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Your local candidates for the May 16 primary election

GAZETTE 2.0 ELECTION GUIDE


Primaries are fast approaching, May 16, and what follows are some of the names you can expect to see on the ballot. A good-faith effort was made to contact all candidates, but not everyone responded. Write-in candidates are not included. We at Gazette 2.0 encourage you to learn about the candidates and make your vote count!


Election Guide compiled by Staff Writer Elizabeth Perry with assistance from Lori Altmeyer.


COUNCIL & COMMISSIONER RACES


CORAOPOLIS

Ward 1

Democrat Incumbent Edward Pitassi is head of the Shade Tree Commission and recently contributed to efforts involving research into a parking study on Main Street.


Democrat Michael Robert Harris is a volunteer firefighter, a member of the Shade Tree Commission and on the board of the Coraopolis Water and Sewer Authority. Harris said he wants to improve the look of the business district on Fourth and Fifth avenues and wants to create more summer programs for children and improve transportation for senior citizens.


Ward 2

In Ward 2, David Pendel is vacating his seat and there are two newcomers to the post.

Democrat John May is the former Public Works Manager at the Borough of Coraopolis who retired early due to a disability.


In the past 10 years, more than 40 portions of streets in Coraopolis have been repaired, and May said the area has steadily improved because of that investment.


“I’d like to continue that,” May said. “I’m strictly focused on doing things to financially help the community and better its development.”


Democrat Kim Haskins works for Amtrak and supports fellow candidate Harris’ bid for the Ward 1 seat. She is active in the Democratic party.


Ward 3

Incumbent Democrat Gary Flasco declined to speak to a reporter in person and did not return several phone calls.


Republican Olesia Johnston is the owner of D&O Wine Cellars and has lived in Coraopolis since 2020. Johnston said if elected she would make informed judgments and was ready to delve into research about the issues impacting residents.

Johnston

“As the current and previous council members have done tremendous work year to year, I lean toward newly elected council members having fresh eyes and having new ideas,” Johnston said. “All in all, I know I can be a positive and effective representative for the Borough of Coraopolis.”


Ward 4

Incumbent Democrat Robert Cardimen is a volunteer firefighter with the Coraopolis Volunteer Fire Department and an aircraft mechanic. Cardimen is running as a Democrat, but has expressed support for Republican talking points and politicians via his Facebook page. He did not return messages.


Republican Trevor M. Reed is involved with the Pennsylvania Emergency Response Center, which helps in search and rescue efforts and in trying to find missing persons and is active with the Boy Scouts. Reed said he’s running in order to “help move Coraopolis forward,” with a fresh perspective. His priorities are to encourage residents to attend meetings to make their needs a priority.

Reed

“The biggest concerns I hear from members of the community involve the appearance and condition of the infrastructure and amenities in town, in order to address this it will be critical to work closely with the Borough Manager as well as local organizations to have the largest impact without putting the burden on the taxpayers,” Reed said.




CARNEGIE

Ward 1

Incumbent Democrat Susan G. Demko is currently board secretary. She works as a realtor and understand how important low taxes and affordable services are to bringing people into an area to buy homes, so she’s made that a priority. Demko has been on the board for eight years. Prior to that she was on the planning commission for four and then on the local Carlynton School Board for a decade.


Demko said there is new business coming to the area, like a new bakery and restaurants, as well as the lighting project coming to downtown. She is running again to see those projects “come to fruition.”

Incumbent Democrat Thomas G. DiPietro has been on the board for four years and serves on the Code Enforcement and Community Development committees, and is also a COG Representative. The retired City of Pittsburgh teacher taught mostly middle-school math for 35 years prior to his work on the council.


“I enjoy council and I enjoy learning, and I just want to improve the area as much as possible,” DiPietro said, adding that his colleagues were a good group to work with.


DiPietro is excited by the new restaurants and bakeries coming into Carnegie, but would like to see more done in his second term to help rebuild the former Papa J’s site, which burnt down five years ago. He would also like to add a few pickle ball courts to the park.


Ward 2

Newcomer Republican Joseph DiSarro has taught for 45 years and is currently a professor of political science at Washington and Jefferson College. DiSarro has served on the Republican State Leadership Committee for two terms.

