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: 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
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: Herbert Riede
Erie County Council

Current Employer(s)
C H Reams and Associates
Co-Owns Rabid Nerd in Union City with fiancé 

About Herb
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.

  • 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: Timothy Gostomoski
Erie County Council and Erie School Board

Current Employer(s)
Retired, Verizon
Part-Time, Fisher Security

About Timothy
I was born on 4/24/59 in Forestville NY. I attended Holy Rosary School and St John Kanty Prep. I graduated From Gannon University in 1992 with a BA in Arts and Humanities with a concentration in Political Science and Geography. I have taken several courses since in Education and Computers. I currently belong to the SHU, the Polish Foresters, and the Apartment Association, I am a Life Member of the NRA. I retired from Verizon and own 2 properties in the city. I am single. Formally I was involved in the local Republican Party and was on the Board of Directors of both the SHU and Polish Businessmen 's Club.


Why are you running to be Erie County Council and Erie School Board?

I am worried about the direction we are taking and want this one-time money we receive is not wasted.


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

Economic Development, Infrastructure, and improved Internet access.


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?

What really needs to be done is to see how we can improve the workings of the Erie School District. I have no specific proposals at this time.


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 have no specific proposals at this time.


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?

We need to look at ways of reducing both the tax and regulatory burdens placed on businesses. One place to begin would be to see how we can reduce the scope of government and make it more effective where it needs to act. Throwing more money at problems is not a sustainable strategy in politics or business.


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?

It should be spent on one-time projects and expenses for example paying down debt. It should not be used to prop up continuing expenses.


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 in favor of Opportunity Zones, Tax Abatement , Land Tax reform and other tools to spur economic growth not redistribution. We need a bigger pie not smaller pieces and growth is what will accomplish that.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • erie county council
  • erie school board
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: Carl Anderson
Erie County Executive

Current Employer(s)
Self-Employed; Historical Researcher
Erie County Councilman

About Carl
Carl Anderson, III has represented Erie County Council’s District 4 since 2018. Mr. Anderson currently serves as the Chairman of County Council, Chairman of the Pleasant Ridge Manor Board of Directors, Chairman of the Erie County Retirement Board, and Co-Chair of the COVID Impact & Economic Revitalization Committee. Chairman Anderson is the liaison to the City of Erie, the Erie County Community College, the Erie County Convention Center Authority, Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, ECRDA/All Related Boards, Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership, Erie Western PA Port Authority, and VisitErie.

Anderson is an entrepreneur and self-employed historical researcher and consultant and has been actively involved in a variety of community events and historical projects over the years, including the George Washington Park in Waterford, the World War I Centennial remembrance and the Empower Erie Board of Directors.

Anderson is passionate about economic development and revitalization of the community, saying, “Bringing jobs to Erie and creating an environment for economic development is critical for our community. I want to ensure we have a bright future here for our children and grandchildren.”

Anderson grew up on Erie’s east side, where he continues to live today. He is a graduate of Erie Tech Memorial and Mercyhurst University, where he earned a Contract Major Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Political Science in 1992 and a BA in Education in 1993.

He joined Prudential Securities in 1995 as a financial adviser; from 1996 to 2005, he was the vice president for investments with Morgan Stanley. Since 2005, he has operated his own business, doing historical research and consulting. He is the country’s foremost expert on General Jacob Bayley, and he has authored and co-authored historical books and articles. Anderson also lectures on the American colonial and revolutionary eras, as well as Erie County history.

Anderson has dedicated much of his time on Erie County Council in advocating for opportunities for higher education through the creation of a standalone community college. He believes education in itself can be effective in reducing poverty levels, and he is committed in creating an environment where the County of Erie can thrive and grow as a community. In June of 2020, Anderson’s persistence paid off, and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education granted Erie County’s application for Community College.

Anderson and his wife, Evelyn, have two children, Carl IV and Autumn Rose.


Why are you running to be Erie County Executive?

Erie County has a once and a lifetime opportunity to propel itself into the 21st century. For years we have heard, “Erie is years behind other counties”. The American Rescue Act money will put us in the position to address many of the issues that have caused us to fall behind. I believe my ability to work “across the aisle” and get things done puts me in the perfect position to lead our County in becoming the community it was always meant to be.


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

1: Broadband and new unique local industries increasing JOBS. By creating new and progressive ways to increase revenue and take the burden off the property taxpayer - such as the 1 percent local option sales tax which has been a priority in my platform for many years. At least 20 percent of this new revenue would go toward economic development. Broadband is a vital component for economic success and jobs.

2: Supporting small and large business retention and growth. Giving businesses the tools to survive, stay and grow and attract new businesses by giving them the tools to succeed. Additionally balancing that with a trained workforce that makes a family-sustaining wage so the workers can stay here. It is all about unity - business owners and workers are vital to each other. Increasing the number of job opportunities!

3: Education on every level. Education is the cornerstone of all successful communities. Early intervention - Pre-K, Police Athletic League, Youth Leadership, Eagle's nest, Character Be About It, our Community Centers - are vital programs. Lifelong workforce development and training will always be necessary components to our community. Without question, the community college is a key element tied directly to our community's success. I have and will always remain an unwavering champion for the community college. Very few have done more work than I have in fighting for this community resource and no elected official will fight harder than me for its success and for creative ways to fund it so it is not a burden to our property taxpayers. As we prepare our workforce for local jobs. 


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 believe in my position as County Executive, I will be able to do even more as a champion of education here in Erie County. I will coordinate with state officials, federal officials, and our local philanthropic community to ensure our community college is a lasting economic driver in our county’s future.


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? 

Trust and building relationships between our healthcare workers and the communities in which they are surviving. Also by investing in the Health Dept. itself. Building community partnerships with our local healthcare providers will also benefit the overall public health system.


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?

While serving on County Council, we set up programs from CARES funds to ensure the survival of small businesses in our community. With the large amounts of money that are coming into our community, we need to set aside a portion to ensure the survival and growth of our small business community because they are the backbone of our economy.


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?

As County Council President I created the Covid Impact and Revitalization committee with the anticipation we would have these funds. Through collaboration, cooperation, unity, and trust is how we will best leverage the funds in our community. The county government technically only has $52,000,000 coming our way. Through various silos it could be an additional $100,000,000 in funds. If the American Jobs and Rescue Act passes we could possibly have additional $500,000,000 million dollars. This will be our greatest chance at transforming Erie County into the area it was always meant to be. I have also proposed that every municipality and school district have the autonomy to set their own priorities and select a representative to present their respective group’s priorities to a countywide task force. We would collaborate and leverage funding where we can in the most strategic way.


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 most alternative revenue-generating programs that will progressively move our community forward. We need to keep more money in Erie County and less in Harrisburg. I believe Project Labor Agreements, Opportunity Zones, and TIFs can all be beneficial to our economic development, as long as they are used strategically and not at the detriment of public services.

  • meet the candidates
  • government affairs
  • erie county executive
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: Tom Spagel
City of Erie Mayor

Current Employer(s)
Stanganelli's Italian Foods

About Tom
Graduated East High, 1985
Graduated Gannon University: BS, Economics 1992; MBA 1996
US Air Force: Intelligence Analyst 1985-1989
US Army Intelligence Officer: 1989-2010 (Retired Major)
Two Tours in Iraq, (Bronze Star Recipient)
Owner, Stanganelli's Italian Foods for 28 years
Adjunct Professor at Gannon University and Edinboro University
Erie School Board Member 2013 to Present
Current or Prior Board Member of: YMCA, Saints & Sinners, IU5, Erie County Veterans Park, Times-News Editorial Board, Erie Maennerchor


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

To create opportunity for our children. My wife and I just love Erie and we feel that Erie needs sound leadership to guide us to success.


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

Job Creation, Restructure Erie's Financial Strategic Plan, Build relationships with the Erie School District, Harrisburg and D.C.


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?

Absolutely! Coming from an educational background, I believe there is nothing more important than providing any level of education that is appropriate for a person's age level, skill level and desired employment objective.


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 need to work with our businesses to see what they need to be able to address the public health issues. The Community School Programs the Erie School District, in collaboration with the United Way, is a great example of what we can do to improve the underserved citizens of Erie.


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 would work with state legislatures to ensure the raise in minimum wage will be done in a reasonable and responsible manner. I agree the wage needs to be increased but at a pace that will not overburden small businesses. It should be tiered by age as a 16-year-old high school student is not expected to perform at the same level of an adult. It should also be tied to the cost of living of particular areas. As an example, Erie does not have the same cost of living as Philadelphia.


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?

With this funding, I would allocate a significant portion to a fund that would loan out funds in blocks of $100,000 and tie those funds to job creation. Even if you charge only a quarter of a percent on the loans, it will provide an opportunity to start companies, provide a needed financial injection to companies that need it and create jobs for Erie's citizens.


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 in absolute favor of applying for a CRIZ. It has worked in Lancaster and I believe this program will have immediate and long term benefits for Erie. As a member of the Erie School Board, I voted for LERTA and it has shown to be successful.

  • meet the candidate
  • government affairs
  • city of erie mayor

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