7 in contest for 4 open South Fayette board seats
In South Fayette Township, seven candidates will compete for four open spots on the board of commissioners. Art Bond, J. Keith Dernosek, J. Deron Gabriel, Joseph Horowitz, Steven J. Lower, Lisa Malosh and Gwen A. Rodi will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, all seeking four-year terms.
Following is information submitted by the candidates as well as their response to questions posed by the Trib:
Question 1: Why did you decide to run in this election?
Question 2: What do you feel is the largest issue that needs to be addressed?
Question 3: What should voters know about you?
Arthur R. Bond — Republican
Address: Cecil Sturgeon Road, McDonald
Occupation: Doctor of chiropractic, in practice for 40 years at my office, Bond Chiropractic Health Center.
Previous elected office: The only elected offices I have held are various positions with Kiwanis International, a volunteer service club founded to strengthen communities and improve the lives and health of children in our local communities, including president of my club and lt. governor for our division in Pennsylvania.
Question 1: What really got me interested in running for office was the terrible condition of the road I live on. It is in the worst shape I can ever remember. Even after contacting the township repeatedly, only the barest minimum was done to keep the road passable. Then the new toll road began to be built and the road was closed between my house and Millers Run Road, so I had to detour almost eight miles twice a day to get to work or even to go shopping. During that time (almost a year and a half) it became painfully obvious … so many other roads in our township were in terrible shape too. When I talked to people in township government, the major problem was always the lack of funding for needed repairs. How could that be possible considering all of the taxes we pay — among the highest in Pennsylvania? We have truly awful roads, aging and inefficient infrastructure, and an apparent lack of a desire of our present board of commissioners to really begin handling these problems.
Question 2: Since I was born, I have seen the vast changes of our township going from a lovely rural area to becoming a large part of suburbia. During that time, we have not followed all the precepts set down by the state for a first class township, especially those concerning the business versus housing ratio. This includes all of our infrastructure such as roads, sewage, water, utilities, etc.
I would do my best to change the status quo in our South Fayette government, so that every resident will be truly informed about the actions the board of commissioners is taking, and will have the knowledge to either agree or disagree with those actions. Further, I want to make sure our residents see that our tax dollars are used appropriately and effectively.
Since many of our commissioners have been in office for quite awhile, I feel that it is time for a change. Our township deserves to have new commissioners with fresh ideas and a more open local government.
Question 3: My parents bought our farm in the 1930s. I attended Washington & Jefferson College, then transferred to the University of South Florida, were I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in zoology. I then attended Sherman College of Chiropractic where I graduated cum laude in 1979. I returned to Pennsylvania and have lived (on) Cecil Sturgeon Road full time since then. I have been in practice as a chiropractor in Canonsburg for 40 years. Now my daughter has followed in my footsteps and has been in practice with me for more than eight years.
J. Keith Dernosek — Republican
Address: Hunting Ridge
Occupation: Supervisor at Hunting Ridge Community Association
Previous elected office: N/A
Question 1: I grew up in South Fayette and have a personal interest in the health and vitality of the community. I strive to have a positive impact on township spending and to take care of the issues that are important to the people in our community, such as roadways and a tax base that is not balanced primarily on homeowners.
Question 2: I intend to be the voice that pushes for a resolution of our community’s concerns. I intend to promote and support business growth in the township, as I feel this is one of the most important issues facing the community right now.
While housing continues to be built at a record pace, there is not sufficient business growth to maintain the diversified tax base that is essential to a thriving community, with affordable taxes and amenities. There are plenty of opportunities to succeed. In other areas of the state, I see that interchanges can bring larger businesses to the area, which could result in more tax revenue for the township and lower taxes overall for individuals. South Fayette’s tax rate of 4.73 is one of the highest in Allegheny County. The new I-79 interchange and toll road at Route 50 would be a great opportunity to promote business growth.
Question 3: I care where our tax dollars go and will work to make sure our dollars are used to grow the community and put funds towards issues that are important to the people of this township. The people of this township deserve to know what’s happening and to be involved in the decisions being made that affect them. I am a very transparent person and support the video-taping of the meetings so that our whole community can view them on the SF website. I can assure you I will work my hardest for my neighbors in South Fayette Township.
J. Deron Gabriel — Democrat
Address: Turnberry Lane
Occupation: Attorney and solicitor, serves on South Fayette Township zoning hearing board
Previous elected office: South Fayette Township commissioner, 2008-15
Question 1: To utilize my experience and expertise to continue to serve the residents of South Fayette Township.
Question 2: To complete what I helped begin — the commercial buildout of South Fayette Township so (1) the residents have amenities and (2) the township and school have a broader tax base. Also, we need to complete the development of the township parks and trails
Question 3: Voters should know that as a father of four, I believe our kids are our future.
Joseph Horowitz — Democrat
Did not respond
Steven Lower — Democrat
Occupation: Custodial manager of South Fayette School District
Previous elected office: None
Question 1: To help make decisions on how to keep our residents in the township for the long term
Question 2: To keep the residents informed of all decisions made by our local government
Question 3: I was not born and raised here but have been here over 20 years and I do not have plans of ever leaving.
Lisa Malosh — Republican
Adress: South Fayette
Occupation: Senior living industry/administration/healthcare improvement focus
Previous elected office: South Fayette Township board of commissioners
Question 1: I have served for the past eight years and want to continue serving our residents/township. We have an awesome team of staff and my colleagues are committed, honest, and work hard to keep South Fayette moving forward. We push each other and we have a strong team working together. We have great things happening in South Fayette and we still have a lot of work to do. I have learned so much about public service and would be honored continuing to serve our people …. continue working on solutions to problems and moving South Fayette forward.
Question 2: No response
Question 3; No response
Gwen Rodi — Democrat
Address: No response
Age: No response
Occupation: State government
Previous elected office: Current South Fayette commissioner
Question 1: Because South Fayette is my home and I want to continue the work that has been done in my current term as commissioner; to grow our business district to increase our tax base, to continue making improvements within the township in a fiscally responsible manner by adding to our parks and infrastructure and to continue preserving the health, safety and well being of all residents.
Question 2: Responsibly managing growth in the township
Question 3: I am married with six children and have lived in the township for 26 years.
katie.green is a Tribune-Review news editor. You can contact katie.green at [email protected].