DiSarro

His main goals are to encourage further development in Carnegie, an area he believes is primed for further development because of its location, history and existing culture. DiSarro wants to invigorate the arts, work with the library system and revitalize the downtown area with new shops and restaurants. DiSarro said a single party system is bad for the government, no matter the political stripe, and he wants to act as the “loyal opposition.”


“I’m also running because I believe each of us has to participate in the political system.


I have talked to my neighbors, and Idecided rather than just speaking about it, we should get involved in the political system directly. I hope to make a small impact on this beautiful area,” DiSarro said, adding he wanted to “make Carnegie proud.”


Daniel Terry Lee is also running on the Democratic ticket.


CRAFTON

Kirsten Compitello is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket. The mother of two is an urban planner who works in community development and public participatory processes. She is interested in Crafton becoming an “eco-district.”

“I am passionate about bringing communities together, creating programs and policies for thriving and resilient places with strong social networks and support for local businesses, and ensuring inclusivity for all residents,” Compitello said via her website.

Hough

Democrat Michael J. Hough owns a video production company and has been a resident of Crafton since 2013. His wife grew up there and they are raising three young children in the community. Hough is running out of a sense of civic duty to represent and help his community. Fiscal responsibility and establishing a consistent community improvement process are priorities. For Hough, improving the parks is important because they attract families and younger people.


“I believe strongly in working together with all parties to achieve common and realistic goals, often through shared compromises,” Hough said.


Pamela Pulkownik is running as a Democrat. Pulkownik has lived in Crafton for about a decade and was recently appointed to the Crafton Parks and Recreation Committee. The marketing professional told council members at a Jan. 12 meeting her priorities would be to see improvements in public awareness and attendance, amping up the parks and walking trails, revitalizing the business district and bringing a main street feel to Crafton.


INGRAM

Denise Embrey is running on the Democratic ticket. Embrey works at an accounting firm; she supports Cat Ears Revolution, Wild Bird Recovery, is part of the Ingram Civic Club and the Ingram Recreation Committee. Two issues that interest her are the upcoming park improvements and maintaining public safety.


“I wanted to get more involved in my local community,” Embrey said.


Peter Fiset is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket. Fiset sits on the Parks and Recreation Committee. He also chairs the Police and Fire Committee.


Richard L. Smith is running on the Democratic ticket and he sits on the Highways, Health and Sanitation Committee.


Samantha Jo Wilfert is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket. Wilfert chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee. She also sits on the General Government Committee and the Technology, Communication and Finance Committee.


Tax collector


Romonovich

Patricia Romonovich is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket. Romonovich said after speaking with some elderly voters, it became apparent that they didn't think there were enough days for in-house collection compared to other communities.


“I am seeking election to hopefully influence Jordan Tax Service to adjust the days they are available at the Ingram Municipal Building,” Romonovich said. “I would like there to be some time offered later in the day. Specifically on another weekday as well as evening hours during the 2% discount time in both borough and school district collection periods.”


KENNEDY

Incumbent Chris DiNardo is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket. The former Montour School Board member is concerned about higher taxes.


Incumbent Frederick Kauffmann is running as a Democrat. He is a former Montour educator and head of the Parks Department. Kauffman was appointed to fill a seat won in 2019 by George Dudash, who declined the position.

Republican Diane Schmitt is currently the chairwoman of the Kennedy Township Republican Committee, serves as the secretary and Montour scholarship coordinator for the Sto-Ken-Rox Lions Club; and serves on the board of directors of the LifePAC organization which is a Christian home-school curriculum company.


Republican Christopher Szuminsky works in the automotive and trucking industry. He’s taken part in fundraisers for The Blue Knights/Blue Ride in support of police officers and the Shaw Ride which raises money for people to pay for the police academy. Szuminsky serves in Ingram as President of the United Presbyterian Church and is also a third-degree master mason in the Freemason organization.


McKEES ROCKS

Ward 1

Political newcomer Barbara A. Vojtecky Marquez is running on the Democratic ticket. Marquez is the sister of sitting council member Joe Mixter and if elected plans to help him on the Parks Commission. The grandmother of seven said parks, more speed bumps and supporting the police are her priorities.


“I just want a better McKees Rocks,” she said.”I think we’ve got a good council, all the members are working together. They’re getting stuff done.”


