Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday April 21,  2021

Meet the Candidates is an annual education series to connect the business community to citizens seeking public office in Erie County. Candidates were invited to complete a brief questionnaire; answers appear as provided by the candidate. The views expressed below are not those of the Erie Regional Chamber. We invite you to get to know the candidates and mark your calendars to vote in Pennsylvania's Primary Election on Tuesday, May 18th. 

Meet the Candidate: Carl Anderson
Erie County Executive

Current Employer(s)
Self-Employed; Historical Researcher
Erie County Councilman

About Carl
Carl Anderson, III has represented Erie County Council’s District 4 since 2018. Mr. Anderson currently serves as the Chairman of County Council, Chairman of the Pleasant Ridge Manor Board of Directors, Chairman of the Erie County Retirement Board, and Co-Chair of the COVID Impact & Economic Revitalization Committee. Chairman Anderson is the liaison to the City of Erie, the Erie County Community College, the Erie County Convention Center Authority, Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, ECRDA/All Related Boards, Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, Erie Western PA Port Authority, and VisitErie.

Anderson is an entrepreneur and self-employed historical researcher and consultant and has been actively involved in a variety of community events and historical projects over the years, including the George Washington Park in Waterford, the World War I Centennial remembrance and the Empower Erie Board of Directors.

Anderson is passionate about economic development and revitalization of the community, saying, “Bringing jobs to Erie and creating an environment for economic development is critical for our community. I want to ensure we have a bright future here for our children and grandchildren.”

Anderson grew up on Erie’s east side, where he continues to live today. He is a graduate of Erie Tech Memorial and Mercyhurst University, where he earned a Contract Major Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Political Science in 1992 and a BA in Education in 1993.

He joined Prudential Securities in 1995 as a financial adviser; from 1996 to 2005, he was the vice president for investments with Morgan Stanley. Since 2005, he has operated his own business, doing historical research and consulting. He is the country’s foremost expert on General Jacob Bayley, and he has authored and co-authored historical books and articles. Anderson also lectures on the American colonial and revolutionary eras, as well as Erie County history.

Anderson has dedicated much of his time on Erie County Council in advocating for opportunities for higher education through the creation of a standalone community college. He believes education in itself can be effective in reducing poverty levels, and he is committed in creating an environment where the County of Erie can thrive and grow as a community. In June of 2020, Anderson’s persistence paid off, and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education granted Erie County’s application for Community College.

Anderson and his wife, Evelyn, have two children, Carl IV and Autumn Rose.

Why are you running to be Erie County Executive?

Erie County has a once and a lifetime opportunity to propel itself into the 21st century. For years we have heard, “Erie is years behind other counties”. The American Rescue Act money will put us in the position to address many of the issues that have caused us to fall behind. I believe my ability to work “across the aisle” and get things done puts me in the perfect position to lead our County in becoming the community it was always meant to be.

What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?

1: Broadband and new unique local industries increasing JOBS. By creating new and progressive ways to increase revenue and take the burden off the property taxpayer - such as the 1 percent local option sales tax which has been a priority in my platform for many years. At least 20 percent of this new revenue would go toward economic development. Broadband is a vital component for economic success and jobs.

2: Supporting small and large business retention and growth. Giving businesses the tools to survive, stay and grow and attract new businesses by giving them the tools to succeed. Additionally balancing that with a trained workforce that makes a family-sustaining wage so the workers can stay here. It is all about unity - business owners and workers are vital to each other. Increasing the number of job opportunities!

3: Education on every level. Education is the cornerstone of all successful communities. Early intervention - Pre-K, Police Athletic League, Youth Leadership, Eagle's nest, Character Be About It, our Community Centers - are vital programs. Lifelong workforce development and training will always be necessary components to our community. Without question, the community college is a key element tied directly to our community's success. I have and will always remain an unwavering champion for the community college. Very few have done more work than I have in fighting for this community resource and no elected official will fight harder than me for its success and for creative ways to fund it so it is not a burden to our property taxpayers. As we prepare our workforce for local jobs. 

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 believe in my position as County Executive, I will be able to do even more as a champion of education here in Erie County. I will coordinate with state officials, federal officials, and our local philanthropic community to ensure our community college is a lasting economic driver in our county’s future.

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? 

Trust and building relationships between our healthcare workers and the communities in which they are surviving. Also by investing in the Health Dept. itself. Building community partnerships with our local healthcare providers will also benefit the overall public health system.

According to, 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?

While serving on County Council, we set up programs from CARES funds to ensure the survival of small businesses in our community. With the large amounts of money that are coming into our community, we need to set aside a portion to ensure the survival and growth of our small business community because they are the backbone of our economy.

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 County Council President I created the Covid Impact and Revitalization committee with the anticipation we would have these funds. Through collaboration, cooperation, unity, and trust is how we will best leverage the funds in our community. The county government technically only has $52,000,000 coming our way. Through various silos it could be an additional $100,000,000 in funds. If the American Jobs and Rescue Act passes we could possibly have additional $500,000,000 million dollars. This will be our greatest chance at transforming Erie County into the area it was always meant to be. I have also proposed that every municipality and school district have the autonomy to set their own priorities and select a representative to present their respective group’s priorities to a countywide task force. We would collaborate and leverage funding where we can in the most strategic way.

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 support most alternative revenue-generating programs that will progressively move our community forward. We need to keep more money in Erie County and less in Harrisburg. I believe Project Labor Agreements, Opportunity Zones, and TIFs can all be beneficial to our economic development, as long as they are used strategically and not at the detriment of public services.

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