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Allegheny

Braddock Council considering 6 candidates to replace Mayor Fetterman

Jamie Martines
| Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, 4:12 p.m.
In this Sept. 21, 2018 photo Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in Philadelphia. Fetterman, Pennsylvania's newly elected lieutenant governor, says he does not plan to move into the lavish state-owned official residence and hopes to make it available for some type of public use. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Sept. 21, 2018 photo Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in Philadelphia. Fetterman, Pennsylvania's newly elected lieutenant governor, says he does not plan to move into the lavish state-owned official residence and hopes to make it available for some type of public use. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Braddock borough council is considering six applications to fill the seat that will be vacated by current Mayor and Lt.Gov.-elect John Fetterman.

Though some Fetterman supporters looked to his wife, Gisele Fetterman, as a potential replacement, she did not apply to fill the position.

“I’m supremely confident that leadership will emerge from our community,” she said. “I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to continue my work on a statewide platform as PA’s next second lady.”

Gisele Fetterman is the force behind several Pittsburgh-area organizations that support families in need and tackle issues such as food insecurity.

The Fetterman family will continue living in Braddock as the lieutenant governor shuttles to Harrisburg and other parts of the state, she said.

According to a list of candidates provided by borough council President Tina Doose, the candidates include:

  • Isaac Bunn, 49, is a 1988 graduate of Woodland Hills High School with certificates in cooking, restaurant and business management from Forbes Road East Career and Technical School in Monroeville. A lifelong resident of Braddock, Bunn has worked in corporate financial, food service and management fields for about 30 years, he said. He runs the Braddock-based nonprofit Braddock Inclusion Project, which was founded in 2015 to improve the quality of life, health and economic conditions for residents of the borough. “So, at this critical time in society, this important transition period for Braddock and with all the advancements taking place around the region, I felt obligated to seek this opportunity to emphasize redeveloping Braddock with the same zeal that’s rampaging through the county — Except in realistic ways that reflect, retain and replenish the majority population with working class individuals, black-owned business, world class institutions, trade skills and technology education centers,” Bunn said.
  • Chardae Jones, 29, grew up in Braddock and is a 2007 graduate of Woodland Hills High School. She graduated from Carlow University with a degree in professional writing and communications in 2011 and went on to serve with AmeriCorps in Braddock in 2013. She now works as a business analyst. “Even if I don’t get the interim mayor position, I’m still going to be out in the community like I am, finding ways to help,” Jones said. Her role as a co-chair for this year’s Braddock community day helped to kick start her involvement throughout the borough, she said. If chosen, she hopes to improve communication between residents and the borough council.
  • Rachelle Mackson , who also could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
  • Dominique Davis Sanders, 28, a Braddock native and 2009 graduate of Woodland Hills High School. Sanders owns the Braddock-based business Strictlyluxuryhair, which specializes in customized wigs for clients with hair loss. “I think I would be the best candidate because I’m actually from here, and actually struggled here as well,” he said. Sanders said that he hopes to give a citizen’s perspective on issues in the borough as well as to set an example for young people. “My first thing would be to bring the community back to the community,” he said
  • The Rev. Sheldon Stoudermire, 56, grew up in Swissvale but has lived in Braddock since 2012. “I kind of got my boots on the ground here in Braddock,” said Stoudermire, an Army veteran who has worked in the mental health field for nearly 20 years. He also conducts community outreach and street ministry throughout Braddock. As mayor, he hopes to work with police to tackle drugs, gun violence and vandalism, he said. Stoudermire said that he sees this as “an opportunity to make a difference.” “The main focus of a mayor in these boroughs is working with the precinct and ensuring safety,” he said.
  • Pedro Valles , 53, moved to the Pittsburgh area in 1995 and has since settled in Braddock. He’s an officer with the Rankin Police Department and is assigned as a school resource officer at the Rankin Promise School in the Woodland Hills School District — a post he said helps him connect with and build trust with Braddock’s young people. He previously served as a police officer in Braddock and was elected constable for Braddock’s second ward. As mayor, Valles said he hopes to improve the relationship between the Braddock Police Department and the community. “I’d like to make it a more community friendly department,” he said, adding that he wants officers to conduct more foot patrols and spending more time interacting with residents.

Council will review the applications and appoint Fetterman’s replacement by January, Doose said. The new interim mayor will have the option of running in the May primary and must win the November general election to keep the seat.

The borough has not yet received a letter of resignation from Fetterman, Doose said.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, jmartines@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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