For the 2021 election cycle, VOW is endorsing Sara Deegan for Greensburg-Salem School Board and Ceil Kessler and Yukie King for Greensburg City Council. These candidates have earned VOW’s endorsement because like us, they’re fighting for a new kind of politics in Western Pennsylvania. They have a clear vision for a better future: where the wealthiest few pay their fair share, and everyone — Black, white and brown, native and newcomer — can earn a good living and have a good life; our schools have the resources needed so that every child can pursue their dreams; and all families can get the care they need to get and stay well.
PA United Candidate Pledge
1. We won’t take corporate cash.
We promise to run a local, people-funded campaign. We will not take a penny from corporate PACs, corporations, or landlords that profit off exploitation.
2. We will always stand with poor and working-class people, whether black, white, or brown, to make a better future for all of us.
We will always stand with people who are working the hardest, whether it’s for low or even no wages. We will never cross a picket line, and remember that our fight is with the 1%, big business, and the powerful few who protect them –not with each other.
3. We commit to building a multi-racial, multi-generational grassroots movement.
We will run and govern as an expression of this movement, not as individual saviors. We will focus on issues, organize alongside people of all races, classes, and genders during our campaign, and govern together when we win.
What do we want to do?
GOVERN WITH YOU
In a small city like Greensburg, we can work together to make real changes that benefit the community. We want to govern by listening to those who have been alienated from local politics, and through forms of participation that transfer decision-making processes away from government officials to the local community.
How will we do it?
- Empower residents to make collective decisions about the city budget. One of the most exciting things we can do as a city is to empower residents to collectively decide how to spend public money. We can implement participatory budgeting, which will make a percentage of our city budget open to democratic decision-making.
- Citizen Councils / Community Organizations. As needed, we want to create citizen councils to study and advise on health and environmental issues facing residents. In addition, we will work with community organizations that have taken on the work that our government has neglected: building relationships with community members built on respect, listening and trust.
- Work with school administrators to ensure information is disseminated in a process that works for staff and parents alike.
- Encourage all people to speak up by maintaining social media, email, and physical presence in the community.
Greensburg City’s poverty level is approximately 20%, roughly double the county average of about 10%. We will target our city resources directly toward root causes of poverty in our community, like the lack of safe and affordable housing, transportation, health services, and job training. This feeds directly into the daily lives of students whose basic needs must be met so that they can focus on learning instead of worrying about what’s happening at home.
How will we do it?
- Update zoning laws. We support changes to the zoning ordinance that would allow for more multi-family homes, increase the number of affordable units per lot, and increase access to transportation by funding flexible transit options and providing better and safer bus routes & stops.
- Protect vulnerable LGBTQ+ and Homeless residents. We must introduce in Greensburg an anti-discrimination ordinance that explicitly adds gender identity and sexual orientation as protected categories to help end housing discrimination. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s legal guidance already seeks to amend this protection. We can use a proven data-driven approach and bring together community resources to help end chronic homelessness.
- Direct COVID Relief Funds back into the community. Greensburg will receive a total of $1.47 million in federal COVID relief funds. Half of this money has already been distributed. If elected, our candidates will work with the community to ensure that the remaining federal response funds are distributed equitably and to those most in need, with an emphasis on raising awareness, improving housing, addressing healthcare problems including mental health, and enhancing transportation.
- Help families rise out of poverty by making decisions that prioritize strong, innovative education.
- Provide access to STEAM arts, music, library and other essential programs for all students & restore the library program with trained school librarians.
- Look for ways to assist families through wraparound services, such as pairing with outside organizations to meet students’ basic needs.
STRENGTHEN OUR COMMUNITY
We believe that all residents, no matter what you look like or where you’re from, should have a voice, be welcome and feel safe here in Greensburg. We will put the success of education and the health of our community as top priorities in decision making. Quality education is directly linked to stronger communities. When the School Board and City Council work together, we will create a strong school district that attracts and sustains families and businesses.
How will we do it?
- Promote COVID vaccine awareness and facilitate equitable vaccine distribution through ongoing community education and coordination with community groups.
- Provide better mental health access by placing pressure on county leaders to pay public mental health professionals a salary that’s closer to private wages, and/or set aside city dollars to augment the salaries of those who come to Greensburg to work.
- Help establish neighborhood hubs. We believe every neighborhood should have a community hub. Neighborhood hubs can host block parties, clean-ups, neighborhood meetings, tool libraries, and other resources. We want every resident to feel connected and supported, and to have opportunities to engage in their community.
- Look for ways to set up in-kind donations and programs with the many nonprofits in the district who currently do not add to the district’s funding.
- Put pressure on the state leadership who make decisions around funding formulas and charter school funding.
- Work with outside organizations to create a community that feels safe for people of all backgrounds to want to work and live here so that we can maintain teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Meet Our Candidates
Greensburg-Salem School Board
Yukie King and Ceil Kessler
Greensburg City Council