Korns chosen as Westmoreland GOP chairman
The next few months will be a key time in Westmoreland County government as Republicans fight to keep control of the courthouse, the new chairman of the county GOP party told loyalists on Saturday.
In 2015, the county commissioners' office and five row offices — all of which are held by Republicans — will be up for election, said chairman Michael Korns, a Greensburg lawyer who lives in Allegheny Township.
Korns, 32, outpolled Michael VanDyke, a minister from Latrobe, 136-98, at the 2014 party convention in Hempfield Area High School.
Korns succeeds Jill Cooper of Murrysville, who did not seek re-election.
Kerry Jobe, a Salem supervisor, topped Bruce Eberly, 181-51, to serve as vice chairman. Tom Wubben ran unopposed to be treasurer.
Republicans seized control of the commissioners' and row offices in a sweep to power three years ago, ending more than a half-century of Democrats controlling the commissioners' office.
“I believe what happens in Westmoreland County in the next two years will set the tone for this county” in ensuing years, if not decades, Korns said during his nomination speech.
Democrats at the national, state and local levels have “made it a priority to take Westmoreland County back,” Korns told attendees. “We cannot let that happen.”
Korns, who received his law degree from Harvard, expressed optimism that Republicans will keep control of the offices.
These elected leaders have “done a fantastic job,” he said.
He urged Republicans to work hard to show voters that Republican leaders have done what they promised.
The elected officials must show voters how they saved tax dollars, Korns said, and they must relate how they made changes in their offices that allowed them to run better for Westmoreland Countians, Korns said.
“We came in, we had a job to do, and we have done it,” he said.
Three years ago, Republicans Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney were elected as commissioners. Democrat Ted Kopas joins them on that board.
Republicans Treasurer Jared Squires, Sheriff Jon Held, Controller Jeffrey Balzer, Register of Wills Michael Ginsburg and Recorder of Deeds Frank Schiefer were elected in 2011.
Fundraising will be an important task for Republicans, Korns said.
“We need to have a voice, and we need to have one voice,” he added.
In his first move as party chairman, Korns said he will issue a letter to leaders in the county Democratic Party, asking them to join Republicans in protesting “the out-of-control Obama IRS,” which he said has “targeted individuals on the basis of their political and religious” beliefs.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.