6 vie for 4 Ben Avon nominations

There are lots of Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for four four-year seats on the Ben Avon borough council. The candidates are: Megan Griffin Dolan, Henry Casale, incumbents Russell Kuehner and Richard White, along with David Stoeckle Jr. and Jennifer Bett.

Identical questionnaires were sent to each candidate. Richard White is the only candidate who did not respond. The others’ responses are printed here.

Education and work background
Bett: B.A. Communication Studies, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; M.P.M. Carnegie Mellon University, concentrating on non-profit management. Over 25 years working as a project manager, small business owner and entrepreneur. Most recently managing intellectual property and government compliance for Carnegie Mellon University’s technology transfer office.

Casale: University o Of Pittsburgh B.S. in Pharmacy 1979; University of Pittsburgh School of Law 1984; Partner, Horty Springer & Mattern PC. 1984-present

Griffin Dolan: I'm an attorney and I work in the Compliance Department at Federated Investors. My current position is Senior Investment Management Compliance Officer. I have worked at Federated for almost 12 years. Before that, I worked in the Trust Department at a large regional bank.

Kuehner: Point Park University grad. Teacher of English/History of American Narrative Film ;Instructional Teacher Leader for the Academic Staff, CAPA ; Facilitator for the CAS Program, a program for the academically gifted, CAPA; Lead writer for the revised CAS Curricula for Pittsburgh Public Schools; Coordinator for the Middle States Accreditation, CAPA; Curricula Editor for Pittsburgh Public Schools;
Coordinator for the Blue Ribbon Schools Program of the United States Department of Education; CAPA was named a Blue Ribbon School in 2009; AP Coordinator, CAPA; Trained mediator for the student faculty mediation program for Pittsburgh Public Schools; Faculty Sponsor for the school’s yearbook, ski club, and student council.

Stoeckle: I earned a Bachelor of Science from Edinboro University in Education and taught Chemistry and Physics for a few years. For the past 18 years I have been an IT professional and a project manager for the last 12, achieving the Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute in 2009.

Prior/current political involvement, offices , etc
Bett: Volunteered in prior presidential campaigns; licensed Notary Public’ currently am secretary for the Ben Avon Democratic Committee; attended the Woman’s March in Washington, D.C. in January and continue to #Resist.

Casale: No prior political office. H have volunteered to help in a couple of campaigns.

Griffin Dolan: Prior Girl Scout volunteer; currently secretary for the Avon Club; serve as board member with Community Theatre Players of Ben Avon; committee member of the Friends of the Ben Avon Bookmobile; secretary for the Ben Avon Democratic Committee.

Kuehner: Currently a member of the Ben Avon Borough Council, appointed in August, 2016. Past membership in the Ben Avon Democratic Committee.

Stoeckle: I have not previously held elected office.

Prior/current community involvement
Bett: No response

Casale: I currently serve on the Board of Directors of The Bradley Center. I have also served as a Hearing Panel member for the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Disciplinary Board and am a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the American Health Lawyers Association, and the American Bar Association. I have also served as regular speaker at the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Annual Health Law Institute in Philadelphia;

Griffin Dolan: My husband and I relocated to Pittsburgh after law school almost 17 years ago. Sometimes I think we are the anomaly, as neither of us are Pittsburgh or PA natives, because we choose Pittsburgh as our home.

Kuehner: Ben Avon Council is my first community involvement.

Stoeckle: I have volunteered for the Avonworth Athletic Association as an assistant coach

Why are you running for office?
Bett: I have lived in Ben Avon for almost 23 years with my husband, Michael, and our two teen-age daughters. From the day we moved in, Ben Avon has been the perfect fit for my family; offering so much in education, community and spirit. Now it is time to give back. Iam running for Council to be your voice in Ben Avon promoting honest government, strong public safety, and preservation of our infrastructure and community.

Casale: For the past 17 years I have lived in Ben Avon with my wife, Dana and our two children, Maddy 19 and Sam 17. I have enjoyed living here and have a great deal of respect for those who have agreed to volunteer their time to serve on council. When I found out that there were several openings on council, I decided to run for one of those openings as part of a slate of candidates that includes Melanie Holcomb for Mayor and fellow candidates for the Ben Avon Borough Council, Jen Bett, David Stoeckle and Megan Dolan.

