Meet the Candidate: Herbert Riede
Erie County Council
C H Reams and Associates
Co-Owns Rabid Nerd in Union City with fiancé
Born and raised in Erie, Herb Riede has had a wealth of different life experiences that have taught him a range of life lessons. The youngest of 11 to parents in their second and third marriage who were from wildly different backgrounds, Herb grew up with siblings who hunt, fish, and work in factories and others who work for GMA, NASA, and in finance.
Herb lives in Union City with his fiancé Lisa, and together they have four children (two of each), one granddaughter, and a bird. They also run a computer repair store called Rabid Nerd on Main Street. By day, Herb works as a developer in Erie and Lisa is an on-call substitute in Union City.
Herb's father was 57 when he was born and retired early. Herb bounced from school to school and his father passed away when Herb was 12. Herb attended schools in Erie, Corry, Union City, Tidioute, and Las Vegas. Life would swing from placing in the top 10 young bowlers in the nation one year to living in a camp without electricity and running water outside Tidioute for a year the next. After his father died, Herb ended up homeless in Vegas with his mother for a month at 15 and quitting school.
Since he was 17, Herb has worked full time. He has a bachelor's in IT, a Master’s in Education and is working on a Master's Degree in Cybersecurity. Herb has developed multi-million dollar eCommerce platforms, home party programs, and lottery drawing software, and serves as a judge for the annual Webby awards.
Entering politics in the early 2000s, Herb was elected at 23 to the Borough Council of McSherrystown, PA, defeating a 30 year-plus incumbent. He became Mayor in 2005. He was unopposed for re-election in 2009, but after his mother had a stroke, his family relocated back to the NWPA area to be close to family. His mother passed away last month.
Herb loves to be given problems that need to be solved and his philosophy is that to get things done you need to make things go. While the adage Make Things Go is not very descriptive, the underlying meaning is to admit that many times something that is said that is impossible, or that it can't be done is really just saying it’s hard, or it is difficult. Once you admit it is possible and begin thinking about actually doing something, it can suddenly become easier as you constructively apply your creativity and problem-solving skills towards a solution. So if something stands in your way, just Make Things Go. You might not succeed, but you don't know if you don't try.
Why are you running to be on Erie County Council?
Every business I talk to has either never heard of or from our Council member, or has a bad opinion of him, and I have experience and skills for the position. No specific agenda.
What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?
Make people want to MOVE to Erie County
Make people want to SPEND in Erie County
Make Erie County OPERATE like an efficient government with adequate services
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?
We are a big Education household, both with education degrees, so we are very aware of the big impact education has on a person's life! Especially as someone who has gone through the hard path from GED to M.Ed.!
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?
The primary deficiency in our public health infrastructure is the outsourcing and remote control of it from outside of Erie. The biggest mistake was not consolidating Erie's infrastructure together and instead allowing it to be taken over by foreign conglomerates based in Pittsburgh. It has decimated the quality of care in the 6th District to near nil.
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?
I am concerned that the loss of small businesses may not be evenly spread, and we may find municipalities gravely hit vs others that are not as bad off. If there is a way to spread these effects across the county, and then the state can do the same for uneven county effects across the state - temporarily - we may be able to minimize the impacts of a temporary setback as new business comes back, hopefully, during the roaring '20s.
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?
In my previous answer, I allude to the possibility that the loss of small businesses may not be evenly spread out, and the impact to the tax base across municipalities may be severe to some communities. Where there is a severe impact, some emergency budget support may be necessary for missing revenue. Other funds should go towards restoring any critical core services cut during the pandemic, then provide assistance to households (Rent/Mortgage/Utility), Nonprofits and Small Businesses (Grant), then impacted industries.
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?
The TIF idea is very promising as a long-term way to increase affordable housing. I am open to Opportunity Zones, Main Street initiatives and other infrastructure, though I am wary and need convincing when "initiatives" are granted any kind of power.