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Democrats tap Westwood woman as City Council candidate

| Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee has selected Theresa N. Smith of Westwood as the party's candidate for the City Council seat vacated by Dan Deasy.

Smith, 49, who registers students for after-school services and programs for Community LEARNS, earned 56 votes in the party nominating election Saturday morning, said committee chairman Jim Burn. Other contenders were Brendan Schubert, also of Westwood, who received 10 votes; Robert Frank, of Mt. Washington, who received six votes; and Tony Folino, of Banksville, who received three. Burn said 75 of 87 eligible voters participated.

Smith described crime and blight as the top issues in District 2 -- which includes Fairywood, Sheraden, Elliott, West End, Mt. Washington and Banksville -- as well as the city as a whole.

"People want to feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods," she said. Creating jobs is also important, she added.

Smith described herself as a 20-year community advocate and volunteer. For the past three years, she has been secretary for the 28th Ward Democratic Committee. She is president of the Crafton Heights-Westwood-Ridgemont Community Council and vice president of the Westwood/Oakwood Athletic Association, and is active in the Sheraden and Banksville community organizations.

She is a committee member of Weed & Seed, a city program that tries to "weed out" neighborhood violent crime and gangs and drug use, and the West End coordinator for the Moms & Cops program, through which community advocates, law enforcement and social service agencies identify at-risk families and help them access needed services.

She is married to Tom Smith, who works for Giant Eagle's OK Grocery Warehouse in Fairywood. They have three children: Steven, 29, Nicole, 27, and T.J., 18.

Deasy, 42, also of Westwood, stepped down Dec. 1 after three-and-a-half years as a city councilman. In November he was elected to represent the 27th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, succeeding retired state Rep. Thomas Petrone. Deasy will take office in January,

A special election for the City Council seat is scheduled for Feb. 3. So far no Republican contenders have come forward to run.

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