Incumbent Craig Myers is running on the Democratic ticket. He’s been on the board for 20 years. Myers said his focus is on more economic development to the area, specifically more restaurants and another grocery store. Myers said he and other council members have been reaching out to local grocery stores to try and get them to put down roots in the area.


Ward 2

Democrat John Malesnick was appointed in November to replace outgoing commissioner Joe Lubas. In 2021 Malesnick had been appointed previously, then took a year off for medical reasons. The biggest accomplishment of the board since he’s been involved has been the new captain and sergeant appointed to the police department, Malesnick said. He hopes in the future to bring more retail to the area, reduce crime, and give more funding to the police.


Ward 3

Incumbent President Arthur “Archie” Brinza is running on the Democratic ticket. Brinza has made cracking down on landlord neglect a center of his tenure on the council. He’s also worked with the Josh Gibson Foundation to help transform the empty Boys and Girls Club site.

Brinza said before the council began reaching out to landlords, about 25% of them had never even seen their properties at all. Under the current board, that’s changed, he said.


“We just want to keep moving forward,” Brinza said.

Gallagher

Democrat Ralph C. Gallagher Jr. is a recent appointee, taking over after Jeffrey Dusch resigned from his post in November. Gallagher is a former volunteer firefighter who works at Keystone Fire Apparatus. Gallagher is the Finance and Administrative Committee Chair. Gallagher said he’d “like to keep the borough going in the right direction.”


He was brought on by late council member Nick Radoycis and had looked to him as a mentor. Despite the loss, Gallagher is continuing to learn and grow in the position.


“There is a lot to do, I’m finding,” Gallagher said.


Republican Incumbent Maryann Holland is part of a resident’s commission to provide feedback about the use of the Boys and Girls Club. Holland is also active in Char-West COG and said she’s spent her first term on the board listening and learning.


“I hope to achieve the Boys and Girls Club being occupied and kids getting off the streets,” Holland said, and she wants to speed up the three-year time frame set out by the Josh Gibson Foundation, but isn’t sure how to do that without getting other parties involved.


NEVILLE ISLAND

Incumbent David Kerr is running for Commissioner at Large on the Democratic ticket. Kerr is currently vice-chair of the Board of Township Commissioners. This would be his second term. Kerr is a firefighter with the Neville Island General Volunteer Fire Department.


Incumbent Democrat Mark Stewart is running to be a commissioner in Ward 1. He is currently the Public Works Leader for the department. Stewart was appointed to fill a vacant seat last year and this is first full term.


Incumbent Democrat Jim Brown is running in Ward 3. Brown is completing his first term and running for a second.


ROBINSON

Sewak

Newcomer Bill Sewak is running as a Republican. The retired aircraft mechanic said he is the “regular guy” candidate who chose to run because 40% of the township is registered Republican, but none are on the board. Sewak said if elected he will be fiscally conservative, stay within budget, keep taxes as low as possible, and promote economic growth and prosperity.

“I will also pay attention to details which would be important in reviewing contracts and weighing all the possibilities,” Sewak said.


Matthew D. McNemar Sr. is running as a Republican.

Pravlochak

Democrat Gina Pravlochak is a lifelong resident of Robinson, business owner and mom of five kids. Pravlochak loves the small-town feel of the Robinson Township community and would love to see a woman and a mom represented on the board of commissioners. Pravlochak said her goal is to really listen to what the residents and business owners have to say, and move the community forward in a business and development sense that is beneficial to residents.


Incumbent Democrat Dr. James Mancini is a dentist and has been a Robinson Commissioner for eight years. He also served as Committee Chair for the Char-Valley Flood Control Authority and the Robinson Library.


“I enjoy serving my community and the people of Robinson Township. My service to Robinson Township and its residents began way back in 1979, when I started as a volunteer with Robinson EMS. I have been involved in the Robinson Township community ever since then,” Mancini said via email.


Mancini wants to keep taxes low while maintaining top-notch services. He has more than 30 years as a volunteer paramedic with Robinson EMS, and has coached with the Robinson baseball and softball organizations, as well as with Holy Trinity and Montour basketball teams. Mancini volunteers with the Governor's Advisory Council for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, better known as CHIP.


