Tom Baker, Daniel A. McClain Jr., Jim Barr vie for Allegheny Council Council District 1 seat
Aside from their backgrounds, little distinguishes the Republican and Democrat candidates running for the District 1 seat on Allegheny County Council.
Tom Baker, 34, of Ross is a limited-government conservative Republican who believes county council members should be diligent stewards of the taxpayers' money.
Daniel A. McClain Jr., 35, of Ross is a fiscally conservative Democrat who believes the spending of taxpayers' money should be scrutinized and audited.
Both want to keep taxes as low as possible. Both want to expand and improve the county's transit system. Both would favor drilling for natural gas under Deer Lakes Park as long as it does not harm the environment.
Jim Barr, 60, of West View is on the ballot as a Constitution Party candidate.
The winner will replace two-term Councilman Matt Drozd, who lost in the Republic primary to Baker.
“I think that I have a pretty good sense of what's going on in our communities just from the work I do with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Baker, who is a mentor with the organization and serves as its chief community affairs officer. “Through my work, I'm literally in just about every neighborhood in our county on a regular basis.”
As a member of the North Hills School District board, Baker said he votes to keep taxes low, votes he plans to mirror if elected to council. He looks for efficiencies in the district to save money, including adjusting the busing and bells schedule to save about $1 million over three years, he said. Baker said he would continue to serve on the school board if elected to council.
McClain has worked for U.S. Steel for 14 years, including a one-year assignment to Belgrade, Serbia, where he was the company's representative on the city's FC Smederevo soccer club. As an internal audit manager, McClain said he has helped the company save millions.
“We need to be doing auditing,” McClain said of his potential role on council, praising ongoing investigations by the county into nonprofit and homestead tax exemptions. “As an auditor, I always base my conclusions on a lot of inquiries and factual evidence.”
As a third-party candidate, Barr said he gives voters a choice outside the two major parties.
“We're printing money out of thin air, and it trickles down,” said Barr, adding that Allegheny County should reject all federal funding unless the government pays in gold or silver. “People may think I'm a kook, but I have to do what's in my heart.”
He is concerned with the level of federal debt, redundancies between state, county and municipal services and embarking on ambitious infrastructure projects — such as building a bus rapid transit system between Downtown and Oakland — while he says crumbling roads and bridges are ignored.
McClain's image took a hit when police arrested him for drunken driving on April 20 a few blocks from his house after meeting friends at a nearby bar.
“It was a bad decision,” he said. “Certainly I will learn from the lesson and never repeat it.”
He did not fight the charge, paid his fines and will begin serving a 30-day suspension of his driver's license after the election.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or email@example.com.
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.
- With space to spare, Pittsburgh International draws corporate jet carrier
- CMU, Pittsburgh’s Surtrac program aims to ease traffic congestion
- Police charge Allentown teen for beating, holding ex-girlfriend at gunpoint
- ‘Rock-a-thon Queen’ keeps on rockin’ for Vincentian fundraiser
- Child luring reported in Hazelwood
- Newsmaker: Susan M. Rademacher
- Early success in White House race a pleasant surprise for Carson
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Memorial Day service in National Cemetery of the Alleghenies still growing
- Mixed-income apartments in flourishing East Liberty applauded