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Westmoreland

Incumbent George Reese, former manager Rob Ritson win seats on Hempfield Board of Supervisors

| Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 10:27 p.m.

Republicans won the day in the Hempfield supervisors race Tuesday, with fire chief George Reese winning a full term on the board and former manager Rob Ritson earning a chance to sit on the other side of the dais.

Reese won 47.1 percent of the vote and Ritson won 34.8 percent to Democratic attorney David Colecchia's 18 percent, according to unofficial results.

The top two vote-getters will serve six-year terms on the board, earning $5,000 a year. Ritson, 45, was township manager from 2002-08 and since served as chief of staff to State Sen. Kim Ward, a Hempfield Republican.

Reese, 52, a general contractor and chief at the Carbon Volunteer Fire Department, sought a full term on the board after being appointed in late 2015 to fill the rest of Sherry Magretti Hamilton's term when she was elected Westmoreland County Register of Wills.

Colecchia, 48, was the only Democrat in the race. But his party cut ties with him in October after he confronted Ritson's daughter while speaking to her high school class.

Even though he won't be sworn in until January, Ritson said he'd immediately start pushing the current supervisors for the 1-mill tax cut he'd proposed in his campaign, to be paid for with the $5 million in up-front proceeds Hempfield got for selling the township's sewer system to the Westmoreland Municipal Authority.

“I'll be lobbying the board as they're producing the 2018 budget to start working on that tax cut,” Ritson said. “Otherwise I'd have to wait and get them to reopen the budget in January.”

Ritson will replace Jerry Fagert, who lost to him in the Republican primary.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

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