Meet the Candidate: Scott Rastetter
Erie City Council, Sixth District
I was elected to this position in 2017; term starting January one, 2019. In this part-time job, I feel like I have lived and learned 10 years of knowledge yet the time has gone so fast as it always does when you enjoy your work. This year I will pass the 50 years mark of being in the flooring business. I can't say that I have enjoyed every minute but it has been darn close. Perhaps I am just a dedicated bullheaded workaholic fool but I still don't know what else I would have done. The business steadily grew with a few economic setbacks that came with the times. Now it's time to ease into retirement and spend more time on my part-time County Council job. Business is a great foundation for this Council position research, finance, investing and people are the main functions of running a business and also important in running a county. Spending taxpayer money is a trust and an investment in everybody's future. I tell you right now you don't want to vote for the person that will send in 500 words in a bio about themselves.
Why are you running to be Erie County Council?
It was a great opportunity to get elected into an office that felt I could really make a difference for the community.
What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?
Bring the whole county together to fulfill its full potential, which will result in a cleaner, more productive, diverse, attractive community.
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?
The Community College stirs a lot of emotion in my district. When I first came into office I thought that I would have to be against the college even though I have believed in the idea of a community college since the 60s. As I have traveled around my district I have found that the college is totally misunderstood and that there are as many or more people for the college as against. When we have had public meetings on the college the split in opinion is always close with more pros than cons. It's the silent majority that understands the purpose and the need for the college.
Most of the people against the college have stopped reading this or will stop now but I will write it anyway. I have looked at the argument that we have enough colleges already and found that is absolutely false. In Erie County, we have about the average number per capita as any other county in the state and neighboring states and less than many counties. Excuse me for not looking up the numbers again but I did a couple of years ago and gave them in an address I made to a council meeting a year or so ago. Except we do not have a community college. We are not going to go out and build another Liberal Arts college that is another common misconception. This college is going to be dedicated to workforce development. With the government's reaction to the pandemic; giving recipients of unemployment hundreds of extra dollars per week, the lack of workers willing to work has become exacerbated. I hope this will turn the lights on in the publics' minds that we do need more trained workers. Then people point out that we have had unsuccessful attempts and yes I remember those but, I also remember many other defeats, mistakes, and tragedies. When you stop trying then you are defeated. We do have trade schools some have been successful some have not. These schools are not inexpensive and are cost-prohibitive for many people. The reasons for the success or failure of these schools are many and should not be considered an omen of failure for our Community College.
Our Erie County used to be ranked third most populous in Pennsylvania, since then we have steadily lost industry and the population average income has dropped. The cost of services go up steadily; so we have a balancing problem. How do we balance the money coming in ( tax dollars ) with the cost of services to the public? Simply put we have to try the grow the population ( number of taxpayers) and grow the average income. Workforce development is the only thing that will attract more jobs, more population and bring a better balance between taxes and services to the public. We will need to be cautious and plant the right seeds to grow our College starting small, choosing the right course of studies. not building an elaborate campus but starting with satellite branches around the county for easy access by students and faculty. It will be a big undertaking but it can be done I would like to see the whole county come together and celebrate this project. The whole country is watching, together it will be done.
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?
We are so blessed to have one of the best Health Departments in the country. In the past four years and especially the last year I have learned this first hand. They totally have my support and most likely always will.
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 live with instability in business every day. Forty-five years and I'm still at it. I would defiantly and already do encourage local governments to slow down, watch the expenses, promote buying local. I know that the local governments understand that better than the state and even the public. I hope this pandemic
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?
Carefully Health, Infrastructure, Safety, Education, Broadband
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 would like to see a 0% interest loan program for small local businesses, more resource sharing between governments and businesses, more education for small businesses.