5 Democrats competing for 3 Oakmont Council seats
Five Democrats and three Republicans seek party nods for three, four-year seats on Oakmont Council in the May 21 primary election.
One from each party also plan to be on the ballot for the two-year seat that’s up for grabs.
David Brankley and Randy Galm will be on the ballot for the two-year seat that’s up for grabs.
Democratic contenders include Sophia Facaros, Lindsay Osterhout, Terese Connerton, Tracey Holst and Nancy Ride.
Republicans for the four-year seats include William Wengerd, Matthew Duran and Andrew Zentgraf. They are unopposed, unless a write-in candidate emerges.
Connerton, 67, is making for her first attempt at political office.
She is a self-employed as an attorney with more than 35 years experience in law.
Connerton grew up in Washington, D.C. and has lived in Oakmont since January 2013. She said raising four children and working for various law firms took up most of her time.
“I never had any time to really participate in local affairs,” she said. “I have time now. I always had an interest in giving back to the community, back to the place where I live and I love. I believe local politics affect lives more than the federal politics. Local politics are important, and I really believe people should participate in decisions that will affect them and their community directly.
“If you have more transparency and more citizen participation, you have better decision-making and can find solutions to problems that have been identified in the neighborhood.”
Holst, 51, said she will bring leadership skills to Oakmont Council if elected.
“Having worked as a leader for 18 years, I have the ability to collaborate and work with others. I have a passion for people in Oakmont and even the businesses,” she said.
Holst works as a human resources director at an energy and resources company in Latrobe. She holds an education degree and a master’s degree in labor relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also has a doctorate in organization leadership from the former Argosy University in Pittsburgh.
She said having full transparency with the residents and managing sustainable growth in the borough while keeping the “small-town appeal” are two areas she will work to maintain if elected.
Osterhout, 39, said Oakmont is very important to her.
“I love living here, the people, the business owners,” she said. “We’re very invested.”
Osterhout and her husband, Karl, own and operate Osterhout Berger Disability Law. She also serves on the Oakmont Carnegie Library Board and is a coach for Girls on the Run.
If elected, Osterhout wants to better plan for funding surrounding infrastructure projects. She holds a degree in communications from Saint Vincent College and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Ride, 67, said she has more time to devote to serving the community now that she is retired. A former councilwoman who served two terms starting in 2008, she wants to improve communication with residents.
“I think we can improve our communication with the citizens and it’s a small town with a small office staff, so it’s always a challenge as technology improves to keep up with communication with people,” Ride said.
Ride, a former paralegal, serves on the Oakmont Carnegie Library board. She earned a history degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
Facaros, 67, served on council from 2014 through 2018 and took a break to spend more time with her grandchildren.
She is a retired principal from Pittsburgh Public Schools with 38 years in education.
She served on council 2014 to 2018 and left to spend more time with her grandchildren. She formerly served on the borough’s parks and recreation board.
“In what I’ve experienced those four years, I’d like to put it to good use,” she said. “The key issues are dealing with the changes. So much has happened in the past 10 to 15 years. The parks have developed nicely. Businesses have developed nicely. Let’s keep things going smoothly and not too fast.
“It seems much has changed in the last 15 years than has in the past 30. It’s taken on a whole new look. People are now recognizing Oakmont. It’s a nice town to raise children. We just want to keep that moving along.”
Brankley, 64, hopes to bring change to the borough’s police department.
“I would like to increase our full-time compliment and cut back on the number of part-time officers,” he said, adding Oakmont has gone through 125 police since 1993.
“I find that dramatically and negatively decreases police-community relations and the constant turnover makes training difficult,” Brankley said.
Brankley is a retired Oakmont police officer. He served there for 38 years. Brankley graduated from Penn Hills High School and holds a degree in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Galm, 59, was recently appointed to council to fill the unexpired term of Justin Lokay. He said he is running because he wants to give back to the community he’s grown to love. With a background in finance, he hopes to maintain the borough’s fiscal responsibilities.
“I see it as an opportunity to do some public service. And I have experience with finance, so it might be put to good use in helping Oakmont,” he said.
Galm recently retired from Westinghouse Electric Company after a 37-year career. He holds an accounting degree from Grove City College.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .