Ron Madrid works in Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory as the Director of the Office of Military and Security Programs. To outsiders, it is in many ways an isolated post. Visitors must sign in and be granted special access before making their way to his second floor office. No cell phones, computers, or other technology with recording capability are permitted within its confines.
Yet despite his confidential research and cordoned surroundings, Madrid is running for mayor of State College, an undeniably public position. Madrid, a Republican, will be on the ballot against incumbent Mayor Elizabeth Goreham for the November 5 election.
Madrid is no stranger to public service. In fact, his entire career has been rooted in it. A graduate from the United States Naval Academy, Madrid served as an officer of the United States Marine Corps until 1994, when he retired as a lieutenant colonel. Shortly after, he came to State College and assumed various roles in its local government. Currently, Madrid is the President of the Holmes-Foster Neighborhood Association and a member of the Coalition of State College Neighborhood Associations.
“Ever since I’ve moved to State College 18 years ago, I’ve wanted to be involved in the community,” Madrid said in an interview with Onward State. “Moving around in the Marine Corps, I never get to be involved.”
Though many issues are prevalent in any political campaign, Madrid stressed a potential $2 million funding shortfall in the near future.
“This impacts quality of life for everyone, not only long term residents, but also students who live here as well,” Madrid said. “Without addressing the revenue, either drastic cuts have to be made, or dramatic tax increases [are necessary].”
Madrid, however, thinks he has the experience to overcome this foreseeable challenge.
“Because of my program experience, managing multi-million dollar programs, I have an appreciation of what a dollar is,” he said.
Madrid also noted that while he is “not ashamed to be Republican,” he doesn’t think politics should play a role in local elections. As such, he’s running his campaign “without a personal or political agenda.”
“I’m not a Republican running for mayor,” said Madrid. “I’m an 18-year-citizen running for the people.”
At any level of politics, serving as a completely nonpartisan leader is no easy task. Madrid thinks it’s possible, and referenced the late mayor of State College Bill Welch as an example.
“Mayor Welch was extremely liberal, but he didn’t let that get in the way of how he ran council meetings,” said Madrid. “He was very fair. He allowed everyone to speak.”
Madrid finds that current Mayor Goreham, also politically liberal, does not share this quality. “There’s a significant difference between how Mayor Welch conducted meetings and how our current mayor does,” he said.
At any rate, Madrid wishes to overcome partisan discord and address the pertinent issues at hand.
“I encourage everyone who resides in the borough to go out and vote,” he said.
Stay tuned later this week for a profile on incumbent Elizabeth Goreham.