Mt. Pleasant Mayor Jerry Lucia to face 1 challenger in primary
Two candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for a four-year term as mayor of Mt. Pleasant Borough — incumbent Jerry Lucia and former borough Councilman John Rogacki — in the May 21 primary election, according to the unofficial listing of candidates who have filed petitions with the Westmoreland County Election Bureau.
Lucia, 67, has served as the borough's mayor since his election to the post in 1985, and he also served as a borough councilman from 1979 to 1985.
In addition, Lucia has been a volunteer fireman in the borough since 1975 and he has served as chief of the borough fire department since 1990. He is also the borough's emergency management coordinator.
Rogacki, 70, served on council in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also serves as a Democratic committee member in the borough's Third Ward. Rogacki is also an honorary life member of Medic 10.
Lucia, a Scottdale native and a 1964 graduate of Geibel High School, has been a borough resident for 47 years with his wife, Diana. The couple has two children and five grandchildren.
Despite his defeat in his campaign to become a Westmoreland County commissioner in November 2011, Lucia said his desire to make a positive difference in the lives of borough residents compelled him seek election to what would be an eighth consecutive term as mayor.
“When I didn't win a seat on the county's board of commissioners, what eased the blow was that I was still able to participate in serving the people of Mt. Pleasant,” Lucia said.
Rogacki is a graduate of Ramsay High School. He also attended Westmoreland County Community College and Penn State Fayette — The Eberly Campus — and he served with the U.S. Naval Sea Bees in southeast Asia.
A lifelong borough resident, Rogacki lives with his wife, Beverly (Heller) Rogacki. The couple has three children and three grandchildren.
Rogacki said Lucia's bid for commissioner, and the possibility that Lucia would have vacated the post of borough mayor if elected to the county position, initially prompted him to mount a campaign to succeed him locally.
“Mt. Pleasant remains a vibrant community with strong institutions, a strong sense of identity and an ethnic diversity and harmony that has always defined us,” Rogacki said. “I've come to know our town as well as anyone. My experience speaks for itself. I would be especially proud and grateful if allow ed the honor to serve as mayor.”
Lucia — who since 1990 has been employed as manager of Klocek Burial Vault Co. in the borough — plans to pursue a number of objectives if re-elected as mayor, including implementation of a national weather alert system to alert residents of oncoming natural disasters like tornados and flooding.
“My main concern is public safety,” Lucia said. “Being the mayor and the fire chief really puts a load on my shoulders to make sure it's done right with the fire and police departments and with my work with the county on many levels as emergency management coordinator.”
Other goals Lucia has if re-elected include:
• Enhancement of a trust established to support the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum
• Backing the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority in its efforts to attract new businesses to the borough
• Ensuring the positive local impact of the Mt. Pleasant Glass & Ethnic Festival.
Rogacki recently retired from a 30-year career at Amcel Corp. as its director of operations at the former Modulus plant in East Huntingdon and former Super Valu Inc. warehouse in Rostraver.
“My work focused on bringing large and small corporations into those multi-tenant sites,” he said. “The industrial sites I've managed have brought hundreds of jobs to the area.”
If elected, Rogacki said also plans to dedicate a fair portion of his efforts to attracting new businesses to the borough.
“My experience in private sector brought me in contact with every element there is as far as civic structure goes,” Rogacki said. “It gave me a good understanding of communities and businesses and how they interact with local government and how important they are to one another.”
Additional goals Rogacki has if elected include:
• Pursuit of funding for borough police, fire and emergency medical services
• Enactment of an “aggressive” response plan to any illegal drug activity
• Establishment of office hours to address concerns and ideas of residents.
No Republican candidates are listed on the unofficial county ballot for borough mayor, which means either Lucia or Rogacki will run unopposed for the post in the November general election.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.