Student Tom Dougherty Earns Republican Nomination For Borough Council Election
Penn State junior Tom Dougherty will be on the State College Borough Council election ballot on November 5 after earning a nomination on the Republican ticket.
Dougherty originally ran as a Democratic candidate during the primaries in May, but was unable to secure a nomination. Earning enough write-ins to get a Republican nomination gives Dougherty a chance to get his name on a ballot while students are actually on campus.
During his campaign, Dougherty knocked on doors and had the opportunity to speak to voters and hear their opinions in person. He said many disclosed that they would never vote for a student and that students shouldn’t even be allowed to vote in a Borough Council election.
“We will actually be here to vote come November, so they can’t try disenfranchise us like they did in May,” Dougherty said. “Getting the student body involved will make this election more of an investment for the betterment of State College and town and gown unity.”
One of Dougherty’s plans is to revitalize downtown so it’s more community-, student-, and visitor-friendly. This includes plans of implementing low-income student housing and a pedestrian mall on Allen St., as proposed by the Presidential Leadership Academy at Penn State.
Dougherty also wants to use his power to push for a Pride Festival in State College and continue the upkeep of the rainbow crosswalks downtown.
“Making sure we create a welcoming community for all walks of life is immensely important,” Dougherty said. “I want to make sure we are celebrating equity and promoting all people in the borough.”
Dougherty is studying international politics, and is currently the Interfraternity Council Representative for the University Park Undergraduate Association. Prior to this his campaign, Dougherty was UPUA’s liaison to Borough Council.
If elected, Dougherty will be the first Penn State undergraduate student elected since 1973 when Dean Phillips served on council. He’s only the fourth undergrad to appear on a municipal election ballot and the first since the 1990s.
“It is my hope that with this campaign I can inspire other students to run for public office, and keep our community a place that welcomes all people no matter which side of College Avenue you are on,” Dougherty said.
Centre County director of elections Joyce McKinley said the two other Republican write-in nominations were won by Democrats Peter Marshall and Janet Engman. Marshall, a former State College borough manager, and Engeman, a council incumbent, won Democratic nominations and so will appear on the November ballot as Democrat/Republican. All three have accepted the Republican write-in nominations, McKinley said.
Incumbent Jesse Barlow and newcomer Deanna Behring won the other two Democratic nominations in the May primary.
StateCollege.com Managing Editor Geoff Rushton also contributed to this report.
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