With the State College Municipal Election quickly approaching, and three of BugPAC’s four endorsed candidates earning spots on the ballot, we wanted to reaffirm our support for these individuals and encourage you to vote on November 7.

The goal of BugPAC when it was created was simple: Make our local government more representative of and welcoming to the people who live here. We believe our three endorsed candidates — Michael Black (Mayor), Dan Murphy (Council), and Evan Myers (Council) — will move State College in a direction closer to this goal.

Dan Murphy’s enthusiasm won him the nomination from both the Republicans and Democrats in the May primary. He has dedicated his career to helping new residents integrate into their new homes as the Director of New Student Orientation and Transition Programs. His energy for this community will be unmatched on Council.

Evan Myers brings extensive experience in local government and a pro-student voting record to the ballot. A local business leader for decades, Myers has always represented all segments of the community. We look forward to supporting his efforts as he embarks on another term.

We also urge you to write-in Marina Cotarelo for the third slot. The anti-student rhetoric put forward by the other three candidates on the ballot, particularly from the other incumbent, is not conducive to a welcoming community and we cannot, in good faith, support them. Cotarelo was runner-up in the May Democratic primary.

Additionally, our support for Michael Black for Mayor continues from the spring. He won 13 of the 19 precincts in the May Democratic primary and was able to secure the Republican nomination via write-in votes. Black puts forward a creative vision for State College that brings everyone to the table. Just take it from the Centre Daily Times, which recently endorsed Black for Mayor:

“While Michael Black cannot point to a political track record or years and years of local government experience, he has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the issues the borough is facing (and likely to face in the years to come). In addition, he has all of the attributes and values we believe State College needs in a mayor for the 21st century, especially because of his approach to community-building and his passion for open, inclusive and data-informed communication. As the State College community continues to experience growth and change, the borough needs a strong, energetic ambassador who can help facilitate conversation and who is dedicated to making sure no resident gets left behind. We believe that Michael Black is the candidate best suited to lead the borough now.”

We have heard from some in the community who were concerned with comments Black made about the possibility of a $100 student-Borough fee at a recent debate. We shared those  concerns, and we would never support a candidate who advocated for a discriminatory mandatory fee for students to live in the Borough. Based on our conversations with Black following the comment, and in his public statements since that debate, we are confident that Black does not support such a fee. If he did, we would have pulled our endorsement. And if any candidate supports any such fee in the future, we will fight to strike it down.

The mayoral race has undoubtedly received the most attention and has elicited the most passion (and vitriol) among various candidates’ supporters. We should note that we have personally met with both of Black’s opponents during the course of this campaign and we have great respect for both of them as people and for their records as public servants. We simply disagree with them on their priorities for State College and on various platform proposals (alcohol taxes and red light cameras, for instance). If either of Black’s opponents are successful in this election, we look forward to working with both of them to achieve the State College we all envision. We believe this to be a more productive use of time than disparaging opponents on Twitter based on hearsay, or simply because they did not receive the nomination of your chosen political party.

You have accomplished much so far in this first year of BugPAC. You helped set an absentee ballot record in the spring primary, with an increase of 543%. You helped expose the illegal and unethical practices of our local broadcasting network, aimed and silencing political opponents.

And on November 7, you will help elect a Mayor and Borough Council that we can all be proud of. Look up your polling location here, and remember to VOTE!

In solidary —

The BugPAC Steering Committee