Mt. Lebanon Republican replaces Gastgeb on County Council
A Republican committeewoman from Mt. Lebanon will fill Vince Gastgeb's former Allegheny County Council seat at least through the end of the year.
Council Republicans nominated Krista Harris, 28, to fill the District 5 seat, and council approved her 13-0 on Tuesday.
“Allegheny County is a great place to live, and I think it's my responsibility to get involved and make it a better place,” Harris said. “I'm a young mom, and I'd like to see more young families in Allegheny County. I'd like to make Allegheny County more business-friendly to attract new blood.”
She said she'd like to focus on improving parks and recreation.
Harris works for Cold Spark Media, a political advertising and public relations firm, as an account executive focusing on political fundraising.
She is the first person other than Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, to hold the District 5 seat since council was created in 2000. Gastgeb resigned last month amid questions over whether the home rule charter barred him from keeping his seat while taking a job with the county Airport Authority. Gastgeb maintained he could, but resigned anyway.
Council's three other Republicans selected Harris from among eight applicants.
“She has some political experience, and she has a good grasp for government,” said Councilwoman Jan Rea, R-McCandless. “I think she's a good candidate.”
Harris is married to Mark Harris, who was political strategist for D. Raja's unsuccessful bid for county executive against Rich Fitzgerald in 2011. Mark Harris, who worked for Sen. Pat Toomey's campaign, is the co-founder of Cold Spark Media.
After a televised debate in November 2011 between Fitzgerald and Raja, Fitzgerald called Mark Harris one of the “sleaziest political operatives in town” because of Raja's political ads. That led to a testy exchange after the debate.
On his way out of the studio, Fitzgerald walked past Mark Harris, who said to the candidate, “You're attacking me by name?” Fitzgerald said he was. Krista Harris, who was standing next to her husband, shook Fitzgerald's hand and said, “I'm his wife.”
Fitzgerald, smiling, responded: “I wouldn't be proud of that.”
Krista Harris said on Tuesday she respected Fitzgerald.
“I'm really looking forward to working with the executive,” Harris said. “It won't be a problem. I respect the executive and the office.”
Asked about Harris, Fitzgerald said, “We hope we can do productive things with all council members.”
Among the seven hopefuls who did not get selected for the seat was Charlotte Stephenson, 54, of Mt. Lebanon.
“I felt I presented my position very well. I was hoping to serve the constituents, but unfortunately I was not (the council Republicans') choice,” said Stephenson, whom the Republicans interviewed on Monday.
Harris will represent the communities of Bethel Park, Bridgeville, Mt. Lebanon, and Upper St. Clair until voters select a representative in a November special election. Harris said she plans to run for a full term.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport Area students share views during Black History Month panel talk
- White Oak seeks funds to stabilize road
- Duquesne Elementary School students join the ranks of junior constables
- Notre Dame President Hesburgh expanded school, improved academics, fought for civil rights
- Previously convicted of embezzlement, Mt. Pleasant postal worker accused of mail theft
- Ex-Brewers star Hart hopes to prove to Pirates he still can play
- Pirates sickened by pic of ‘Jihadi John’ wearing Bucs ball cap
- Temp slowly rising
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
- Improved play against zone keys Pitt’s turnaround
- West Kittanning church fights through frozen pipe problems