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: Jordan Lander
Lake City Borough, Mayoral Race

Current Employer(s)
Erie's Public Schools

About Jordan
For over ten years, Jordan Lander has been an urban educator and proud father of three. His work and projects range between education, computer science, and politics. While fulfilling his role as a science educator, he also enjoys being a musician, AI researcher, political consultant, digital marketer, and tutor. He is running for mayor of Lake City, PA.


Why are you running to be the mayor of Lake City?

I love my community and want to be a representative voice for my neighbors.


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

Protect the Community, Advocate for Citizens and Law Enforcement, and Promote Local Businesses.


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 am an educator for both young students and adults seeking employment and their high school equivalency credentials. I see my students struggle when they cannot get proper training and education and I am happy when I connect them to community resources, workforce skills training, and job opportunities. Every day I am an advocate for workforce development inside and outside of my jobs as an educator.


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? 

I would gather data on our community's current needs to access affordable healthcare, vaccinations, and PPE, including our workers and businesses, and advocate for them. It means working with community members, key stakeholders, experts related to public health, elected officials, and regional partners, authorities, boards, and commissions. A leader must articulate the vision and mission of their community. It would be key to get voices in one direction and set goals based on our data-driven decisions and needs.


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?

It would be important to assess our community's immediate needs including mental health, individuals, families, employees, and businesses. We then need to seek recovery guidance from business experts, find recovery resources, and available funding for assisting growth and development.


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?

See previous answers.


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 favor requiring large development projects to seek funding from state sources to reflect the community where they are being built. This can, in part, be accomplished through training and hiring on the development and construction side, as well as with permanent jobs created by the finished project. I would fight for equitable hiring, project labor agreements, and Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs). I favor tax breaks when tied to CBA’s because I recognize that whenever private industry and developers are given the gift of a tax break, in return, citizens deserve living wage jobs and other tangible benefits.

Revitalization must involve the voices of the critical stakeholders of the community. I would encourage input from my constituents, labor, and community organizations via surveys, public meetings, and hearings. I will appoint or recommend local community members' appointments to relevant Authorities, Boards, and Commissions to gather data and expert knowledge, assess needs and opportunities for growth and push to meet our community's goals for revitalization.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • lake city borough
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: Chuck Nelson
Erie City Council

Current Employer(s)
The Cross, Erie

About Chuck
Chuck is a graduate of Lindenwood University, has a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and will soon finish a Doctorate in Missional Leadership from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (where Mr. Rogers went!) with a dissertation focusing on creating a community that transcends class and race. In addition to his work in ministry, he has also served as an adjunct professor at Mercyhurst. The church he leads also hosts "Service Trips" in downtown Erie during spring break and summers. These trips provide the Erie community with thousands of hours of blight reduction, feeding those experiencing homelessness, and projects at different non-profits. He sits on the board of the Upper Room, represents the 3rd Ward Second District on the Democratic committee, sits on the advisory committee for Our West Bayfront, leads the Gateway Neighborhood Association, works with a team to lead Porchfest, and assists in coaching Erie Reapers wrestling at the MLK Center.


Why are you running to be Erie City Council?

To bring fresh ideas to City Hall.


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

Land Value Tax, which would result in lower taxes on residents, less blight, and more investment.


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 will be a staunch advocate for education. I was raised in a household where my father was the principal of the largest school in the state and have almost completed my doctorate.


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 example of coordinating with Erie County Health Department, Rite Aid, and The Upper Room is an example of the priorities I hold in this advocacy.


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?

With a Land Value Tax, it was hugely successful after being implemented 25 years ago in Allentown and Harrisburg.


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?

There has been an underinvestment in community and economic development in the city for far too long, the city needs to prioritize these things and by working in partnership with business, should focus on technology infrastructure. Places like Longmont Colorado have used public access to higher speed internet to become the fastest growing city of our size.


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?

Land Value Tax would do much of this. It would stop punishing the maintenance of property and instead punish a lack of development, in the simplest terms. Investment Zones such as CRIZ or NIZ can be fought for in Harrisburg and a restructuring of our millage that doesn't reward disinvestment.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • erie city council
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: Marcus Yuille
Erie City Council

Current Employer(s)
Erie County

About Marcus
Marcus Yuille is an emerging leader with a vision to inspire positive change. Marcus is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the Monessen City Schools. It was during his time in Monessen that Marcus embarked on a journey of servant leadership. Upon graduation from high school, Marcus relocated to Erie, Pennsylvania to attend Penn State University, the Behrend College. The eldest of two sons, Marcus supported himself through college by working several on-campus work studies and community part-time jobs.