STOWE

Incumbent David Rugh is running as a Democrat. He is Chair of Finance, Public Works/Parks, Pension, Health/Sanitation/Stormwater, COG and a Member of the Safety Committee. Rugh is a recent co-owner of Anytime Market and has been on the board in Stowe for several years. Previously he was on council in McKees Rocks were he served as president.


Current President Kelly Cropper-Hall is running as a Democrat. Hall has been on the board eight years and prior to that served on the Sto-Rox School Board. In a public meeting, Cropper-Hall expressed pride over expanding Stowe’s police force and acquiring more vehicles for the department through grants.

Paul

Democrat Jeffrey Paul has been a Stowe resident for 25 years. Paul ran in the previous election and has been a vocal critic of Robin Parilla who was not reappointed as board president this year to make way for Cropper-Hall. Paul wants to bring a “fresh, level-headed approach.”


“I want to work with the residents and address their concerns. I especially look forward to working alongside our police force to make our town safe,” Paul said via statement.


Newcomer Peter Fabiano Jr. is also running as a Democrat and has the support of Parilla and Incumbent Cropper-Hall. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Cheryl McDermott has been endorsed by the Democratic party. McDermott, a hair salon owner, has served on the board for 15 years. McDermott wants to focus on getting property up to code.


“What I would like to concentrate on is property, [and] making these landlords come to every code possible to clean our town up,” McDermott said.


Tyler Kochirka is running on the Democratic ticket. Kochirka said public service was “generational for me, starting with my grandfather, Frank Urbano, who served as commissioner for the former 4th Ward. Both of my parents, Amy and Kevin, were elected officials as well.” Kochirka said their inspiration led him to run for school board and commissioner.


Kochirka, Paul and McDermott have presented a united front against what Kochirka describes as “dysfunction on the board.”


“Together, we will strive to create an organization that creates a positive and productive agency that puts the needs of the entire community at the forefront of any and all decisions,” Kochirka said.

 

SCHOOL DISTRICT RACES

CARLYNTON

Joseph C. Appel is currently vice president on the board on which he’s served since 2011.


George Honshar has served on the board since 2015. He is a Pathfinder Representative and Parkway West CTC Alternate Representative.


Derek Luke is a newcomer.


Jim Schriver is currently board president and has served since 2011.


Kelly Ann Zaletski has served on the board since 2015. She is a SHASDA Representative and Parkway West CTC Alternate Representative.


CORNELL

The following people are running to become directors on the Cornell School Board without political affiliation, so their names will appear on Republican and Democratic ballots.


Incumbent Caryn Code has been on the board for six years. She has a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old in the district, and is running again to make sure the best decisions are made for students. The candidate drives a school bus and is also interested in improving transportation. She thought the board’s decisions made during the pandemic were suitably cautious and kept everyone as safe as they could.


“I feel like there needs to be a variety of voices on the school board, and it’s worked so far,” Code said.

.

Catherine Cocco graduated from University of South Carolina with two undergraduate degrees in vocal performance with a biology minor; then she went back to complete a second bachelor's in music education.


“I’m double certified in Pennsylvania in music K-12 and secondary biology and have taught both subjects in public schools,” Cocco said via email.


Cocco is involved with the local library, Meals on Wheels, and started the Allegheny Music Academy with her husband about a year ago.


Incumbent Karen K. Murphy is the current President of the Cornell School Board and works at Blind and Vision Rehab. Her coworkers are visually-impaired, and Murphy says the experience of working there is “fantastic.”


“These are people who don't have to come to work, but they do,” Murphy said.


Murphy said when she began there was turmoil with discussion around the merging of school districts with Moon Area, but this isn’t the case anymore. She is excited by all the parents showing interest at meetings and those volunteering for the job.


“I think that bodes well for the community,” Murphy said. She has maintained her presence on the school board for 24 years because she thinks the kids and families she serves are wonderful, and in previous years there had been a lack of people interested in the job.


“We are building up a very nice pool of people here in Coraopolis so I figured I'd give it one more shot,” Murphy said.


Incumbent Mark Cavicchia was first elected to the school board in 2015. Cavicchia is the chief operating officer and co-founder for RC21X a company that has created an app to create a baseline measurement for brain performance. Cavicchia said he has promoted incorporating technology and connectivity in learning since he began on the board and they’ve made “great strides” in that regard. Cavicchia is excited that Advanced Placement classes are being added to curriculum, and wants to continue widening those offerings if reelected.


