball program, Gateway Cheerleading Booster Club
Family: Wife, Donna; four children, April, Jason, Nick and Matthew
Alexander quoted Mark Twain to make his point: “If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you always got.”
“It's time for a change,” Alexander said. “I feel council has lost its focus and it has hurt Monroeville.”
Alexander said he wants to approach issues of the budget deficit and continuing to provide opportunities for residents to have fun.
Political experience: 2010 candidate for Pennsylvania state Senate, 45th district
Job: Self-employed landscaper and arborist
Education: 1975 graduate of Gateway High School
Community involvement: Member of Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Gold Star Post 820; motorcyclists' rights activist for 30 years
Family: Wife, Terry; and two children, Brett and Derek
Young said he's running for council “because I give a damn about Monroeville and want to see it operate properly.” He said he believes in government “of the people, for the people and by the people” and intends to hold monthly, public meetings with his constituents in the 3rd Ward. Young said he is most passionate about addressing the budget, public safety and running an efficient government in Monroeville.
Incumbent Democrat Diane Allison faces a challenge for the party nomination from political newcomer Paul Caliari Jr. There are no Republicans on the ballot.
Political experience: Serves as Monroeville deputy mayor, chairwoman of Monroeville's Public Safety Committee
Job: Allison says she dedicates her time to her family and the residents she represents.
Education: Bachelor's degree from Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa.; graduate of the FBI Citizens' Academy for community leaders
Community involvement: Member of the Allegheny County Boroughs Association; Allegheny League of Municipalities and intergovernmental cooperation committee with Gateway School District, council liaison to the Convention Visitors Bureau of Greater Monroeville; and member of St. Bernadette Parish
Family: Husband, Charles; and two children, Chaz and Tyler
Allison said she will continue being a hands-on representative by “immediately addressing concerns and issues and taking action” and “finding satisfactory resolutions.”
She said her No. 1 issue is the crime and drug activity in the borough, and her next most important issue is creating a balanced budget that won't require tax hikes or eliminate high-quality services.
Paul Caliari Jr.
Political experience: None
Job: Director of environmental services, patient transportation and linen for UPMC Mercy hospital
Education: Bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Waynesburg University
Community involvement: Parishioner of North American Martyrs Catholic Church, helper with Brownie Troop 51051
Family: Wife, Nicole, and two children, Jordan and Katherine
Caliari said he is running because he wants to make a difference in his community.
“I have decided that I do not just want to sit around and complain,” he said.
The main issues he plans to address are the budget deficit and lack of council cooperation, and, he said, “with openness, honesty, and integrity, my goals can and will be realized.”
Incumbent Councilman Clarence Ramsey is not seeking re-election; however, his wife is. Carolyn Ramsey — who did not respond to requests for her campaign information — and former Gateway school board member Tom Wilson seek the Democratic nomination to represent the 7th Ward. No Republicans are on the ballot.
Political experience: Gateway school director
Job: Retired sales manager with VF Corp.
Education: Gateway High School graduate
Community involvement: President of the Gateway foundation, volunteer for Meals on Wheels, advisory council for Spectrum school, serves on the personnel board for the municipality, member of Keystone Premier Golf association
Family: Married with two daughters and four grandchildren
Wilson said he hopes to be a member “of a more productive municipal council that can work together” by running this year.
Among his areas of interest, he said, are business-district infrastructure, increased recycling efforts and continued funding for the library and senior center.
Kyle Lawson and Matt DeFusco are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
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