Gwynn, Kuznik campaign to replace Horvat in Penn's 4th Ward
Residents in Penn Township's 4th Ward will have a new commissioner for the first time since 1998.
Democrat Marybeth Kuznik and Republican Tim Gwynn are facing off on Tuesday to be the successor to board Chairman Charles Horvat, who is retiring from politics after four terms.
Among the neighborhoods, the 4th Ward includes the area around Sunrise Estates Elementary School and Paintertown, the streets off Sandy Hill Road and homes in the Cortina Marie plan.
Kuznik has a long record in Democratic politics in the region but said she is “not a fierce partisan” when it comes to township government.
She credits the all-Republican board of commissioners with good stewardship of the township.
Kuznik lives on one of the township's last working farms, which her grandfather bought in 1913, and said the commissioners will need to continue to plan Penn Township wisely. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, development was “out of control,” leading her late father, William G. Kuznik, a former Penn-Trafford superintendent, to question whether the local school district would have to build more schools.
These days, Penn-Trafford's student population is declining, and school board members are beginning to study whether some schools should be closed.
“We have to grow. I'm not saying we need to keep things in the Dark Ages, but we need to be very careful to keep things great here,” Kuznik said.
As the founder and director of VotePA, which she said promotes policies to ensure fair and accurate elections, Kuznik said her relationships with state and federal officials would benefit Penn Township at a time of increasing government mandates.
Her work experience also includes a stint as the owner of a small company that produced plays for elementary schools in Pennsylvania. She later worked for a company that performed the same functions nationally.
Unlike Kuznik, who ran last year for state representative, Gwynn is in his first campaign for office. He emphasizes his 25 years of experience in accounting, including his post as manager of planning and forecasting for the Elliott Co. in Jeannette.
In his job, he said, he works on the budget for a company with $700 million in annual revenues and 1,000 employees, as well as its related businesses.
“I think that's one of the main selling points of my background,” Gwynn said. “Basically, I'm the point person to establish the budget for that company. I think the whole background of holding people accountable for what is spent is very important in a township.”
Gwynn also points to a long family line in Penn Township, including a grandfather who worked in the McCullough coal mine.
Gwynn describes himself as having “conservative values and beliefs” but said he plans to approach topics with an open mind before making decisions that are in the township's best interest.
“I just want to give back and serve people,” he said.
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.