Meet the Candidate: Angela McNair
Erie County Council, District 4
Jumpstart Early Learning Center
I am a wife and mother of five, who holds a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Edinboro University and Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. I am currently serving on the Erie School Board as a member and advocate for the staff and families from 2013-present. During this time, I initiated the diversity and inclusion committee leading to the diversity officer position, worked with the student assistance program, advocated for more support in regards to the sports program, and linked the district with the idea for the community school’s initiative. I serve as the community liaison and have been a voice in bridging the gap between the schools and the community. I have also been a key advocate for special needs students as I have twin girls who have autism that attend Erie’s Public Schools.
Currently, I am an entrepreneur and small business owner here in Erie County as I operate a Keystone Star 4 facility, Jumpstart Early Learning Center from 2015-present. I am also the owner of an up-and-coming event planning and décor company, Grand Central Events. I served as one of the commissioners on the first cohort of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. In this position, I served as a direct advocate for Erie County to the Governor’s office. A community initiative that I currently lead is Juneteenth, as I serve as the coordinator of the official celebration in Erie.
In the past, I’ve hosted many community events and participated in activities to give back such as the Back To School Summer Jam that has provided thousands of backpacks to students across the county. I also host several “Pop Up” shops at my downtown location which offers space for small businesses to sell in a flea market style vendor event at no cost to them in order to provide an economic boost to their businesses.
Why are you running to be on Erie County Council?
Running for the county council will give an opportunity for me to be a voice for the community in the recovery and building process as we continue to move Erie County forward in a progressive manner. It will give an opportunity for advocacy in education, entrepreneurship, and help be a voice to bridge the gap of disparities in public health. I want to also assist in rebuilding our county's recovery process post-pandemic. the experience that I bring to the table in being an educator and small business owner as well as working through large budgets, would be an asset to the county council.
What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?
My hopes are to continue moving Erie in a progressive manner. In order to do these things we must plan wisely and use funds in areas that will make our city strong and completive. I want to see small businesses thriving, more access to training through programs such as the community college, and increase access to public health resources.
How would you be an advocate for key education initiatives such as the Erie County Community College, K-12 education, and early education as they relate to workforce development?
I have been an advocate for the community college since the idea came about. This is necessary for the increased needs for training that is required in today's workforce. The community college will also bring about opportunities for companies to bring their businesses here which provides more jobs and increased economic boosts. My goal would be to stay in constant motion and moving forward with this initiative to ensure that anyone who wants to increase their skill level and knowledge across Erie County can do so by attending the community college. With being on the school board I know the needs of the students and families. This gives me the experience in knowing how the county can assist in the recovery of the schools after the pandemic. I can be a voice as someone who has children from 5th grade to 12th grade that can provide insight on where we can step in as a county to support the needs of our educational system. I will be in constant talks with families as well as our school districts to keep the council connected in what supports that they need.
How will you work to advocate for the modernization of public health infrastructure and encourage public/private partnerships to address deficiencies in our public health system?
I will advocate to ensure that all people have access to quality care, vaccinations and mental health services. I will advocate for accountability metrics to be developed to ensure improvements are made in quality. I will allocate for funding to be placed into foundational capabilities for healthcare programs and providers. I would encourage private partners to collaborate with public health needs to ensure the community has the support needed for preventative and ongoing care.
According to TrackTheRecovery.org, Erie County is estimated to have lost over 28% of small businesses. How would you work to encourage financial stability within local and state governments without overburdening the small business community?
As a small business owner who has felt the aftereffect of COVID-19, I am able to give a perspective of the supports needed. I would encourage the use of funding that is coming to our region to have a certain amount made available just to provide support to small businesses. With incentives and support both the local and state government could increase financial stability if we can get people back to work with livable wages.
Our community is expecting a total of $225 million or more in American Recovery Plan funds. As a community leader, how would you prioritize this funding?
As a leader in the community, a priority would be to provide support to public health and access to quality healthcare for all. Supporting our educational system's recovery. Providing relief to small business owners. Enhancing our natural resources and building opportunities to create more jobs by bringing improvement to Erie County.
Pittsburgh has seen success with tools such as Tax Increment Finance and Transit Revitalization Investment District to spur their City’s revitalization. Are you willing to make long-term investments in economic development?
I am willing to place financial support in initiatives that will make our region more attractive and sustaining. I want to preserve and enhance the assets we already have and build upon them to grow our community in a more progressive way. I do believe that opportunity zones are useful and create a boost in revitalizing the county.