ShareThis Page

Law student Cerilli plans to run for Westmoreland County commissioner

Rich Cholodofsky
| Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Gina Cerilli of Hempfield won the Democratic nod for Westmoreland County commissioner in the May 2015 primary.
Gina Cerilli of Hempfield won the Democratic nod for Westmoreland County commissioner in the May 2015 primary.

A law student from Hempfield has announced her candidacy for Westmoreland County commissioner.

Gina Cerilli, 28, of Hempfield said she will run a campaign independent of other Democratic candidates in the May 19 primary election and won't limit herself to partisan politics.

“I don't want to be with anyone else. I'd rather do it independently,” Cerilli said. “I feel I can add a new direction in politics. I think voters are sick and tired of politicians fighting. Politicians have to work together.”

In a letter to voters, Cerilli pledged to put public interest above politics.

“Political factions today have lost the ability to debate their viewpoints, resolve their differences amicably and act as leaders together. Instead we are stuck with arguments, gridlock and nothing getting accomplished. This does not serve the best interest of taxpayers regardless of their political party,” she said.

No other Democrats have officially entered the commissioners' race. Incumbent Democratic Commissioner Ted Kopas said he will seek a second full term in office, and a formal announcement of his campaign is “pending.”

Democrats held a majority on the board of commissioners for nearly 60 years before Republicans took control of the three-member board three years ago.

Cerilli is a graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic High School and an honors graduate of Philadelphia University, earning a bachelor of arts degree and a master's of business administration.

For the last five years, Cerilli has worked as a public relations specialist for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

She earns an annual salary of $61,500 and received tuition benefits of more than $10,000 to attend law school.

Cerilli will graduate from Duquesne University School of Law in the spring.

“I do want to be a lawyer, but I also want to give back to the community. I feel like I have a commitment to give back to my home county. I want to have an ability to have an impact on people's lives,” Cerilli said.

She said she will take a leave of absence starting this month from her job at the water authority.

Cerilli said her campaign will focus on human services issues such as the growing drug abuse problem in the county and improving programs for people with mental illness.

Her interest in politics came about through her work as Miss Pennsylvania USA 2010, she said.

“Five years ago I decided I wanted to get involved in public service. It was when I was Miss Pennsylvania, and I did a lot of community service,” Cerilli said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me