Remaining committed to his educational pursuits, Marcus obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Penn State University. During his academic career at Penn State, Marcus served his campus as a Resident Assistant, Student Government Assoc. (SGA) senator and Diversity Committee Chairman, Multi-Cultural Council Public Relations Chairman and President of the Assoc. of Black Collegians. Recently, Marcus received his Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Human Resources with the University of Phoenix.

He is employed with the Erie County Public Library (ECPL); where serves as Outreach Services Manager. In his role at ECPL, Marcus' focus is promoting the tools and resources the library offers to enhance the lives of all community members. In addition, he oversees the Bookmobile which provides library services to patrons in throughout Erie County. Through his work at the John F. Kennedy Center, Marcus provided education against substance abuse, as well as safe and recreational alternatives to the use of drugs and alcohol. In all that Marcus seeks to do, his ultimate goal is to spread inspiration, believing that no one’s circumstances are define who they can become.


Why are you running to be Erie City Council?

I believe that Erie is a city of great potential and promise. My experiences in the community have enhanced my perspective and passion for our city. I am committed to creating positive change in Erie by devoting my voice to ensure that inclusion is a reality for all who call Erie home.


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

1.Revitalization throughout the city
2. Affordable housing
3. Ensuring that everyone's perspective is included in decision making


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?

Access to a good education is vital to Erie's growth and collective success. First, I would advocate regional, state, and federal funding sources to ensure that education is a fundamental priority on all levels. Secondly, I realize traditional four-year collegiate experiences do not work (are not options) for everyone. I support creating pipelines for students into vocational and entrepreneurship training opportunities.


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? 

By using my voice and my vote, I will advocate for relief funding that will guarantee sustainable solutions to the public health needs of Erie residents. I will support the development of private/public partnerships to create a strong network of efficient public health services.


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 support ERCGP's encouragement to continue to incentivize local hirings. I agree with the stance your organization has taken in regards to small businesses being represented by boards within our community. As a policymaker, I would work with small business leaders to create solutions that would create finical stability for local government without over-taxing small businesses. Finally, I am a proponent for ear-marking unused relief funds for the future use of financial stability.


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?

The main priority would be to examine the city's budget to stabilize the deficit incurred during the 2020 pandemic. I would allocate funds to local small businesses that have suffered during the pandemic. I would also support distributing a percentage of funds to strengthen local after-school and educational summer programs that will help fill educational gaps for student learning which has been affected by the pandemic.


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 tools such Opportunity Zones and Tax Increment Finance. I believe they provide viable options for economic growth in the city. However, my focus would be expanding the aspects of these tools that would work in every corner of Erie. My stance through these measures would be to address inequity and search out opportunities to replicate revitalization in the neighborhoods and areas of the city that have been most affected by poverty. No neighborhood, small business, or entrepreneur should be ignored or overlooked.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • erie city council
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: Scott Rastetter
Erie City Council, Sixth District

Current Employer(s)
Scott's Carpet

About Scott
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.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • erie county council
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: Kendrick Tate
Erie City Council

Current Employer(s)
Currently Unemployed

About Kendrick
My name is Kendrick Tate and I’m running for Erie City Council. I’ve been raised in Erie since I was 3 years old, and I’ve attended Northwest PA Collegiate Academy and Penn State University-Main Campus. I’ve seen and experienced the long-lasting issues that Erie has faced for years. I believe we need a new vision for our city, and it starts with equitable community and economic development, livable wages and family-sustaining jobs, and protections for our renting population. I know first-hand how hard it is to make a living here as a young 26 year old man, as a black man, and as a single man. The opportunities for a single life-sustaining job for an individual in the city are horribly scarce. I’ve been passed over for open positions where I’ve worked that I was well-qualified and went above and beyond for. I’ve been wrongfully discriminated against by irrational fear that has taken away viable career opportunities. I will change this environment for every person in the city who has had even fewer opportunities in life than I’ve been given. On City Council, I plan to do everything with the benefit of the working poor and marginalized as my guiding principle.


Why are you running to be Erie City Council?

I chose to run for this office because of my intense desire to see equity in my community. Erie residents deserve to feel protected, motivated, and optimistic about their community and their future in it. We deserve to live in a place that sufficiently attends to the housing needs of the one-third of its population that rents their home. Erie residents deserve the benefit of a City Council that actively works to provide their population in poverty, more than double the state average, with a framework for jobs and occupational education that will lift them into a better life. Erie’s historically underserved communities deserve the benefit of County and City development policies to increase the quality of life, both economically and culturally.