Griffin Dolan: There are two main reasons why I've decided to run. First, my husband and I are raising our three children in this community and want to make sure we are actively working to make it a vibrant community. I also feel that I'm at a point in my career where I have the resources to give back and as I researched non-profit board participation opportunities I was presented with this opportunity and decided the best use of my time and skills was to give back to my community.

Kuehner: I am running for Ben Avon Council because I enjoy giving back to the community that I love. Being retired allows me to work in the Borough Office on Tuesdays and Thursdays helping the staff.

Stoeckle: I grew up in Bellevue and prior to moving to Ben Avon my wife Lisa and I lived in Brighton Heights for twelve years. When we decided to move we targeted Ben Avon because we both loved the beautiful homes and tree-line streets. Much to our delight the sense of community we found exceeded our hopes and those that welcomed us have become dear friends. Lisa and I feel blessed to be raising our children, Isaac 10 and Sara 7, here and I want to have a voice in the decisions that shape our community by serving on Ben Avon Council. I am excited to be on the slate of candidates endorsed by the Ben Avon Democratic Committee.

What experience, personal qualities, etc will you bring to the office, if elected?
Bett: As an incessant volunteer, alumni of Carnegie Mellon University with a master in public management and a veteran project manager with over 20 years of experience in non-profit, small business, entrepreneurship, and higher education, I consider serving on Ben Avon Council as an opportunity to utilize my broad and strong set of project management, problem-solving, and collaboration skills for a greater good. I am experienced in coordingating multiple projects and tasks with competing deadlines; administering large-scale budgets; spearheading fund-raising effors; and successfully writing grants and project proposals. I possess exceptional interpersonal, communication and customer service skills. I will bring all of these qualities and skills to the Ben Avon Council to be your voice.

Casale: I have worked in Oakland as a health care attorney since 1984. Living in City of Pittsburgh before moving to Ben Avon as well as my daily commute to Oakland makes me appreciate our home in Ben Avon, our neighborhood, and Borough services such as the Ohio Township Police, street maintenance, garbage pickup, leaf and snow removal and the availability of a local volunteer fire department. My job as a heath care attorney specializing in transactions that involve tax exempt hospitals and physicians has provided me with a great deal of experience interpreting very technical state and federal laws and regulations and working with a wide variety of individuals and institutions. I try to take an “interest based” approach to resolving disputes and negotiating transactions and, whenever possible, try to reach common ground in as amicable manner as possible. I hope to have the opportunity to utilize this experience to address whatever issues may come before the Council.

Griffin Dolan: No response

Kuehner: As a retired teacher, Pittsburgh CAPA, my experience as a leader in education for Pittsburgh Public Schools allows me to help the Borough do whatever is asked of me.

Stoeckle: If elected I will bring a unique skillset and professionalexperience with me including: budgetary discipline, team building, contract negotiation and conflict resolution. I have used these skills to implement successful solutions for my clients ranging from the straight forward to the complex and from those costing tens of thousands of dollars to tens of millions.

Why should people vote for you?
Bett: I am deeply committed to Ben Avon and want to be your voice in government. I want to hear your thoughts and suggestions as to how Ben Avon can be even better. I want residents to love this neighborhood as much as I do and to reap the benefits of all that our local, country, state and federal government has to offer.

Casale: I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet a number of neighbors, many for the first time, by going door to door and by attending other functions as a result of my decision to run for this position. I hope to help those neighbors by serving on the Ben Avon Borough Council and would appreciate their vote on May 16th.

Griffin: No response

Kuehner: I am a 24 year resident of Breading Avenue in Ben Avon. I have the time, the ability, and the dedication to do the work of the Borough.

Stoeckle: No response

Any other statement you would like to make?
Bett: I would like to thank The Citizen for the opportunity to have a wider-reaching public voice and to the Ben Avon Democratic Committee for endorsing me and my fellow candidates: Jennifer A. Bett, Henry Casale, Megan Dolan and David Stoeckle, are running to ensure stewardship of our vibrant community; enhance communication and transparency between the borough and residents as well as have a proactive and positive approach to improvement projects and neighborhood events. Please consider voting for us on Tuesday, May 16, at the Ben Avon Fire Hall between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Casale: None

Griffin Dolan: None

Kuehner: I am running independently because the work of Council is not partisan, and although I am a lifelong Democrat, I am not endorsed by the Ben Avon Democratic Committee. The committee endorsed four candidates without giving all six candidates the opportunity to ask for its endorsement.

Stoeckle: None