Incumbent Michael S. Griffith has been on the school board for four years. He is a therapist. Griffith said he was proud of the way the school was able to get through the whole pandemic. In particular, he said they managed things with a high level of organization and were able to maintain productive communication. Griffith said that although Cornell is small “there’s a ton of resources for the families and kids that they might not have at a larger school.”


Incumbent Scott Spencer has been on the school board for a year and a half. His daughter is currently in grade 11 in the district. He got involved because he felt serving on the school board was a good way to help the community. Spencer said the board is helping the parents of children immigrating into the district with English lessons, so they can help their kids with homework. Spencer said he is excited the school is looking into solar energy, because it will lower costs and create an educational opportunity for students.


“It’s a win-win for the school district,” Spencer said.


MONTOUR

School board directors do not have a political affiliation in Montour, so these names will appear on Democratic and Republican Primary ballots.


Region 1

Incumbent Mark Rippole has been on the board since 2016 and is a Vice President of Insurance Operations at Guardian according to his LinkedIn page. Rippole is active in Montour sports.


Incumbent Thomas Barclay has been on the board 12 years and said collectively their biggest accomplishment was sound fiscal management and their biggest challenge has been dealing with COVID-19 and “trying to understand the impact on students and their families while trying to meet the requirements placed on the school system during that period.”


Region 2

Current Board President Mark Hutter led the board during a staff increase and negotiations with teachers which resulted in a five-year contract. He is a member of the Robinson Lions Club.

Current Vice President Ken Barth has been on the board for more than eight years. He is most proud that Montour is in the top 10 ranking which means Montour students are receiving a “great education.” His goal is to see Montour School District be one of the top five public schools in Pennsylvania.


Director Mary Ellen Moore is an incumbent.


Challenger Mark Alarcon is a dentist with two children in the Montour School District. The multi-lingual Pitt graduate, speaks both Spanish and English. Alarcon describes himself as a conservationist and healthy lifestyle advocate who believes education is key to success and personal development. He is supported by the Robinson Republican party.


“It is important to have cooperative bipartisan representation in our schools,” Alarcon said.

 

ALLEGHENY COUNTY


County Executive

Democrat Dave Fawcett is a trial attorney who has been involved in local politics for decades. Fawcett has served as the Republican county counsel on the elections board and in Allegheny County Council. Fawcett said via his website he is committed to criminal justice reform and has done extensive work with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. As county executive, he said he would create a Conviction Integrity Unit to reduce wrongful convictions. Fawcett has also pledged to reduce gun violence and advocate for affordable housing near public transportation. Fawcett developed a program to get pregnant inmates access to care and said he wanted to bring in outside analysis to innovate the way it is being run, Fawcett said in public debate.


“We can be an innovation hub here, we can capitalize on our robotics institute,” Fawcett said in public debate.


Democratic State Rep. Sara Innamarato has made job creation a central tenet of her run with the “Made Clean in America Manufacturing Jobs plan” to create environmentally sustainable employment in the area. Innamarato serves on several committees and is Vice-Chair of the Allegheny County Delegation, as a member of the House finance, labor and industry, transportation, and urban affairs committees, and on the boards of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Allegheny County Housing Authority. Innamarato plans to replace the leadership at the Allegheny County Jail in response to a recent spate of inmate deaths, she said in public debate.


“When you have a budget of $3 billion you have such an opportunity to tackle some of our region's greatest challenges and the people who have been left behind for far too long,” Innamarato said in a public debate hosted by Public Source.


Democrat Michael Lamb currently serves as City Controller. Lamb made Open Book Pittsburgh, a website residents can use to look up city contracts, campaign contributions and expenses for candidates running for office in the City of Pittsburgh. Lamb was a founding co-chair of A Plus Schools, the community alliance for Pittsburgh Public Education. Lamb is on the board of the Kane Foundation, the Catholic Youth Association, Downtown Pittsburgh YMCA, and the 3 Rivers Wet Weather Demonstration Project. Lamb created the Allegheny County Achievers Program, which enables high school students to go to Allegheny Community College. Lamb is committed to replacing the leadership at the county jail, addressing the issue within the first 100 days of his administration, he said in public debate.


