Local races spark 2013 elections
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
The year after a presidential election is typically called an ‘off-year,’ but in Wyoming County, some key local races could make the 2013 campaign just as exciting.
All 23 municipalities in the county will be electing officials to their governing bodies, along with a slate of other positions.
Three county-wide seats will be on the ballot and several school board members will be elected in the various districts in the area.
And, one magisterial district judge – John Hovan – who serves a third of Wyoming County is also up for election this year.
Candidates will vie for their parties’ nominations in the primary election on May 21, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 5. The winners will take office in January 2014.
Council seats in each of the county’s five boroughs will probably be among the more visible races.
Each borough council will have at least three of its membership on the ballot this year.
The Mayors’ positions now held by Factoryville’s Gary Evans, Laceyville’s Kenneth Patton, Nicholson’s Ann Marie Aylesworth and Tunkhannock’s Norm Ball will be up for grabs.
In Tunkhannock borough, four of its eight seats are open this year: Robert Robinson (Ward 1), Ruby Sands (Ward 2), Joseph Myers (Ward 3) and Carlton Williams (Ward 4).
In Nicholson borough, three council seats will be on the ballot this year, all in Ward 1, and held by Dawn Bell, Frederick Swingle and Stephen Coleman.
In Meshoppen borough, three out of seven council seats are scheduled to be contested this year: those now held by Bruce Priestner, Jack Vaow and John Bunnell.
Laceyville borough has four of its seven seats up for election: Richard Rogers, Karen Rogers, Donald Vandemark and Matthew Harper.
Three of Factoryville’s borough council seats – all in Ward 2 – are up for 4-year terms: those now held by Charles Wrobel, William Edwards and Christopher Bergey.
Each of the 18 townships has one supervisor’s seat open this year: Braintrim (David Heller); Clinton (Joseph Bolin); Eaton (Kenny White); Exeter (Steven Dructor); Falls (Robert Kenia); Forkston (William Severcool Jr.); Lemon (Robert Sickler); Mehoopany (Eloise Day); Meshoppen (Joe Sternick); Monroe (Dale Wright); Nicholson (Duane White); North Branch (Tim Poole); Northmoreland (William Wagner); Noxen (David Hettesheimer); Overfield (Gerald Fritsch); Tunkhannock (Glenn Shupp); Washington (Daniel Huff Jr.) and Windham (Robert Otto). There are no partial terms scheduled to be elected in any township in 2013.
Other offices on the ballot in the municipalities include auditors, constables, tax collectors, judges of elections, and inspectors of elections.
On the county level, the offices of coroner (Tom Kukuchka), treasurer (Darlene Marshall) and district attorney (Jeff Mitchell) are due to be elected to 4-year terms.
In Tunkhannock Area School District, five of the nine school board seats are up for election this year.
This includes two seats – now held by Stephen Colley and Donald Nowells – in Region 1, which includes Eaton, Forkston, Lemon, North Branch, Mehoopany and Washington townships; one seat – now held by Martin Migliori – in Region 2, which includes Monroe, Northmoreland, Falls and Overfield townships; and two seats – now held by Robert Parry III and Mick Cronin – in Region 3, which encompasses Tunkhannock borough and Tunkhannock Township.
Lackawanna Trail School District has two seats up for election this year in Wyoming County: one in Region 1, including Clinton Twp., Nicholson Twp. and Nicholon Borough – now held by Kevin Mulhern, and one in Region 2, which is Factoryville Borough – now held by Judith Johnson.
The only Elk Lake School District seat in Wyoming County is the one representing residents in Meshoppen Twp. – now held by Arden Tewksbury.
In the western part of the county, residents in Laceyville borough, Braintrim Twp., and part of Windham Twp. will elect a representative to the Wyalusing School Board – now held by Larry Franklin.
Noxen Twp. residents will choose a member to serve on Lake-Lehman School Board – now held by Kevin Carey.
And, voters in Exeter Twp. will select four members of the Wyoming Area School Board, who are elected at large by a district-wide vote – now held by John Marianacci, John Bolin, Francis Casarella and Gil Dominick.
Should you run for office?
Now that the elections are over, are you ready for the next round?
No joke: 2013 is a municipal election year in Pennsylvania. You’ll be voting for township supervisors, borough and city council members, school district directors, and other local offices. The primary isn’t until May, and the general election won’t happen until next November, so why think about this now?
Because if you plan to run for office, it’s time to get ready. To become a candidate you must circulate and submit a petition of candidacy – and you can only do that from mid-February to mid-March. In other words, you need to know very soon whether or not you’d like to give it a try.
You’re probably thinking this blog is for somebody else, because the thought of being an elected official never crossed your mind. But maybe you should consider it. Here are a few reasons why:
1. In many parts of Pennsylvania there aren’t enough candidates to fill all the seats. When citizens have no one to elect, they lose the opportunity to choose the people who, among other things, guide the future of the municipality and set local taxes.
2. Local government is where the action is – it’s where decisions are made about how your community will grow, what shape the streets are in, and which services are most important.
3. It’s fun. Really, it is. Yes there are a lot of meetings, and citizens will complain, but there’s also a tremendous sense of accomplishment in steering the community and getting things done.
4. Maybe it’s your turn. Public service is a great way to give back or pay it forward. And it sets a great example for your kids.
5. You’re young enough – your community needs your new thinking.
6. You’re old enough – your community needs your wisdom and experience.
Are you willing to think about it? Here are a few quick ways to find out if elected office is for you:
*Visit your municipality’s website (if they have one).
*Read meeting minutes, newsletters and other information from your municipality. You may have to stop by the municipal building to get these items.
*Attend one of the regular monthly meetings. Stay for the whole show. It’s budget and tax rate time, so you should be very interested in attending.
*Talk to your current elected officials. Ask them what they like best and least about public service.
If you’re willing to give it a whirl, check out Penn State Extension’s workshop Toss Your Hat in the Ring, which will be offered in many areas in January and February 2013 – check this site for dates and locations.
If we’re not coming to your neighborhood, try the League of Women Voters or your county elections office.
Or contact Judy Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org – I may know about other workshops. And thanks for thinking about public office.
(By Judy Chambers and included online by Penn State Extension at http://extension.psu.edu/ecd/news/2012/time-to-run-for-office)