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Candidates square off for North Huntingdon commissioners' seat

- Zachary Haigis
Zachary Haigis
- Anthony Gockel is seeking the 2nd ward commissioner seat in North Huntingdon Township.
Anthony Gockel is seeking the 2nd ward commissioner seat in North Huntingdon Township.

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Zachary Haigis

Age: 27

Residence: North Huntingdon

Family: Single

Education: Gannon University

Political Party: Republican

Occupation: Supervisor of TreeHouse Foods in Pittsburgh

Community involvement: Member of St. Agnes Parish, Board of Trustees at Rescue 8 EMS

Anthony “Tony” Gockel

Age: 39

Residence: North Huntingdon

Family: Wife, Heather and three children

Education: Penn State

Political Party: Democrat

Occupation: Public Works Director for Etna

Community involvement: Coaches baseball at Police Athletic League of Norwin, member of Irwin Moose Lodge 236

By Amanda Dolasinski
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Over the past year, North Huntingdon commissioners cut taxes and advocated for development, projects two candidates said they hope to continue to do in the next term.

Republican incumbent Zachary Haigis and Democrat Anthony Gockel are vying for the 2nd Ward commissioner seat in North Huntingdon. The election is Nov. 5.

Haigis, who was elected to his first term in 2009, is running for a second, four-year term.

Among his accomplishments as a commissioner, Haigis said he is proud of his efforts to cut taxes for township residents.

“Last year, we lowered the taxes by 1 mill,” he said.

“I promised better government and more fiscal responsibility. I'm proud to say we lowered the debt.”

Haigis said he was an advocate for redevelopment of Norwin Towne Square.

The shopping center recently received a five-year tax break so that businesses would move in to rejuvenate the 1950s-era plaza on the west end of the township.

Continuing with those efforts, Haigis said he would like to attract more businesses, and possibly manufacturing companies, into the area.

The county and municipality's tax rates are selling points, he said.

Bringing more jobs into the area is also a top priority for challenger Anthony Gockel.

“Basically I just want to help North Huntingdon improve,” he said.

“I hope that bringing jobs into the area (will continue improvements); things that people can make a career out of.”

Gockel said he would draw from his professional experiences to lead the township.

“I'm a listener,” he said.

“That's something that I have to do at my job. I've learned to listen to people and talk to them with understanding and in return give them your opinion.”

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.

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