Meet the Candidate: Ryan D. McGregor
North East Borough Council
Ryan was born and raised just outside of Pittsburgh. Having graduated from Montour High School in 2005, Ryan furthered his education at Slippery Rock University. There, he earned a B.A. Political Science and a minor in Russian, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2009. After University, Ryan went to work in the district office of a United States Congressman. In this role, Ryan worked hand-in-hand with elected leaders from more than 100 municipal governments on a variety of local issues including stormwater management, business revitalization, capital project funding, and more. Ryan knows how to work within all levels of government to get results.
Though they could have chosen anywhere to start their new family, Ryan and his wife, Kacie chose North East Borough because of the wonderful neighborhoods (and neighbors!), vibrant business community, and engaging community events. Currently, Ryan works as the Head of Business Intelligence for an international logistics company finding actionable insights into data. Because you cannot fix what you cannot measure, Ryan will bring years of high-level analytics towards improving Borough Government.
As a Borough Councilman, Ryan will work to make our local government as open and accessible as possible, including improving access to community meetings and Borough records. Ryan will also look for new ways to encourage entrepreneurship in the business community and expand resources/programs in our parks. Ryan, Kacie, and their adorable daughter love living in North East and are very active members of Park United Methodist Church.
Why did you want to run for North East Borough Council?
To help inspire a new direction and vision for my community.
What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?
Expanded community recreation, creating a robust business environment for entrepreneurs, developing actionable data to improve community 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?
In as much as a borough councilman can be involved in such matters, I would strongly support families making the decisions that best align with their needs and goals. I would openly encourage that students do as much of their education as they can in Erie County, rather than anywhere else. By providing an excellent education from Pre-K to College in Erie County, the more likely we are to develop a vast array of strong business leaders who want to live and grow here too.
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?
Having worked in the health care industry, I saw first hand the net benefit that public/private partnerships can create. Government services can be bettered in performance and cost by leaning on the vast institutional wealth of many private sector businesses. As a councilman, I would seek any and all opportunities to address public health deficiencies through these targeted partnerships.
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?
Over the course of many years, Erie County has been on a downward trajectory in both population and jobs, the past year has only exacerbated these problems. When existing businesses are looking to expand into new markets, often the quality of the workforce and cost of living are two major factors in their decisions. As a Borough Councilman, I will seek to promote excellence in our Erie County schools, a government that seeks to meet the needs of its business community and establishing more transparency with government spending. For too long, county and municipal governments have repeated schemes and programs that have not worked, while simultaneously squeezing the business community for more in taxes. Erie County is competing against and losing to, pro-growth policies from across the nation, it is time that we try a new approach.
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?
I would prioritize infrastructure and capital projects above all else. In North East, I believe that much more needs to be done to increase the livability of the community. While there are many great services currently, suburban communities need to give residents and potential residents more reasons to want to live in their town. With more and more workers being able to work remotely, towns that foster deep and meaningful connections through community events will be at an advantage. In an ideal world, I would love to see the re-establishment of the Street Cars (or light rail) that once connected North East to Erie.
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?
While North East is too small (as determined by current law), I would like for our town to implement a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) program. A program like this would keep North East money invested in North East and allow the government to more flexibility to address issues of blight. Short of that, I would be very open to any incentive or government tool that we can provide to grow our business community.