Five candidates are vying for four open seats on the Laureldale Borough council this fall.
Four incumbents, Democrats Janet Hess, Bethany Pursell, Heather Sustello and Christopher Correll face off against a newcomer, Republican Andrea J. Harris
Borough council serve a four-year term.
We asked the candidates to respond to two questions:
Question 1: Why do you believe you are the right person for this position?
Question 2: What are the most important issues facing the school district right now, and how do you plan to address them?
Background: I am 36-years-old and I have lived in Laureldale Borough for over 10 years, growing up in Blandon and graduating from Fleetwood. I have two kids that are both in Muhlenberg School District and my fiancé and I also own a small business in Laureldale Borough. I am currently on Laureldale Borough Council since the beginning of 2020, serving as Chair on the Parks and Recreation Committee.
I appreciate your consideration for re-election.
Response 1: I believe I am the right person for re-election for Laureldale Borough Council as I have a lot to contribute to the borough as a 10+ year Laureldale Borough resident. My fiancé and I also own a small business in the Borough and I have two kids in the school district. I am able to contribute my ideas and knowledge as a resident, small business owner and a Mother. I have past experience with volunteering and putting together events for charities, which I have already put to use in planning and organizing our recent Laureldale Borough Fall Festival and Sundaes in the Park. I am also able to give ideas as a business owner in supporting the great local businesses in the Borough. I consider myself a good listener and problem solver as well.
Response 2: I don’t believe there are any issues facing Laureldale Borough at this time other than the evolving COVID pandemic, which is affecting everywhere. We must continue to be vigilant at this time and in the near future. I think it is important to support our residents and small businesses that have been affected by this pandemic and start helping one another more. We need to start coming together more as a community and meeting our neighbors, local businesses and police, while doing so safely.
Background: I grew up in Muhlenberg Township, Resident of Laureldale 40+ years, married, son, grandchildren. I graduated from Muhlenberg Township School District, Reading Area Community College, Kutztown University and Alvernia University.
I am a partially retired Registered nurse and teacher. I volunteer American Heart Association, Red Cross
I have worked with the committee in the planning and running of community events such as the Laureldale Fall Fest, Community Christmas Decorating Contest.
Response 1: I am willing and able to work for the people of Laureldale. I bring energy and willingness to work with the community to keep Laureldale strong and thriving for all residents as we emerge slowly from this pandemic.
I have been a council member for past 5 years and have been on Parks and Recreation Committee and Finance Committee. As a committee member I have worked with the annual budget and made a small yearly budget stretch for the running of the Fall Fest.
I have gotten to know many residents, organization members, and business owners in the community and have worked with them to promote all the good things that Laureldale has to offer, especially the 2 great parks in the Borough.
Response 2: The important issue facing all municipalities in the past 18 months and looking forward is how to responsibly use our monies in the best and most efficient way keep Laureldale safe, healthy, and welcoming community. I want us to spend reasonably knowing that services may become more costly in the future. I want to provide the things our residents and employees need while being a good steward with their monies and still allowing for growth.
There have been lots of changes in our community and I want everyone to feel welcome and to thrive here. We have increased our population a bit and have welcomed many new community members . I would like our residents to make their home here in Laureldale for a long time and be glad they made the decision to move here.
Background: I grew up in a blue-collar, Catholic family residing in Berks County. I have been a borough resident eight years and have served on borough council for six years.
I am the Director of Legal Affairs for local midsized telecom. I have 20 years of corporate/legal/government experience. I have a Bachelor Degree from DeSales University, Human Resource Certificate from Villanova University, SHRM Certified Professional and am a PA Notary Public.
Response 1: I take my professionalism, ethical choices, and service to the community very seriously. I’ve lived in the Borough for the last eight years, serving six of those years on Borough Council. In addition to working a full-time professional position, I am raising children here in the community. Local elected officials need to have the proper education, experience, knowledge, moral character, and commitment to transparency to serve residents. I bring all those essentials to the table, as well as the understanding that our Borough is a changing place that needs a proactive, people-first agenda. I am committed to continuing to provide selfless leadership to promote positive change for our residents.
Response 2: There are several important issues facing the Borough of Laureldale, right now, including finding a better balance between the recent agenda of ultra-fiscal conservativeness and public safety. Although we have been in a pandemic and tax revenue has been unknown due to various factors, the Borough is required to provide services to its citizens. Cuts or changes to police staffing should not be made to the detriment of our residents’ safety nor because of personnel mismanagement or personal agendas. I will continue to vote against any matter that puts our community’s safety at risk.
The second most important issue facing the Borough is the lack of engagement from our residents. Please attend monthly meetings, let us know your concerns, voice opinions and volunteer time to committees if you can. Lack of public engagement leads to public officials not being held accountable for their decisions. Citizen involvement, further eradicates unqualified individuals, taking office in the first place, mismanaging personnel and other valuable assets of the Borough. I will continue to lend a qualified voice to all matters and promote engagement from all our citizens.
Harris did not respond to the questionnaire.
Correll did not respond to the questionnaire.
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