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

My top three priorities are:

1) to govern with a barometer of the economic and cultural impact of my policy decisions;
2) to protect the rights of our working poor population in the residential, professional, and developmental contexts; and
3) to increase the accessibility of our Erie residents to the governing policies that affect their present and future.


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?

Education at all levels is key to the stability and potential of our workforce. Early education is not only the foundation for a child’s intellectual development, but it’s also a necessity for the stability of our working families. K-12 education is more readily available through public schooling, and throughout a student’s career, they establish themselves as an individual in their community. Post-secondary education is essential for the students who feel that high school did not allow them to see their potential as individuals and workers. On City Council, I will advocate for the development of programming by early childhood educators and for-profit/nonprofit contributions to early childhood education, I will promote the involvement of local small and large business owners in primary/secondary school business education, and I will establish strong administrative relationships between Erie’s small and large businesses and the Erie County Community College for real-world educational opportunities.


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? 

Advocating for public health infrastructure modernization means working to establish a relationship with our local hospitals, outpatient clinics, and emergency services that goes beyond finance. On City Council, I would urge the city’s public safety department to consider the inclusion of medical and mental health services along with police and fire, and argue for the state to include medical professionals in the emergency services collective bargaining law, PA 1968 Act 111. I would further urge the Council and government to work closely with the County Health Department located close to our Downtown area to address the accessibility of health services around our city, and to conduct targeted studies based on census data that will help to determine and increase the effectiveness of emergency, PCP, specialist, and outpatient treatment from Erie’s two massive hospitals, UPMC Hamot and AHN Saint Vincent, Emergycare, local medical care providers, and for-profit/nonprofit mental health organizations.


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?

Our small businesses have taken on the worst burden of the business community throughout this pandemic, while large corporations have benefited from record profits over the past year and even prior. I will advocate for the institution of a relief tax paid by large state and interstate corporations based in PA for the purpose of supporting small business growth, as well as measured local and state tax abatement for small businesses within the city of Erie who are looking to reopen or are first forming during 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?

My first priority would be to provide funding to our residents who were laid off from their positions due to the pandemic, who are unable to return to their previous jobs.

My next priority would be to provide local tax abatement to small businesses who have been able to stay open through the pandemic without citation for ignoring CDC guidelines, as well as establish a pay premium for essential workers within the city.

My third priority would be to fund nonprofits and community centers that have been instrumental in administering Covid tests and vaccines to continue their medical service, to provide mental health services, and to fund future community engagement opportunities.

My fourth priority would be to conduct a survey of the most affected wards and districts in the city in terms of lost household income since the initial state emergency declaration, recruiting community organizations and local students, to effectively determine how to utilize the remaining funds according to the American Rescue Plan regulations.

My fifth priority would be to utilize the funds to establish reliable and affordable broadband access for our residents located in and out of Opportunity Zones.


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 am fully invested in the long-term viability of our city, for our residents now and future transplants. On City Council, I would propose the adoption of a policy to build, buy, and foster clean energy production to create new opportunities for economic change in Erie. With Solar Revolution, an Erie-based solar energy supplier, GE, a leading manufacturer of wind turbines, and the presence of two universities in the city to promote clean energy research and implementation, Erie is provided with the opportunity to significantly invest in the development and study of various clean energy resources in our area. I would propose an investment in electric municipal vehicles and city sponsorship of electric personal vehicle usage, transforming the culture of our intra-city and inter-city transportation networks to spur the economy within our various neighborhoods and for businesses’ supply chains that utilize I-79 and I-90.

I support the progress that the city administration has made in finding and utilizing redevelopment grants, as well as the investment in small businesses through programs like KIVA to provide entrepreneurs with funding sources to establish new businesses, and I believe those programs are indispensable in creating a city that is attractive for its current residents and a magnet to compel enterprising and inspired people to move in. I advocate for a policy of investing in small businesses within designated communities like markets, childcare, and early education, and healthcare to build the foundation for those communities to decide on the future businesses that will best suit their long-term needs and desires. With the resources from programs like the Opportunity Zones and Community Development Block Grants, and with local finance tools like tax abatement and Tax Increment Finance as property values rise and future developments in underserved districts, wards, and census tracts become more attractive, I believe that we will heal our communities from years of neglect.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • erie city council

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