“My idea is to create an office of municipal partnership,” Lamb said in public debate.


Democrat William Parker is the CEO of VendSpin which is a mobile delivery app that he founded. According to his website, his plan is to focus on business, equality, equity, education and investments. Parker has also run for Mayor and Congress.


“I see the future of Allegheny County as an inclusive one,” Parker said in public debate.


Democrat John Weinstein has been County Tax Collector since 1999, and he is also President of the Retirement Board of Allegheny County. Weinstein implemented e-tax billing for Real Estate and other e-pay initiatives for real estate, alcohol, rental vehicle taxes, and dog licenses in Allegheny County. “Treasurer Weinstein is committed to helping transform Allegheny County into a truly ‘Green’ government,” according to his biography on the county website. Weinstein has assembled a truly impressive war chest, many union endorsements and is considered the frontrunner. In a public debate, Weinstein said in order to address the problems at the Allegheny County Jail, he would separate the duties of the warden from those of a director he would hire.

“We need to make Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania safe. That’s my priority,” Weinstein said in a public debate.


Joseph E. Rockey is running on the Republican ticket in the primary. Rocky grew up on the Northside and is a retired PNC Chief Risk Officer. Rockey said via Twitter he wants to explore greater energy exploration and economic development for the region. Rockey has said he is a centrist and that he could be a unifying force. Rockey said he would personally go to 100 businesses in the region, selling the benefits of the area. Rockey would address the issues at the Allegheny County jail at an individual level, he said during a public debate.


“The number one job is to create prosperity for everyone,” Rockey said in public debate.

George Karpacs is also running as a Republican.


Olivia Bennett withdrew from the race.


Theresa Sciulli Colaizzi is running as a Democrat. She is a former Pittsburgh Public Schools board member who served for 12 years in that role.


“The vision I have is that this county comes closer and closer as a unit so we can move forward,” Colaizzi said in a public debate hosted by Public Source.


District Attorney

Democrat Matt Dugan has been a public defender for 16 years and is running on a criminal justice reform platform. Dugan pledges to divert low-level, non-violent criminal offenders out of the criminal justice system. Instead, he want to alleviate underlying causes of crime, like drug addiction, mental health disorders, and a lack of housing and income. Dugan says he wants to connect these offenders to services to actively reduce recidivism rates. Dugan advocates for victim services, prosecutor training, open discovery and is against cash bail.


“Pretrial detention decisions should be guided by individualized assessments of defendants, their history of appearing in court, and the risk they pose to the community,” Dugan said via his website.

Democrat Steven Zappalla has been District Attorney since 1998, prior to which he was solicitor for Allegheny County. The District Attorney’s Office has recently sponsored technology called “Project Lifesaver,” where residents experiencing cognitive disorders who have a penchant for walking off can voluntarily be cuffed and tracked. The national program started in 1998 in Chesapeake, Virginia. Zapalla has also implemented prosecution of possession of “glock switches,” pieces of metal or plastic that can modify a gun to make it more dangerous, according to his website.


County Controller

Democrat Darwin Leuba has been auditor of O’Hara Township since 2017. Leuba has made taxation of UPMC a priority, along with prison management and processes to improve air quality. He wants “to require greater transparency in contract compliance.”


“He is the only County Controller candidate refusing campaign donations from UPMC, Highmark, and/or corporate PACs. A second-generation Taiwanese American, he graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School before earning a degree in Computer Science at Yale,” Leuba said via his website.


Democrat Incumbent Corey O’Connor sits on the Allegheny County Retirement Board, Investment, Jail Oversight Board, and Juvenile Detention Board of Advisors. According to his website he “was twice honored as Squirrel Hill Little League Baseball Coach of the Year and was the youngest varsity sports coach in WPIAL history. He coached the Central Catholic High School Golf Team for 17 years, and also served on several local boards and commissions, including the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.” He has been endorsed by Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, Pittsburgh City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith and State Rep. Anita Kulik, among others.


County Treasurer

There is no incumbent in this race, as John Weinstein has left the position to run for County Executive.


