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Sophomore Tom Dougherty Announces Candidacy For State College Borough Council

Penn State sophomore Tom Dougherty will run for a seat on the State College Borough council, he announced Wednesday.

Dougherty is studying international politics and is currently an at-large representative for the University Park Undergraduate Association. However, he does not plan to run in the upcoming UPUA election. Instead, he’ll focus on his Borough Council campaign and, if elected, his public service in that regard.

Dougherty has served since last spring as UPUA’s liaison to Borough Council. His platform for the election is relatively straightforward, if a little vague:

Address issues in our community and work hard to increase transparency throughout the borough.

Push for more sustainability, eco-friendly initiatives, and responsible growth.

Increase affordable and transitional housing while maintaining housing economic support.

Increase Town and Gown initiatives to grow a truly unified community.

Promote bike Safety and a bike friendly community.

Engage with all residents and promote equatable growth in all facets of the community.

“With full intent, I plan to represent all members of our community on the State College Borough Council. Currently, there is much work to do to bridge the gap between Penn State and the rest of State College,” Dougherty said. “It is my belief, that the first way to move towards that goal is to have a student sit on Borough Council. I will promote Town and Gown unity with legislation that works for the entire State College community. I will push for equitable growth, sustainability, and affordability.

The last student to successfully earn a seat on Borough Council was Dean Phillips, who ran in 1973. He served on the Council for more than three years as both an undergraduate and a graduate student.

Then-freshman Rylie Cooper ran for a seat on the Council in 2017, but did not make it past the primary, maybe in part due to the fact that she wasn’t endorsed by the BugPAC “campaign to reclaim State College.”

BugPAC launched in March 2017 to endorse candidates for State College mayor and State College Borough Council ahead of that year’s municipal primary, an election usually decided when students were already gone for the summer. BugPAC-endorsed candidates Dan Murphy and Evan Myers currently sit on Council.

The organization hasn’t yet been active on its website or social media pages for the 2019 election. Dougherty said he hasn’t been contacted by BugPAC, nor has he started to solicit any other endorsements from candidates or PACs.

“In a divided nation, it is our responsibility to ensure our local community is united,” Dougherty said. “Together, we must strive to stand in support of everyone in State College, no matter which side of College Avenue you fall on.”

The State College municipal primary is slated for Tuesday, May 21. If history is any indication, this election will be all but decided in the Democratic primary.

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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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