Westmoreland commissioner election focus: economic development | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland commissioner election focus: economic development

Rich Cholodofsky
Westmoreland County commissioner 2019 candidates are: Gina Cerilli, Democrat; Doug Chew, Republican; Ted Kopas, Democrat; and Sean Kertes, Republican.

Editor’s note: Candidates for Westmoreland County commissioner discussed their views on various subjects with the Tribune-Review, which will be published weekly leading up to the Nov. 5 election.

The third installment features excerpts from interviews in which the candidates were asked about their views on economic development. A video of their full responses can be seen at TribLIVE.com.

Westmoreland County commissioners also serve as members of the county’s Industrial Development Corp. board of directors. In that role, they have supported the creation of 18 industrial parks serving as the platform of the county’s economic development program. Candidates were asked to discuss other proposals and polices they support to further economic development.

Gina Cerilli (D), 33, of Hempfield:

“The biggest impact we can have as county commissioners is to work with our workforce development programs to advertise our advanced technology center and to work with local trade unions to promote their apprenticeship programs.”

Doug Chew (R), 49, of Hempfield:

“I want to work with my colleagues at the innovation center at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University in order to bring back those jobs to our county and bring back that development to Westmoreland County.”

Sean Kertes (R), 33, of Greensburg:

“Let’s start looking at the downtown areas, as well as the townships that are building out. Just walk in downtown Monessen — we have waterfront property there, we have a pad-ready site and we have to start building something down there. Hempfield Township is starting to develop great things as well.”

Ted Kopas (D), 46, of Hempfield:

“When the county is engaged and the county is proactive, good things happen — and we’ve proven that. It’s the same strategy I plan on using to finish up a new industrial park in Hempfield Township, a Hempfield office complex.”

Voters in November will elect three county commissioners.

Incumbents Cerilli and Kopas are joined on the ballot by challengers Kertes and Chew.

Cerilli is seeking her second term in office. Kopas was first appointed to the board in 2010 and elected to his first full four-year term in 2011.

Kertes works as the chief of staff to Commissioner Charles Anderson, who is retiring at the end of his term.

Chew is a biochemist who previously worked as a Pitt faculty member and now serves as a self-employed grant-writing consultant. He is making his first run for public office.

Other issues already addressed by the candidates include:

Oct 3: County finances and taxes

Oct. 11: Quality-of-life strategies to increase Westmoreland County population.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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