Democrat Erica Rocchi Brusselars said she has extensive professional experience as an actuary specializing in pensions at the global firm which is now Willis Towers Watson, for 14 years via her website. The Carnegie Mellon graduate lives on the Northside and was a middle-school math teacher. Brusselars has volunteered with the Abolitionist Law Center, leading their volunteer remote court watch program in Pittsburgh.


The candidate is on the executive committee of the Pittsburgh Democrats and in recent years she has volunteered with local Democratic campaigns. According to her website, she wants to bring “greater efficiency and organizational excellence” to the office.


Anthony Coghill is running on the Democratic ticket. He owns a roofing and general contracting company that has never gone into debt, according to his website. The District 4 Pittsburgh City Council member wants to lead with transparency and a dedication to modernization.


JUDICIAL RACES


Commonwealth Court Justice

Megan Martin has 30 years of legal experience and served in three branches of state government and the Navy. Martin has been endorsed by the Republican Party Of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, Pennsylvania State Troopers Fraternal Order Of Police, Lodge #41, and the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Martin is recommended by the Judicial Evaluation Commission.


“Megan will not legislate from the bench, and instead, will apply the law as it was written by the General Assembly. She will ensure that, just like people, our government follows the law, too,” Martin stated on her website.


Bryan Neft has a 30-year career in law, lives in Squirrel Hill and has served for nearly 15 years in a leadership role on the Allegheny County Bar Association's Board of Governors.


“(As president) I championed issues affecting women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members of the legal profession. During my tenure on the board, we promoted changes to the rules of professional conduct to prohibit bias, and I chaired the committee responsible for drafting the ACBA's Code of Professionalism for the Bar Association, which is still in use today,” Neft said via his website. Neft was appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and chaired its charitable arm, the IOLTA Board, which helps provide legal services to people who cannot afford them.


Josh Prince has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC, Gun Owners of America PAC, the Lycoming County and Berks County Republican Committees and the Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association, among several other sheriff’s associations. He has been practicing law since 2009 and began his own law firm in 2016. Prince was not recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

“The judiciary is the citizens’ last line of defense for their liberty and their rights to be upheld and vindicated. It is through that prism that I will apply the law as written and the Constitution as designed,” Prince said via his website.


Matt Wolf has been practicing law for more than 20 years and has served in the Philadelphia Municipal Court since 2018. Wolf has been recommended by the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar, he has been endorsed by several Democratic organizations including the LGBTQ Democratic Club and the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee according to his website. Wolf is an active reservist and in the past won a Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon among other military awards. He has championed reform to prevent evictions which has become a national model.


Common Pleas Judge

Anthony DeLuca has been practicing law for 25 years and has been highly recommended by the Allegheny County Bar Association. He’s been endorsed by the Allegheny-Fayette Labor Council, Pittsburgh Firefighters and the Teamsters Joint Council, according to his website. DeLuca helped develop the Allegheny County Mental Health Court. Deluca said he is dedicated to helping people with mental health issues and as a labor attorney spent part of his career “fighting for better wages, healthcare, paid time off and better working conditions.”


Patrick A. Sweeney has been a public defender for 25 years. He’s been endorsed by the Allegheny Democratic Party, the Stonewall Democrats and the United Steelworkers, among others. Sweeney advocates for paying jurors a “living wage,” increase home detention for parole violations and he wants to put more people into diversionary courts to offer them a chance at rehabilitation rather than prison. Sweeney is a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association and comes recommended by them. He serves on the Council of the Criminal Practice section, and is active with the St. Vincent DePaul Society, a Catholic organization which helps connect the poor with resources.

Andy Szefi served as the Allegheny County Solicitor for a decade and was Chief Legal Officer of Allegheny County and the director of the County Law Department.


Szefi initiated litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors, implemented the County’s mail-in voting procedures “which have become a model throughout Pennsylvania,” and negotiated an agreement to power all county facilities by hydroelectric power, according to his website.


Szefi has held the “highest possible judicial rating from his peers in the Allegheny County Bar Association since 2017.”


Superior Court Judge

Republican Maria Battista has more than 15 years of legal experience in civil, criminal, and administrative law and is a former Assistant District Attorney, according to her website. She has been a contract specialist with the Department of Defense. When she worked as a Commonwealth attorney, Battista counseled in the Departments of Health and State, according to the Pennsylvania GOP. Battista is highly active in and has been endorsed by the Republican party, according to her official campaign Facebook page.


