Friday, May 6, 2011

2011 Primaries - Allgheny County Controller Edition

There are 3 varied and qualified Democratic candidates running for the illustrious position of Allegheny County Controller. The incumbent (Mark Patrick Flaherty) has tossed his hat into the County Executive position leaving the job of Controller up for grabs.

Valerie McDonald Roberts - She has a long history of public office in Allegheny County from Pittsburgh School Board President to City Council member to her current position as Recorder of Deeds. This woman is a spitfire who is hell bent on equal rights for women and minorities in public office. Hearing her speak is a pleasure. Infusing more of that passion into County government could only be a boon for us all as Pennsylvania lags behind the rest of the country's not-so-great gender wage gap. Let's see an audit on that!

Chelsa Wagner - This motivated woman is currently serving Pittsburgh in Harrisburg as a State Representative. You could say that auditing runs in her blood; she's the niece of State Auditor General Jack Wagner. I can't blame her for wanting to get the hell out of Harrisburg in spite of a potential pay cut. She's the youngest candidate by 20 years and would certainly shake things up in the county.

George Matta - George is running based on his years of experience as Controller and Mayor of the city of Duquesne. Though if you ask me, it's a stretch to call Duquesne a city with its population of 7,332. Additionally, Duquesne has seen better days. Its only high school closed down in 2007. It was designated a financially distresses municipality by the state back in 1991 - a status that's never been rescinded. And lastly, 35% of its residents live below the poverty line. Maybe he should be running for mayor of Pittsburgh with all that experience. For the past 10 years, George has been the Allegheny County Clerk of Courts.

Historically, the position of Controller has been a stepping stone for running for Allegheny County Executive. Honestly, I have nothing against any of these candidates, so at this point, I'm going with my gut. Valerie and a representative of Chelsa both attended the South Side Slopes "Meet the Candidates" meeting. George was absent. Valerie showed her passion and dedication through strong words and by virtue of showing up. She won my vote.

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