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Constitution Party candidate tests Blawnox incumbent Democrats

Mary Ann Thomas
| Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

Blawnox borough council is likely to change little, if at all, as four incumbents are up for re-election on the seven-member board.

The Nov. 3 municipal election would have been a slam-dunk win for the four Democrats on council, but Constitution Party candidate Wesley Thompson entered the race.

Without a major issue or an immediate crisis, candidates generally focused on long term goals such as increasing the town's tax base.

Scott Krause, 52, a councilman for 14 years, would like to see absentee landlords and other landlords take pride in Blawnox and keep houses up to code.

Ditto for local storefronts. "I would like to see some beautification work at the parks with some lighting and some trees," he said.

A volunteer firefighter for 30 years with the Blawnox Glenover company, Krause said that he has the experience to handle a number of challenges.

"We've built up a real reputation with the local lawmakers," said Krause of council. "It gives us an inside track to grants and other opportunities."

Deborah E. Laskey, 54, vice president of council, said she wants residents, businesses and property owners to maintain the integrity of the community.

And she wants the town to take a management team approach to help Blawnox stack up favorably with nearby communities to compete for drawing businesses and residents.

A councilwoman for 11 years, Laskey said, "I regard my election to public office worthy of only my best efforts, no matter the assignment." Laskey added that her recent business degree from Penn State University will provide expertise to help with community work.

Sam McNaughton, 68, borough council president and longtime councilman, is focused on bringing development to this landlocked town. "We have to make the best use of our land and resources for future development," he said.

McNaughton also wants council to remain intact.

"We take into consideration the entire borough, not just a few folks," he said.

McNaughton credits his background with UPS when he worked with the borough's water department to reduce its delinquencies from well over $25,000 to zero.

Randall Stoddard, 59, councilman since 1994, said council has been focusing on keeping expenses under control.

"For the future, we've been looking at increasing revenue from telecommunications and Internet," Stoddard said. He said redeveloping idle commercial property is another way to add to the borough's coffers.

Stoddard said he brings to council his experience in securing grants for playground equipment and helping to upgrade the town's ballfield, among other public work.

Also valuable, Stoddard said was his familiarity with the borough solicitor and engineer and knowing what people to go to for help, including the Allegheny Valley Council of Governments.

Newcomer Wesley Thompson, 50, of the Constitution Party wants to emphasize the importance of the oath of office taken by borough officials.

"To properly govern, it's important for the borough elected public servants to understand the Constitution and the oath of office," said Thompson.

He wants to make sure that borough police are controlled by citizens, "instead of acting as an arm of the state and federal government."

Thompson also is concerned about the borough borrowing more than $2 million for renovations of the municipal building and fire department.

As a prospective board member, Thompson said that no one party controls him.

"I like living in Blawnox," Thompson said. "It's a safe community and I want to keep it safe and remain independent."

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