Three vie for Bellevue mayor’s seat

Three Bellevue government veterans are hoping to be elected mayor of Bellevue in next week’s general election, but you’ll find only two names on the official ballot.

Although current Bellevue Council member Jane Braunlich lost the primary Democratic nomination to Paul Cusick, she is now running a write-in campaign that will pit her and Cusick against former council member Joe Scioscia Jr. on the Republican ticket.

Braunlich said that she decided to run the write-in campaign because she was disturbed that Cusick had been a registered Republican for several years before changing his registration back to Democrat just before entering this year’s mayoral race. While a Republican, Braunlich, said, Cusick campaigned for Tea Party-backed candidates such as Tom Smith, who do not reflect the values held by Bellevue voters.

Cusick admits that he did spend time as a Republican, because there were Republican candidates he wanted to support in primary elections, and switching his registration was the only way he could vote for them. When he decided to run for mayor, however, he switched back to being a Democrat "because that's where my support was." He said that voters should support the right person for office, not a particular political party.

Braunlich has been a member of Bellevue Council for the past six years. She currently serves as chair of council's public safety committee, and has been the public works committee chair and council's representative on a number of cooperative efforts such as CONNECT, the Tri-Boros joint planning committee that developed the new zoning code with Avalon and Bellevue, the Quaker Valley Council of Governments and the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce.

Cusick, a retired cable engineer, is currently employed as the borough treasurer. He also is the executive director/treasurer of the John A. Hermann Memorial Art Museum in Bellevue. He is retired as a cable engineer with Verizon, but his current community involvement includes serving as treasurer of the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce and of Bellevue U.P. Church since 1980. He also is president of Metowers, Inc., has served as commandant of the Marine Corps League, Three Rivers Leatherneck Detachment for four terms, is CCDB (Quartermaster) of the Military Order of the Cooties and has volunteered at the Pleasant Valley Shelter for Men for the past 27 years. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Robert Morris University.

Braunlich's community involvement has ranged from preparing meals for senior citizens to Northgate school activities and organizations when her four children were students. She has been active with the Friends of Bayne Library, and volunteered with community events including Bellevue's July 4th celebration and the North Boroughs Independence Day celebration. For the past several years she has served as the vice president of the Bellevue Dog Woods Association, actively involved in raising funds and constructing the new off-leash dog park that opened this year in Memorial Park. She is a longtime Democratic Committee member who has volunteered for numerous party candidates, and currently serves as vice chair of the Bellevue Democratic Committee.

Scioscia served on council for nine years until his National Guard unit was deployed to Iraq in 2008.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in physics from Virginia Military Institute, and has worked in a variety of positions with the military, including technical editor and intelligence officer for the Air Force, an intelligence officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard, and a training officer with the Army Reserves. He also has worked in the private sector, including as a military analyst for Vista Designs Technologies and deputy program manager and management specialist for CSC, which provides worldwide logistics support for electronic warfare.

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