Our Communities Can’t Wait: 2021 Campaign to Win

Our Communities Can’t Wait is a movement to win a government of, by, and for the people in Western PA.

No matter where we come from or how much money is in our wallets, we all work hard for our families. But, for our communities to be a place where everyone can thrive, we cannot let the richest 1% and the politicians they pay for exploit divisions among us based on what we look like, where we come from, or how much money we have. It’s time to stand up for each other and come together. Together, we can create a government where the people who work the hardest and bear the greatest burden the most are also the ones who write the laws.

We’re fighting for a new kind of politics in Western Pennsylvania. We know what isn’t working. We have a clear vision for a better future: by coming together to rewrite the rules and making the wealthiest few pay their fair share, we can ensure that everyone — Black, white and brown, native and newcomer — can earn a good living and have a good life; we can resource our schools so that every child can pursue their dreams; and we can provide families with the care we all need to get and stay well.

Elizabeth Hawkins

Elizabeth Hawkins

Economy Borough Council

I am running because in the past there has not been that much transparency, accountability, or accessibility from the board members. It is not uncommon for the borough to not update the meeting minutes for any given meeting, and since the pandemic started the council has moved away from doing the meetings in zoom where they can be seen and held accountable by those watching the meetings.

Jasmine Flores

Jasmine Flores

Erie City Council

My name is Jasmine Flores. I am running for Erie city council to represent the lower Eastside and minority women in our community. I have seen and deeply felt the impact of elected officials pushing their poorer residents out. Erie Community is under massive gentrification done at the expense of the lower Eastside. I am running for city council to fight for full time, livable wage job growth for our community. I will work to develop a renters/tenant union to protect renters against slum lords and unsafe living conditions since I am a renter in the city. I want to develop policies to protect residential communities that live in opportunity zones and prioritize the communities needs over developers needs.

Kendrick Tate

Kendrick Tate

Erie City Council

Hi, I’m Kendrick Tate! I’m running for City Council because I want to put our city on a clean and connected path of growth. Our environment plays an extremely important role in how we view our city, and our leadership is starting to take action to increase the quality of the air we breathe and the places we see. I want to continue the progress we’ve made in bettering the environment that has crowned us “The Mistake on the Lake.” City Council should foster the same pride that people get when seeing the Bayfront in all of our residents when seeing their neighborhoods. Our future will be the embrace and representation of each of our communities, East and West of State Street, and providing them the resources they need to see Erie as a caring and respectable home.
Dr. Leatra Tate

Dr. Leatra Tate

Erie School Board

My name is Dr. Leatra Tate and I am running as a candidate for Erie School Board. I am running to improve the quality of education for all students in Erie’s Public Schools by centering the needs of our community, educators, and school administrators from an equitable budgetary, support, and policy lens. I understand that the only way to progress is together; that requires meeting the unique social and educational needs of our students to increase their opportunities to thrive in our city and beyond.

Sara Deegan

Sara Deegan

Greensburg Salem School Board

My name is Sara Deegan, and I’m running for School Board because I believe access to equitable education can improve health and decrease poverty. Facts and data matter. Schools should evolve to meet student’s ever-changing needs to prepare them for the future, and build a longer table that welcomes people from all backgrounds. More organized communication would help those in the district feel part of the solution. I am committed and excited to do this work with the eight other board members.

Dana Barvinchak Williams

Dana Barvinchak Williams

Norwin School Board

I am Dana Barvinchak Williams and I’m running on a slate for Norwin School Board. I am a North Huntingdon native, a 1999 Norwin graduate, and have a 1st grader at Norwin. My focus is on inclusivity, I believe all students deserve a high-quality, well-rounded experience. Due to my background in mental health research, I would place a greater emphasis on eliminating the stigma of mental health in the community. I have a vested interest in the direction of Norwin, and I can’t wait to be your school board director.

