Appreciation and Congratulations


I want to express my deep gratitude to the dozens of bi-partisan volunteers who so generously lent their time to my campaign for Erie County Council. Whether you helped by going door to door in District 2 neighborhoods, making phone calls, handing out literature at the polls, or in some other behind-the-scenes capacity, your support, energy, dedication and encouragement is greatly appreciated.

I also want to thank the hundreds of Democratic, Republican and Independent voters who supported me at the polls yesterday. This election is over, but my optimism and commitment to the future of Greater Erie stands strong. I began this race back in February because I believe in Erie and its great, untapped potential. Running for office has given me an even deeper understanding of the wide-ranging problems facing our region, and I am more determined than ever to continue to find innovative ways to help make Erie a better place.

Lastly, I would like to offer my congratulations and best wishes to Andre Horton. I wish you much success in the years ahead.

Lisa Austin


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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.

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Vote for the person, not the party


If you live in District 2, write-in Lisa Austin for County Council.

~Lisa Gensheimer
North East, PA
Erie Times News

We have an opportunity on November 5 to rise above politics and choose candidates who will lead our region out of the doldrums and into a bright and promising future. My hope is that residents will do their homework and vote for the individuals who have the skills, proven track record, and visionary leadership to do the hard work that is necessary, without regard for race, gender, sexual orientation or political party affiliation.

While it’s true we need more women in leadership, more people of color in government, and more citizens of diverse views on councils and commissions, we will never be free of our prejudices until we vote for the *person* and not the label we feel most comfortable with.
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Evans, Austin Gain Endorsements

Endorsement season continues.

John F. Evans, the Republican candidate for Erie City Council,  has been endorsed by the Erie firefighters union and the Erie Fraternal Order of Police in Tuesday’s municipal election. Evans is one of five candidates seeking a seat on council.

John Evans/ETN photo

John Evans/ETN photo

The others are incumbents Dave Brennan, Curtis Jones Jr., and Jim Winarski, plus Erie City Controller Casimir J. Kwitowski.

Six Democratic colleagues on council appointed Evans to replace Joe Schember after he resigned in 2012.

“I am extremely gratified to be endorsed by the city’s two public safety unions,” Evans said in a statement. “These men and women do an excellent job of protecting all those who live, work and visit our city and it is important that we continue to support their efforts.”

Meanwhile, Lisa Austin, the write-in Democratic candidate for Erie County Council’s 2nd District, has gained the endorsement of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. APSCUF represents 6,000 professors and coaches at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities, including Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Lisa Austin/ETN file photo

Lisa Austin/ETN file photo

Austin is a tenured sculpture professor at Edinboro.

She is running against Democratic nominee Andre Horton and Republican nominee Ned Smith.

– John Guerriero

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Write In Lisa Austin for County Council


Filmed in the Civitas office in the Masonic Temple, this video features Lisa Austin explaining her vision for Erie County, Pennsylvania. Lisa says that “We still make things here…” and proposes to utilize the region’s manufacturing base to develop a sustainable, thriving economy.  Lisa will work on council to initiate and support bold projects such as the Innovation Erie competition which has helped four new businesses form in Erie County in just four years.  Austin is the only District 2 candidate who has led the creation of regional groups that promote transit, preservation and economic development.


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7.3% Unemployment Rate


Jim Martin reports that our county’s unemployment rate has fallen “one-tenth of a percentage point” to 7.3%. As a comparison he notes the rate was 4.6% six years ago. We can do better; we have to do better.

Erie’s economic outlook gloomy in short term

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Guest Voice of Lisa Austin: What I will bring to Erie County Council


GoERIE PUBLISHED: MAY 15, 2013 12:01 AM EST UPDATED: MAY 14, 2013 2:42 PM EST

BY LISA AUSTIN Contributing writer

I need your help to help greater Erie. I am running for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd District seat on Erie County Council.

I have a successful record of collaborative and creative problem-solving. Let me share with you a little of my record and my hopes for Erie County.

-Safe neighborhoods: For several years, I led my local neighborhood watch while working with law enforcement, code enforcement and on such issues as litter, blighted homes, crime and fostering community. If elected to County Council, I would continue work with the Neighborhood Watch Council to expand its membership via a social media presence, which would permit young parents and busy professionals to build neighborhood communities online.

