5 Trafford Council candidates seek Dem's 4 party nominations
Five Democrats — including three incumbents — are competing for the four Democratic nominations in the Trafford Council race.
The field includes Councilmen Casey Shoub, Henry Schultz and Jay Race and newcomers Cheryl Petersen and Peter Ledwich, both of whom previously sought appointments to council.
Voters on May 21 will choose the top four Democrats to move on to the general election in November.
Only two Republicans — Council President Richard Laird and Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Ellicker — filed nominating petitions to represent their party on the ballot. So the final two Republican nominations could be won by a write-in candidate.
Because the Republican race is uncontested, only Democrat candidates are being profiled.
With 13 years on council, Shoub has been a public official in Trafford longer than any of the other Democratic candidates have lived in the borough. He moved to Trafford in 1980 and worked in sales before retiring.
As a councilman, he long has been involved with the sewage and public works committees. He pointed to the borough's work in the installation of a water line a couple of years ago for four Hird Road residences as a recent accomplishment.
Shoub also has been collaborating with the borough engineer and public-works foreman on a plan to repair sewage lines throughout Trafford.
Borough officials haven't disclosed an estimate for how much the project could cost, but said they might have to apply for funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority.
Shoub said he is seeking another term to help see the sewer project to completion. Work could begin next year, he said.
“I don't want to see the town deteriorate at all,” Shoub said.
Schultz, the council vice president, is running for his first full four-year term after his appointment in December 2011 to replace Marco Bortoluzzi.
Schultz, who moved to Trafford in 2010, had served one council term in Turtle Creek, where he still serves as president of a nonprofit redevelopment group.
Over the past 15 years, the Turtle Creek Development Corp. has bought and rehabilitated 20 homes for moderate-income families, he said. Schultz said he wants to build on that group's work with the Mon Valley Initiative and try to tie that in with the Trafford Economic and Community Development Corp.
“You could take Trafford and make it into an Irwin or a Ligonier,” he said. “That would be my goal.”
Though Schultz joined council after the planning of the controversial public-safety building, he said another of his priorities is the marketing of its banquet hall, the Manchester Room. He said he is hopeful that the two parking lots for the building are completed by the middle of June so the borough can begin to attract bookings for parties, weddings and other rentals.
“It'll compete with the Harrison Room (in Harrison City) and with the Colton (Hall in Claridge),” Schultz said. “I've been to both of those places. I think the Manchester Room is a lot nicer and a lot better decorated.”
Schultz called the borough's last tax increase before he joined the board -- 6 mills in 2011 -- “a killer,” and said he wouldn't vote to raise taxes or sewage rates.
Race, the newest member of council, joined the board in February after Frank Bruno resigned. As the public safety committee chairman, he is council's liaison to the police and fire departments and the Trafford Emergency Medical Service.
Race has been helping to review candidates to be the borough's fourth full-time police officer and said he wants to work with the fire department to attract more volunteers.
The Munhall native, who moved to Trafford in 2009, started his community service as a junior firefighter in Munhall and later was a Turtle Creek firefighter.
“I've always enjoyed the aspect of being able to participate in the community,” Race said.
As a relatively new borough resident, he said he brings a “fresh, balanced” look at issues.
“What drew me to the borough was the small community and the people that live out here, and I just want to keep it that way,” Race said. “I don't want to see things go downhill. I want to be part of moving the borough forward.”
After applying as a candidate for the past two council vacancies, Petersen now is trying to use the ballot to get on the board.
She filed a challenge to Schultz's candidacy this spring but withdrew her petition when county election officials permitted Schultz to correct minor omissions to his election paperwork.
As a recreation board member, she has clashed with some council members about the recreation funding.
Petersen, a Mercer County native, moved to Trafford seven years ago. She said she wants to be involved in revitalization plans, noting that she would like to see more businesses along Route 993.
Petersen also said she thinks a town the size of Trafford would benefit from more specialty offerings, like a veterinary office.
“I wanted to run (for office) because I like Trafford and want to see good things happen,” she said.
“I think the future of Trafford depends on successful marketing of Trafford to families and children,” she added.
Ledwich, who applied to council after Bortoluzzi left, said he wants to see Trafford thrive because he has roots in the area. He grew up in the Level Green section of Penn Township but moved to Trafford three years ago.
“It's a nice, small town,” Ledwich said. “It's got great people, it's got a lot of potential and it's got a great school district.”
He said he believes in transparency in government and enabling residents to have a direct connection to their elected officials.
“I think that you should make yourself readily available,” Ledwich said.
He advocates strengthening Trafford's relationship with Westmoreland County government and said he thinks the borough could find some savings in its budget by joining a regional cooperative like a council of governments.
In his job with the West Penn Allegheny Health System, he said he has negotiated agreements and reviewed dense regulations to determine if researchers can conduct a particular study.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.