Carrie McConnell Muñiz

Carrie McConnell Muñiz

Norwin School Board

I am Carrie McConnell Muñiz, and I’m running on a slate for Norwin School Board. I’m a Norwin ’92 graduate and have a long history here, my parents are Norwin ’65 grads, and my husband Julian and I are parents of five – three Norwin graduates in college and two currently at Norwin. My priorities are diversity, acceptance and inclusivity for all students. I want to ensure our community is a safe, accepting and positive place for the next generation. Our physical & mental health must be paramount in our schools.

Divine Lipscomb

Divine Lipscomb

State College Borough Council

I am running for a better State College. As a member of the 44% of state college residents living in poverty, it is important to have representation on council. This pandemic highlighted the economic disparities in-state college and the borough’s dependency of the university as a way of staying afloat. We need a stronger economy that will thrive even when Penn State closes. Finally, I am running as a member on a slate. Our plight for equitable Justice in all carceral, housing, and health matters.

Zakaria Sharif

Zakaria Sharif

Erie School Board

My name is Zakaria Sharif and I am running for Erie City School Board. Investing in our children’s education now means a vibrant future for Erie. To provide every child with the education they deserve, the Erie City School Board must have a vision, create structures to support that vision, and be accountable to the public. I want to serve the community that I have been a part of for twenty-two years. As a parent of four children and two enrolled in the Erie School district, my wife and I are actively involved in their education. We must advocate for our students at every opportunity.

Yukie King

Yukie King

Greensburg City Council

I’m Yukie (they/them), and I’m running on a slate for Greensburg City Council. We live in a society that forces people to be poor by threatening our homes, health, food, and schooling. Many people, frankly, hate the government because it doesn’t address their needs. Over 20% of Greensburg residents are currently in poverty, including my family. I want to make government work for us. That’s why I chose to run with this movement, to work with my community so that our needs are not only heard but acted upon.

Ceil Kessler

Ceil Kessler

Greensburg City Council

We need support for workers, for housing and human services, for transportation issues, for health issues like COVID, for environmental challenges, and for basic justice issues, and we’re better at everything when we do it together. I’m running on a slate for Greensburg City Council because I believe that I can help bring us together around important issues that matter to our families and our community. I believe we’re neighbors who care about each other, and who know that this city is better when we all succeed.
Tierra D. Williams

Tierra D. Williams

Ferguson Township Supervisor

I am running for Ferguson Township Supervisor for the future generations, and the advancement of State College. The events of 2020, like many of us, have made me ask the question, “What can I contribute to my community?“. There is a great deal that needs to be done between global pandemics, community relations, and police reform. I am determined to see that “Happy Valley” is indeed Happy For All.
Elspeth Kate Koehle

Elspeth Kate Koehle

Erie City Council

I decided to run for City Council because I have a progressive vision for our city. That vision relies on dismantling the club who want to do things the way they have always been done, and weeding out nepotism, cronyism, and big tax giveaways that don’t benefit residents. My personal platform is concentrated on anti-racism, equitable development, and safe, affordable housing. I look forward to enacting concrete policies to address these issues if I am elected.

Lauren Gillespie

Lauren Gillespie

Erie School Board

My name is Lauren Gillespie. I am running for Erie city school board to support students, families, teachers, and staff whose voices deserve to be heard. My background in education and finances will help steer balancing the budget and facilitating quality of education for our schools. Education is the foundation for success and our students deserve an education that works for them, not against them.

David Alford

David Alford

Rochester Borough Council

I have been a resident of Rochester for over 25 years and I have seen a lot of things change within that time period I also feel that this is the right time to get involved in local government. So I am running for City Council and these are a few of the reasons why, I want to strengthen the community by introducing incentives for businesses, increasing overall community safety, and helping create youth programs.

Richard Biever

Richard Biever

State College Borough Council

I’m running for borough council because the times demand progressive actions that benefit all residents of the borough, not just those who have steady jobs and comfortable housing. We have great economic disparities and unequal justice in Happy Valley and we can’t truly call it Happy until we address those issues.