-New jobs: I co-founded Innovation Erie, a regional product-design competition for “new ideas” that has incrementally increased Erie County manufacturing. Since its inception, we have gathered together engineers, attorneys and marketers and, in four years, jump-started four new businesses with the help of local manufacturers, the Erie Technology Incubator and the Startup business incubator affiliated with Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It’s time to bring jobs back to Erie.-

Improved transit: I co-founded All Aboard Erie, a regional transportation group, and have brought in experts to educate and advise planners and the general public about the economic, land use and health benefits of improving bike, bus and rail options. I am working with Julie Minich, the director of All Aboard Erie’s bus division, on a proposal for future bus routes that would link all the universities in the region. This kind of physical connection has the potential to reduce costs while supporting a higher-education consortium, further benefiting Erie County. If elected, I’ll also work to provide secure parking for Amtrak riders. Right now the only way to get to the train is on foot, by cab or by having a friend drop you off at the station.

- Preservation: I co-founded Preservation Erie, because I believe reuse of buildings (instead of tearing them down) makes economic development sense. Why? First, the inherent energy used to create the materials and construct the buildings is wasted when the structure is demolished and becomes landfill. Second, each historic site — no matter how modest — contributes to a neighborhood’s sense of place, which has a measurable economic value. Third, and most directly impacting local pocketbooks, is the fact that hiring our local masons, electricians, metalworkers, painters and others to undertake renovations supports good-paying jobs. Because of Civitas, which I also co-founded, and Preservation Erie, three local landmarks — Roosevelt Middle School, the Edinboro Boiler House and the Villa Chapel — are still standing today.

- Regional planning: Preservation Erie and Civitas recently hosted architect Charles D. Warren to review the 1913 John Nolen plan for greater Erie and to meet with local Erie leaders to further discuss which of Nolen’s ideas are worth reconsidering today. Civitas is conducting a yearlong public study of the Nolen plan with the intention of publishing the results in 2014. If elected, I would work to advocate for those ideas that would benefit greater Erie.

- Land use: By serving on the Lake Erie Region Conservancy board and the city of Erie Zoning Hearing Board, I have had an education in rural, suburban and urban land use. When I first arrived at the Zoning Hearing Board, meeting agendas and minutes were difficult to locate and the meetings were rather perfunctory; most requests were approved quickly. Today, after my advocacy, the agenda and minutes are online. Meetings involve more thoughtful questioning of the property owner and neighbors before decisions are rendered. I applaud efforts such as Destination Erie, Erie Vital Signs and Erie Together, which are essential both to educating the public about the need for planning and to obtaining buy-in and suggestions from the community to facilitate needed change.

I am an enthusiastic Erie ambassador but I know our regional potential has not yet been realized. We need to embrace our diverse communities (the poor, our senior citizens, our youth, our vital immigrant population, our differently abled folks, our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, our creative artists of all types, our college students, our varied religious and faith communities, and many skilled workers). We must take stock of our institutional assets and support and promote them: medical centers, cultural institutions, colleges and universities and manufacturers. We must preserve and enhance our physical environment: water, open land and historic architecture. This election could be a game-changer for Erie County. If I’m elected, I will use my skills and contacts to foster the kind of collective optimism and pride that led to the creation of John Nolen’s 1913 plan for greater Erie. Therefore, I am asking for your vote on for County Council District 2.

LISA AUSTIN lives in Erie. She is running against incumbent Joe Giles and challengers Andre Horton, David Pamula and Renee Vendetti for the Democratic nomination for Erie County Council’s 2nd District seat.

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Pencil visits beautiful Presque Isle

It is not too soon to learn how to spell - LISA AUSTIN.

It is not too soon to learn how to spell – LISA AUSTIN.

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Cardboard Regatta Event: Ten float on water; hundreds observe from shore while “Write-in” pencil tours the bayfront docks.

JFK Nato's boat completes the course!

JFK Nato’s boat completes the course!

Young folks love the "Write-in Lisa Austin" pencil.

Young folks love the “Write-in Lisa Austin” pencil.


Matt and candidate Lisa with the "Write-in" pencil during a lull in the Cardboard Regatta race.

Matt and candidate Lisa with the “Write-in” pencil during a lull in the Cardboard Regatta race.



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Erie Citizens for Lisa Austin


In this short video, hear from residents of District 2 who are are planning to Write-in Lisa Austin for Erie County Council on November 5th.  Austin is known for her collaborative leadership and track record of “getting things done.”

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