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A Procrastinator’s Guide To The 2017 State College Municipal Election

Shout it from the rooftops: Election Day in Pennsylvania is Tuesday, November 7. Hey, yes, that’s tomorrow. Unless you’re a true procrastinator, in which case — that’s today!

If you’ve been “meaning to read up on the candidates” or “getting around to reading those letters to the editor” you’re in for a rude awakening when you head to the polls. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with a procrastinator’s guide to the State College municipal elections, thanks to this handy dandy guide we lovingly modeled after our yinzer friends over at The Incline.

State College Mayor

This one’s a doozy because it’s been a while since State College has had a highly contested mayoral election.

Don Hahn (D) | Website | OS Profile

Bio in 140 characters or less: Centre County native. PSU Poli Sci major. Attorney. Former Borough Council President. Focus on sustainability, diversity, state advocacy.

Three notable endorsements:

  • Mayor Elizabeth Goreham
  • Councilman Jesse Barlow
  • Councilwoman Janet Engeman


Michael Black (R) | Website | OS Profile | OS Endorsement

Bio in 140 characters or less: Dem on Rep ticket. 27-year resident. Business owner. Challenging the status quo. Focus on neighborhoods, business, building community.

Three notable endorsements:

  • Centre Daily Times
  • Leadership Centre County CEO Georgia Abbey
  • Onward State (hi)


Ron Madrid (I) | Website | OS Profile

Bio in 140 characters or less: Military background. 22-year resident. Holmes Foster President. Focus on efficient/effective Council meetings, articulating Borough issues.

Three notable endorsements:

  • State College Community Land Trust President Susan Venegoni
  • Holmes Foster Neighborhood Association Secretary Peggy Hartman & Treasurer Bill Hartman
  • Past College Heights Association President Donna Queeney

State College Borough Council

Since State College generally swings Democratic, it’s been said this race is decided in the primary. But it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings! You can read questionnaires from the candidates here with more details on their individual campaigns.

Evan Myers (D)

Bio in 140 characters or less: AccuWeather COO. Incumbent with ‘student-friendly’ voting record. Kids at Penn State. Focus on neighborhoods, citizen input, town & gown.

Theresa Lafer (D)

Bio in 140 characters or less: Adjunct Penn State prof. Incumbent. Notably outspoken about issues that affect students, usually against the general student consensus.

Dan Murphy (D)

Bio in 140 characters or less: Runs Penn State NSO & more. Borough renter. Focus on econ. development, respect for all, attracting young pros, upping town/gown engagement.

Lynn Herman (R)

Bio in 140 characters or less: Authorities Board Chair. Former State Rep. Says students ‘encroach on quality of life’ for long-term residents. Priority on neighborhoods.

Richard Fitzgerald (R)

Bio in 140 characters or less: 30-yr. @AlphaFireCo member. Former Centre Parks & Rec employee. Supports smaller gov. Wants to re-balance downtown style with zoning reform.

For more information on everything you can expect to see on the ballot Tuesday, skim through our guide here. Remember to vote in the local election on Tuesday, November 7. You can find your polling location here.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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