2 seek Democratic nomination for Mt. Pleasant mayor
Two candidates will be on the May 21 primary ballot seeking the Democratic nomination for Mt. Pleasant mayor.
There are no Republican candidates seeking the nomination.
Incumbent Jerry Lucia, 67, is seeking his eighth term. He said he would like to continue to serve a town that he has dedicated more than half of his life helping.
“I've spent half of my life in politics in Mt. Pleasant,” Lucia said. “I was on council for six years, and I have served as mayor for 28 years. I feel that I have put a lot of hard work and effort into the borough in many projects over the years such as the Mt. Pleasant Glass and Ethnic Festival that I helped found my second year as mayor. That festival helps many nonprofit organizations in the borough, and I would like to see that continue. I also want to continue to see Mt. Pleasant stay a safe and good community. I feel that we have some very good ordinances that are geared toward the betterment of all of the citizens here in Mt. Pleasant.”
John Rogacki, 70, is a former council member. In seeking the nomination for mayor, he hopes to serve the taxpayers while further opening the lines of communication in the borough.
“If elected I promise to serve to the best of my ability to represent all of the taxpayers and residents of the Mt. Pleasant Borough,” Rogacki said. “I would like to make an effort to better open lines of communication, setting times for residents to visit and voice their opinions or concern. I will work closely and try to secure grants for our police, fire, and emergency medical services. I also want to aggressively deal with the drug problem that plaques our community. I would like to see Mt. Pleasant be a vibrant community as it was in the past.”
Eleven candidates are seeking nominations for open seats on Mt. Pleasant Borough Council. There are seats open in each of the borough's four wards.
There are two four-year seats open in the 1st Ward. Republicans seeking the nominations are incumbents David Pritts and Cynthia Stevenson. On the Democratic ticket is Donald McHirella.
Pritts, 44, is seeking a second full term.
“I believe the most important role of our borough government is to keep all of our citizens safe,” Pritts said. “I would say I am a conservative who will defend the Constitution. I stand for family values, and I believe in keeping God and values in our community. I believe in keeping taxes as low as possible and using public funds efficiently and for the best use of the whole community. I intend to work to improve the community in whatever way I can.”
Stevenson, 62, is seeking her third term.
“I am a believer in limited government,” Stevenson said. “ It is the job of borough council to ensure, to the best of our ability, the safety of the town and its citizens. I will continue to strive for balance between those two ideas. I am on council to serve the citizens and not to further any agenda that benefits me personally. I am working to improve communications between council and citizens.”
McHirella, 69, wishes to bring together what he feels is a divided community.
“The reason that I am seeking a seat on council is because I believe that the current leaders of Mt. Pleasant have governed in a way that has divided our community,” McHirella said. “I would like to serve on council to heal this division and move Mt. Pleasant forward.”
Two candidates are seeking one four-year term on council representing the 2nd Ward. Both incumbent Susan Ruszkowski and newcomer Robert Storey are Democrats.
“I feel very strongly about keeping our fire department, our police department and our Medic 10 as strong as they are, and I would not like to lose them,” Ruszkowski, 61, said. “That is very important to me, as I feel we need our own departments to keep our borough as safe and secure as it can be. The safety of all of our residents is most important to me.”
Storey, 56, wants to see more open lines of communication in the borough.
“I'd like to see better communication between the borough council and the people that they are representing,” Storey said. “I feel that the present council has distanced themselves from the people of the community and they don't communicate well. They don't listen to what the members of the community have to say.”
Incumbent Diane Bailey, a Democrat, was appointed to her seat in 2011, and will be the lone candidate for the two-year term opening in the Second Ward.
“I want to see the borough continue to operate responsibly and I want to see that we are financially responsible for what we are doing here in the borough,” Bailey said. “I like to see the borough operating efficiently and also want to see a safe community — one that is safe for everyone.”
There are two four-year term seats in the 3rd Ward and one two-year term seat. Five candidates are seeking their party nomination for the four-year term seats and three are also seeking the two-year term seat nomination.
Incumbent Fred McCloy, 66, is a Democrat. He wants to see the borough remain fiscally sound with no raises in taxes.
“We have gone eight or nine years now without a tax increase and I will work to see that it remains that way,” McCloy said. “I want to see the borough continue to spend wisely while also trying to keep our property values high.”
McCloy is seeking both the four-year and two-year term seats.
John “Jack” Caruso Jr., 52, is a Democratic who wants more transparency in local government.
Caruso is seeking both the four-year term and two-year term nomination.
“I'd like to see our government be more transparent to the public and be the voice of the people of this town for their ideas and their concerns,” Caruso said. “I'd like to take this back to the council to be addressed.”
Albert Beranek, 46, is a Republican and a former council member who had to resign his seat after moving from his home in the borough's 1st Ward.
Beranek is seeking the nomination for both the four-year term and two-year term seat.
“I am civic-minded and a businessman, and I am running for the people of Mt. Pleasant,” Beranek said. “I want this to be a safe community in which to live and I want this to be a good community for families to enjoy.”
Frank Pernelli, 39, is a Democrat. He is seeking the nomination for a four-year term seat.
“This election is about more than just property rights,” Pernelli said. “It's about serving the people of Mt. Pleasant and I am ready to serve. I also want to get more of these vacant buildings which aren't generating any tax dollars into the hands of businesses which can.”
Paul L. Wagner, a Democrat, is seeking a four-year seat.
“I have been a resident here for a number of years and I just felt that it would be a way to give back to the community,” Wagner said. “I would like to help to insure the safety of the citizens and I think that it's very important to maintain the infrastructure. But safety is the most important and I want to make sure that the residents that reside within the borough of Mt. Pleasant are safe.”
Scottdale Mayor Charles King, Republican, is running unopposed.
Robert Close, Democrat, is seeking the four-year seat in the borough's 1st Ward. Troy Soberdash, Democrat, is seeking the nomination for the four-year seat in the 2nd Ward. Jack Davis, Republican, is seeking the four-year seat in the 3rd Ward and L. Bud Santimyer, Democrat, is seeking the four-year seat in the 4th Ward.
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.