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Trafford voters to choose from 4 council incumbents, 2 challengers

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Kris Cardiff
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Rich Laird
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Peter Ledwich
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Casey Shoub

Trafford residents will choose four people to serve four-year terms on council and another to fill a two-year seat when they head to the polls next week.

The names of four incumbents and two newcomers will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

And although a seventh name will appear on the ballot, Brian Ellicker has decided to end his candidacy, but he made his decision after the deadline to remove himself from the ballot.

For the four four-year terms, Peter Ledwich is the sole challenger among a field that features incumbents Rich Laird, John “Jay” Race, Henry Schultz and Casey Shoub.

Meanwhile, Schultz's name will appear a second time — as the Democratic candidate against Republican Kris Cardiff — in the race for the two-year seat.

Kris Cardiff

Age: 36.

Family: Single.

Education: Norwin High School graduate.

Party: Republican.

Background: Director of marketing and procurement for Quality Aviation Instruments Inc.

A 12-year borough resident, Cardiff said crime abatement is an issue important to him. During his campaign, Cardiff said, he has heard some worries residents have about safety in the community.

He said borough officials should consider restarting the crime-watch program, which has been inactive in recent years.

“We've got to re-evaluate how things are done,” Cardiff said.

Meanwhile, Cardiff said, he is interested in rebuilding community relations. One idea is to bring back a community-day event.

The last one was in 2010.

“It's just a way of bringing people together and having a nice time,” he said.

Rich Laird

Age: 74.

Family: Wife, Carol; two children.

Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology.

Party: Republican.

Background: Retired engineer, former chairman of Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission.

A councilman since 2004, Laird is a retired Alcoa engineer who also worked as a borough police officer for 15 years.

In March 2012, a divided council made Laird its new president after some members began to question spending on the public safety building.

“I am running for council again to support and help maintain a legal, functional, transparent and honest council,” Laird said in a prepared statement. “I do not have any self-serving ambitions.”

Laird said he opposed the size of the new public-safety building, when he called “overdesigned and excessive.”

Among his accomplishments on council, Laird pointed to helping to negotiate leases for the gas wells at B-Y Park and on Third Street.

Henry Schultz

Age: 53.

Family: Wife, Lori; two children.

Education: Turtle Creek High School graduate.

Party: Democrat.

Background: Retail manager; president of Turtle Creek Development Corp.; American Red Cross volunteer.

Schultz is seeking his first full four-year term in Trafford. He previously served a term on borough council in Turtle Creek. He also stands in Cardiff's way and could win the special election for the two-year council seat.

Schultz, who joined Trafford Council in December 2011, said he would not vote for a tax increase. Actually, he'd like to decrease property taxes by 1 mill if the borough has a large-enough surplus to make it possible, he said.

The public-works, police and code-enforcement budgets all are below their 2013 projected expenses, he said.

“I think we're spending the money the way we're supposed to spend it,” Schultz said.

Though council is moving forward on mandated repairs to its sewage system, Schultz said he will not vote to increase the borough's maintenance fee.

He acknowledged that it is “confusing” asking voters to vote twice for him but said the borough's Democrats had trouble finding other interested candidates. “It seems like all the fire in everybody has gone out, and nobody wants to get involved,” Schultz said.

Peter J. Ledwich

Age: 29.

Family: Fiancée, Siobhán; one child.

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Party: Democrat.

Background: Chairman of Trafford Planning Commission; member of Masons of Infinity Lodge No. 546 in Penn Hills.

One of Ledwich's goals is to have Trafford join a council of governments, which, he said, could help to reduce the cost of items such as rock salt or asphalt millings if several municipalities form one bidding unit.

“That could be something that saves us money in the long run, and that savings could help us pay down the (borough's) debt,” he said.

Like in the primary, Ledwich also said transparency in government is an important issue to him. He proposed that the borough publish its budget online so residents can see how tax dollars are being spent. Ledwich also suggested that Trafford create a “grievance” section on its website so residents may file a complaint or request for service.

“I think that would streamline the process,” Ledwich said. “That would give people a voice.”

John “Jay” Race

Age: 35.

Family: Wife, Alison; one child.

Education: Steel Valley High School graduate; Sheet Metal Workers International Association apprentice program.

Party: Democrat.

Background: Project manager for Busch International.

The newest councilman, Race was appointed in February. He opted to seek a four-year seat instead of the running to serve out the end of that seat's two-year term.

As chairman of the public safety committee, Race is council's liaison to the police and fire departments and the Trafford Emergency Medical Service.

Race's background includes service as a junior firefighter in Munhall and a firefighter in Turtle Creek. He moved to Trafford in 2009. Attempts to interview Race were unsuccessful.

Casey Shoub

Age: 62.

Family: Single; five children.

Education: Bachelor's degree in marketing from Duquesne University.

Party: Democrat.

Background: Retired from career in sales; board member for Trafford Economic and Community Development Corp.

In his roles on the sewage and public-works committees, Shoub is among the borough officials working on mandated sewer-improvement project that is estimated to cost between $5 million and $6 million.

“I just want to try to make sure we keep Trafford a good, safe place to raise a family, keep property values up and keep it a nice, small town,” said Shoub, who has been on council for 13 years.

In recent months, Shoub said, he has been a part of efforts to try to attract new investment into downtown through the Trafford Economic and Community Development Corp.

“We've got to get rid of the vacant storefronts one way or another,” he said. “We've got to fill up the empty space.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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