Meet the Candidate: Shawn Wroblewski
Erie County Executive
Perry Hi-Way Hose Company
East County EMS
Butler County Community College
I have lived in Erie my whole life. I started serving the community in 1986 as a volunteer firefighter and quickly found a passion for helping people. I have been working as a paramedic since 1994 when I started at EmergyCare eventually, I left EmergyCare to pursue a Management position with Perry Hi-way Hose Company. Currently, I am Working on a Ph.D. in public service leadership with a concentration on emergency management, working part-time at Perry Hi-Way and East County EMS. I live in the City of Erie with my wife, Jessica.
Why did you want to run for Erie County Council?
I want to serve the people of Erie County.
What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?
Recovery of family business and communities from Covid 19, Public Safety system, Address the inequalities of residents in Erie County.
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?
As an academic, I am aware of the importance of education. We have four universities/colleges already promoting critical thinking and advanced degrees. Erie needs more education for skilled trades such as welding, nursing, and machinists. We need to work on keeping the current and future students interested in learning. With all the distractions and decrease in after-school activities, I have seen firsthand how uninterested in learning that most current students are. I want to be a positive force for change in this and help the students focus on the future early in their primary education and develop resources for their learning to make informed decisions about their future career and how they navigate life and obstacles to obtain their dreams.
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?
My life has been about emergency service, specifically the pre-hospital field. Many different programs promote increased public health and healthcare infrastructure. However, obstacles have been met by services promoting change by various laws and legal issues. I want to actively work with the local hospitals and agencies to make Erie a model of change for our community's health care infrastructure. I plan to advocate at a state level for the tools and legislation needed to assist our agencies in positive change. I plan on using the resources of primary schools and education sources to address the needed information and conversations to promote a positive change within the Erie Community.
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?
According to most researchers, the loss of business during the recovery phase of any major incident will worsen. One of the biggest problems is no planning for unforeseen problems. The theory has always been there's less than a one percent chance of that happening, so why should I worry. This pandemic is my area of specialty. We can not do much about the closed businesses, but we may be ready to discuss the need to plan for unforeseen problems in the future. Throwing money at the problem will not solve it until we sit down and discuss the plan for moving forward. We need to tighten our wallets and focus on the areas that will promote growth and increased development, delay the things that will cost money, and expend resources we could put towards other areas of growth.
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?
Now is the time we need to take a critical and educated look at what the money can be utilized for and how we can best utilize these funds to invest in Erie County. First, we must stabilize the local government and ensure that we will be able to move forward safely. Secondly, we need to prioritize our responses that we do not impact and new taxes upon our communities or the citizens. Reduce needless spending and focus our efforts on infrastructure and regrowth without impacting our already fragile impoverished communities. We need to match jobs with people and promote self-growth with community investment projects to rebuild and develop a stronger workforce committed to growth.
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?
There has been a lot of success with many different revitalization programs not only in Pennsylvania but also around the country. Erie is very different than Pittsburgh. We must look at what programs have worked with similar communities to Erie. These communities must be as economically and culturally diverse as Erie is for an accurate comparison. Erie must commit to a long-term plan to grow all of Erie County's assets from industry to tourism. We need to capitalize on our history, move forward with past successes, and develop our short-term and long-term goals that everyone in the community can get behind. More importantly, we need to continue developing our infrastructure and programs for Erie County's future long after any county official or public servant is out of office. We, as a community, need to work together to develop a plan for tourism, manufacturing that incorporates all aspects and begins a new direction for the future that will secure Erie County's position for the future. As I do not have an ingrained knowledge of all Erie County's current business and infrastructure, I will be seeking the counsel of the past leaders and business groups to ensure the best course of action for the county's future.