Why electing Horton or Smith will mean more of the same for Erie
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from my opponents on various issues, and it’s clear that with either of them in office, it will just be more of the same.
Let’s look at Andre Horton’s vision for Erie: adding a 13th year onto high school. This is a prime example of how Mr. Horton is misinformed. Some of Erie’s high schools have the highest dropout rates in the state; East High School, for example, has nearly a 16 percent dropout rate, and Strong Vincent’s dropout rate tops 11 percent. If we can’t get our kids to complete the 12 years they are already supposed to, what makes Mr. Horton think they will stay in school yet another year? Moreover, Mr. Horton fails to realize the solution lies at the other end of the education spectrum: pre-k. Noted economists, including those from Erie’s Sam and Irene Black School of Business, advocate for investing in pre-k programs. High-quality early childhood education programs not only benefit individual children, they have proven to result in in reduced costs for special education, social services, crime, and many other benefits that improve the overall local economy. While my Republican opponent, Ned Smith, is a strong advocate for education, he has noted that it’s not County Council’s role to direct our region’s education programs.
Though his assertion is correct, I believe that County Council should use its regional leadership potential to work with school districts on this issue. If we don’t start looking outside the box for answers, nothing will change and Erie will continue in its decline.
I don’t claim to have all the solutions, but I do know that we need bold, new leadership to turn this region around. Over the past decade, I have worked as a volunteer to bring about needed improvements to Erie County. As a member of County Council, I will be able to affect even more change. If elected, I will work collaboratively with residents, existing organizations and leaders to address the many issues affecting our area: jobs; poverty; crime; transportation; preservation; land use and zoning; transparency in government; diversity and inclusion; affordable education for students of all ages (pre-k through college); investing in technology; supporting entrepreneurs; the inland port project; the 911 center; Pleasant Ridge; and developing the GAF site.
What can I offer that my opponents can’t? Effective, collaborative leadership experience — and innovative ideas for turning around the Erie region. While my name will not appear on the ballot, I hope that you will join the many Democrats, Republicans and Independents who will be writing in my name, Lisa Austin, for Erie County Council, on November 5. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the 280,000-plus residents living in Erie County.
The most qualified and visionary candidate for Erie County Council 2nd District will not be on the ballot. Lisa Austin lost the May primary to Andre Horton by 10 votes.
Austin was told of the slim chance write-in candidates face, but she understood the risk and kept her eye on the reward — a chance to truly make a difference in county government.
Voters can write in a promising future based on Austin’s well-documented qualifications and vision for Erie and Erie County. It will take a little more work to write in Austin, but I guarantee you that she will work harder for us.
Democrat Lisa Austin is running a write-in campaign for Erie County Council, District 2 in the November 5, 2013 general election. After losing the Democratic nomination in the May 2013 primary by ten votes — less than one-third of one percent — Austin’s supporters urged her to continue in the race. An innovative, experienced leader, she is the only candidate with the vision to help turn the Erie region around.
How to write in Lisa Infographic (click image for larger view)
Why I am running for 2nd District seat
Erie Times News
If you live in Erie, like me, you’re probably concerned about the unacceptably high level of poverty and the future of our region. Maybe you’re a student wondering if you’ll ever find a job after you graduate. Maybe you’ve been laid off and are wondering if you’ll have to move to find employment. Or perhaps you are working out of state and hoping that the economy improves so you can move back home.
Erie is at a critical juncture, and that’s why our upcoming election — and the County Council 2nd District race — are so important.
Whoever is elected on Nov. 5 will be one of seven council members making decisions for the roughly 280,000 people living in Erie County through 2018. I encourage you to get involved in this election. Though only folks living in the 2nd District — which begins in Lawrence Park and stretches west across the heart of downtown to Millcreek — can vote in the 2nd District race, anyone can help the candidate he or she thinks is best.
I hope you’ll support me because I’m the only 2nd District candidate with a record of effective, consistent and collaborative leadership. My public service ranges from serving on the Erie Zoning Hearing Board — to which I was appointed by Councilwoman Jessica Horan-Kunco — to co-founding three nonprofits that have helped improve the region’s economy. The first, Innovation Erie, provides legal advice, manufacturing and marketing assistance, and funding to help individuals start new businesses. Because of Innovation Erie, four new businesses have formed in Erie County over the past four years, and each of these small businesses now utilizes other local businesses in their manufacturing and day-to-day operations.
Preservation Erie, a volunteer group I co-founded in 2007, promotes the reuse of historic structures. Some may question the importance of preservation, but whenever a building is preserved, money is infused into the local economy. Local architects, masons, plumbers, electricians, woodworkers, painters and other craftspeople become vital parts of our workforce. Preservation also keeps Erie’s history intact, making it a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
The third group I helped to start, All Aboard Erie, is actively involved in advocating bus and rail transportation. Better regional transit allows workers and students to commute to jobs, training and school. Connecting people and communities through well planned infrastructure is essential to our region’s quality of life and economic viability.
If elected, I hope to work directly with residents, existing organizations and leaders to address other important regional issues such as poverty; crime; transparency in government; diversity and inclusion; affordable education for students of all ages (pre-k through college); investing in technology; supporting entrepreneurs; the inland port project; the 911 center; Pleasant Ridge; and developing the GAF site.
In the May primary, six candidates sought this Erie County Council seat. You may be wondering why, after losing the Democratic nomination by 10 votes, I am still in the race as a Democratic write-in candidate.
I am still running because many people urged me to stay in the race. They believe that I am the only candidate in the 2nd District with the ability to really help to turn Erie County around. They know that because I started my education at a community college and ended up with a graduate degree from Yale University, I understand the need for affordable training and education. They know that through the many jobs I have held — as a grocery store bagger, cook, waitress, bartender, nursing home assistant, parking lot attendant, high school teacher and, for the past 17 years, a professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania — I have gained a true appreciation for the dignity of labor and the power of educational opportunity. They know that I believe in Erie, and that I am dedicated to making it a better place.
My neighbors, many of whom are knocking on doors in this election, have seen me develop as a community leader through my service to my neighborhood watch, the St. Andrew Catholic Church pastoral council, the Save the Villa Chapel Committee and numerous other groups with which I’ve been involved. They believe I will do a good job representing all residents of the 2nd District. Though I am a Democrat, they know that I’m willing to work with anyone regardless of their political affiliation. In fact, Democrats, Republicans and Independents are working together on this campaign because they know that, if elected to County Council, I will offer bold, new leadership to help greater Erie embrace its unrealized potential.
LISA AUSTIN, of Erie, a Democrat, is running as a write-in candidate for Erie County Council’s 2nd District seat. Andre Horton is the Democratic nominee. Ned Smith is the Republican nominee.