Democrat and Squirrel Hill resident Jill Beck has been practicing for more than 15 years and is a George Washington University graduate who obtained her law degree at Duquesne, according to the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. Beck is highly rated by the Pennsylvania Bar. She began her career with KidsVoice as an advocate for abused, neglected and “at risk” children. Beck is active in several charities that benefit kids including “Sue’s Run4kids,” which, according to the Delaware County Democratic Committee is a “charity event she founded with her father to honor the life of her mother and to raise money for Pennsylvania teens in the foster care system.”


Democrat Pat Dugan has been a municipal judge for 15 years on the Municipal Bench in Philadelphia, and he was elected President Judge in 2019, according to his website Dugan is a U.S. Army and Army Reserve civil affairs soldier, and Jag Officer who used the GI Bill to attend law school at Rutgers University. Dugan founded Philadelphia’s Veterans Court, in 2010 and those who’ve been before his bench there have a recidivism rate of less than 10%, according to his website. In 2018, The Philadelphia Bar Association honored Judge Dugan’s Veterans Court Team with the Henry Czajkowski Award for excellence in 2018, according to the Special Court Judges Association of Pennsylvania. Dugan was not recommended by the Pennsylvania bar for failure to participate.


Democrat Timika Lane is from West Philadelphia, born and raised. The former social studies teacher earned her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers-Camden School of Law in New Jersey in 2002, according to her website. She practiced family law in the court of common pleas and was a child advocate. Lane was the Chief Legal Counsel for State Senator Office, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania State Senate State Government Committee, assigned to the Complex Litigation jury trial program in the Civil Division and also Major Trials program in the Criminal Division, Chair for the Board of City Trust Judicial Committee, Co-Chair of the Local Criminal Rules Committee and a member of the Communication and Community Affairs, Civil Rules, Jury, FYI and Women Judges Initiative committees. She was also appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed to the County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee of which she is co-chair, according to her website. Lane comes “highly recommended” by the Philadelphia bar and was endorsed by the Democratic Party.


Republican Harry F. Smail Jr. is endorsed by the Republican Party and comes “recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Smail has Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas judge since 2014. Prior to his service on the bench, the candidate was a sole practitioner in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.


Supreme Court Justice

Republican Carolyn T. Carluccio comes highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar. Carluccio has been a Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas judge since 2009 and was elected a President Judge by her peers in 2022, according to the bar. She has been an assistant to the United States attorney in the District of Delaware and chief public defender in Montgomery County, chief deputy solicitor and acting director of human resources in Montgomery County.


Democrat Debbie Kunselman has 17 years of experience on the bench and is pro-choice, according to her website. She graduated from Penn State University and then went on to graduate Cum Laude from Notre Dame Law School according to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania and is a member of the American, Pennsylvania and Beaver County Bar associations. Kunselman also stood on the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, Education Committee. Kunselman comes “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar.


Democrat Daniel McCaffery comes highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar. He has been an assistant district attorney of Philadelphia from 1991 to 1996, was employed from 1997 to 2000 as an associate and from 2001 to 2013 as a partner in a law firm. He served as a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas between 2014 and 2019. Since 2020 he has served as a Superior Court of Pennsylvania judge, according to the bar. McCaffery was on active duty with the U.S. Army for two years followed by a four-year commitment in the Army Reserve.


Republican Patricia McCullough was elected a judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in 2009. Prior to that, she was executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Pittsburgh, a judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, a chair of the Allegheny County Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review, and adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar associations, board member with Pittsburgh Leadership and a volunteer with the Women’s “HOPE” program at the Allegheny County Jail, according to the Unified Judicial Court System of Pennsylvania. McCullough has been endorsed by former Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Mastriano, and PA Pro-Life Federation. McCullough identifies herself on her website as a “courageous, strict Constitutionalist judge who will apply the law as written.”


Magisterial District Judge

Incumbent Bruce Boni is running unopposed for District Court 05-3-06 (McKees Rocks). Boni has been endorsed by the Democratic Party, but will appear on the Democratic and Republican ticket.


Incumbent Carla Swearingen-Batch is running unopposed District Court 05-2-43 (Robinson). She will be on the Democratic and Republican ticket.

















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