When OurMonaca.com was created two years, it was done so with the intention to better the Borough of Monaca. Through it we have not only informed the residents of Monaca about various events and news, but also helped make a positive impact by organizing such events as the Our Monaca Day of Service. While this has made a positive impact, that impact is small compared to what your elected officials can do. On Tuesday, May 16th, residents will go to the polls and make the largest impact on their town; by voting for their councilpersons.
It is important to note that the election on Tuesday is a primary election. In all of the Council races there are no Republicans on the ballot. When Democrats go to the polls we are asking them to vote for the following candidates. Likewise, due to no candidates on the Republican Ballot, we are asking that Republicans to please write in the respective candidate in your ward. If you are not sure of which ward you are in, you can find out here.
In this year’s primary there are a variety of candidates running in each ward, but as the following endorsements will illustrate, there are five individuals that will best “Move Monaca Forward”.
1st Ward – Justin LaPearle
The 1st Ward Council race features retired plumber and former councilman Tom Suica and newcomer Justin LaPearle. As a new parent to his son with Christie Taormina-LaPearle, Justin wants to do anything that he can to improve the local community for his son to grow up in. As a small business owner of Performance PC, Justin has a unique insight into not only fiscal responsibility, but also what can be done to improve and grow the downtown business district.
As a councilman, Justin hopes to improve the downtown streetscape, create an environment that fosters a desire for young families to move to Monaca, and facilitate general economic improvements to Monaca.
Justin went to to say, “I think we have a huge opportunity in front of us with all the local influx of business and investment because of the Shell plant and we need to capitalize and really make Monaca a great American town again.”
It is reasons such as this that Justin LaPearle is the clear choice for the 1st Ward.
Challenger Tom Suica was not available for comment, but residents who want to move Monaca forward should avoid voting for Tom Suica at all costs. This is an individual that has had toilets on top of this garage for years, has made international news due to his antics, and made clear his personal views of downtown business Sakura by placing signs in his yard that read “Remember Pearl Harbor”. A vote for Tom Suica is a vote to step backwards.
1st ward residents vote at the Monacatootha Apartments at 105 4th Street.
2nd Ward – James Blanarik
2nd Ward residents have a choice this primary between sitting councilwoman Brandy Rossi-Tesnovich and retired school teacher Jim Blanarik. While both candidates can and would make positive impacts to the Borough of Monaca, we are recommending James Blanarik for the 2nd ward for the following reasons.
As a teacher for 39 years, Blanarik has had ample experience in working with individuals. As he put it, over those years “dealing with kids, I feel I have the patience needed to deal with others.” As a retiree, Blanarik feels that he has the time needed to commit to this position and as such, be able to give back to his community. As a member of council, Blanarik hopes to rejuvenate the borough, assist residents with their concerns such as those presently experienced by residents in the second ward with waste hauling, and in general make himself available to residents.
As a result of Blanarik’s contributions to not only the Monaca and Central Valley school districts, but also the community, he was inducted into the Monaca Hall of Fame in 2015.
Finally, Blanarik has an outstanding view on how government should function, ” I still believe that governments should be ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’ We learned this in 7th grade civics and too often the politicians running government, whether in a local level or all the way up to the national level, have forgotten this! As public officials we have the obligation and responsibility to be accountable to the people we serve. I will be this person.”
The years of experience and involvement that James Blanarik has given illustrates exactly why residents of the 2nd Ward should vote for him this Tuesday if they want to continue to see a more prosperous Monaca.
Ms. Ross-Tesnovich did not return a request for comment.
Voters in the second ward vote at the CJ Mangin School at 998 Indiana Ave.
3rd Ward – Chad McGown
Mr. McGown is the only candidate featured in the 3rd ward race. McGown presently represents the 3rd Ward and is seeking re-election with the hopes of improving community involvement, bringing back that hometown neighborly feel, and creating more activities revolving around the youth of Monaca.
Chad hopes to bring back the hometown feel that so many residents remember by focusing on bringing back businesses and activities that cater to the demographics of the residents of Monaca. As a member of the Monaca Recreation Board, McGown is already creating activities that cater to the youth of Monaca.
McGown is excited with the prospects of the Shell Cracker plant and feels that it is an exciting time that will lead to opportunities, transformations, and a rejuvenation of Monaca that he hopes to be a part of.
He felt it was important for voters to know, “I do not get swayed by the politics involved in most local governments. I am a citizen before I am a councilman, if I do not feel that a vote will benefit the betterment of Monaca and my fellow citizens I will not vote in favor of it.” It is independent thinking and community involvement such as this that displays exactly how Chad McGown will continue to better Monaca.
Residents in the 3rd Ward vote at Monaca Station 57 at 913 Taylor Ave, where McGown is also a volunteer firefighter.
4th Ward – Jerrod Rebich
As a result of Councilman Zigarelli moving to Center, a vacancy has opened up in the 4th ward and results in the ballot being empty. With this in mind we are strongly recommending that residents write in Jerrod Rebich for that position.
As a fourth generation resident, Rebich draws his dedication and commitment to the community from his Grandparents Theo and Guy Polce, Mother Cindy Rebrich, and his Aunts and Uncles such as Paul Polce, Judy Scassa, and David Scassa. He has seen that they have dedicated their lives to making Monaca the great town that it is and hopes to emulate all that they have done.
As a councilman, Jerrod hopes to provide transparency to resident by informing that on any changes that are planning to occur not only in the 4th Ward, but also in all of Monaca, collaborating with local business owners to bring more traffic to their establishments, and collaborating with local emergency services to make sure their equipment is up to date and maintaining the safety in Monaca.
Jerrod displays exemplary character as a middle school learning support teacher for New Brighton, a head soccer coach, and a Special Olympics coach. Furthermore, Rebich has displayed that he is truly invested in this community and wants Monaca to be the best possible town it can be to raise his two children with his wife Danielle. In the short time that Rebich has been campaigning, he has listened to residents’ concerns and has offered his email address to them for an open line of communication. It is the level of involvement and investment that will lead Monaca forward.
New for this year’s election, voters in the 4th Ward will vote at Monacrest Free Methodist Church at 995 Elimira St.
5th Ward – Jeffrey Michel
Current Councilman Jeffrey Michel was contemplating running for Mayor back when petitions to run were due. He then changed his mind, and as a result, this positions on the ballot will be empty. We are recommending that 5th Ward Residents Write In Jeffrey Michel for 5th Ward Council.
As a former borough employee, Michel has experience working in all three departments, and as such, working knowledge of Monaca’s infrastructure. In the past three years as a Councilman, Jeff’s knowledge has been called upon numerous times when making various decisions affecting water, sewage, and roads.
Due to this experience Michel’s priorities include restoration of the water plant and water distribution plant to improve the quality and clarity of Monaca’s drinking water, improvements to roads and catch basins, and finally the main street. Michel’s philosophy is as follows, “With the new streetscape coming, property owners on Pennsylvania Ave need to be held accountable to the codes in place. Many areas downtown look deplorable. We need to improve the appearance to attract quality businesses to our town.”
Michel has said that many of these priorities have plans that are already underway, but the borough must remain diligent in its efforts.
Finally, Michel wants residents to know that he truly stands by his motto of “Honest, Integrity, and Accountability”. It is a motto such as this that will continue to move Monaca in a positive direction.