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Centre County Board of Commissioners {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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    Steven Dershem

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    Chris Exarchos

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    Mark Higgins

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    Michael Pipe

Biographical Information

If elected, what will be your three top priorities, and how will you address them?

Campaign Website
Date of Birth June 1961
Education Bellefonte Area High School, B.A. Labor Studies, Penn State University
Qualifications Extensive business, community and government leadership experience.
Facebook @Dershemcommissioner
Twitter @DershemSteve
Many of the challenges facing the next board of commissioners will be financially related. Maintaining the mandated and necessary services that Centre County performs, while keeping tax rates stable will occupy most of the efforts of the next board. Challenges with flat or decreasing federal and state human service funding, while addressing ever increased costs of operation will certainly remain a focused priority for me into the future.

Addressing the impact of the heroin and opioid crisis will also be an important priority. Continued collaboration between law enforcement, the medical treatment, and recovery and education communities must be promoted and strengthened, with the recognition that other substance abuse issues are also on the rise.

Partnering with community humane organizations and volunteers, I believe that our county correctional facility could be a hub for abandoned animal care and human rehabilitation. I will make researching and implementing a successful program a priority.
Campaign Website
Date of Birth 09/05/44
Education Ph.D Penn State
Qualifications Two terms College Township Council Two terms Centre County Commissioner
Facebook Chris Exarchos, candidate for Centre County Commissioner
1. Mental Health: The county should be investing additional resources in mental health services, and not be in the electric utility business. They can buy "green" energy over the grid. Instead, the $1.6 million allocated for solar panels could have been used to provide additional lifesaving mental health services.

2. Rural Broadband: The cost to extend the infrastructure over great distances to serve small populations is prohibitive for private providers. A comparable electricity problem was solved by the Rural Electrification Act. We need a similar program for broadband. We need to work with our State and Federal partners to find ways to incentivize the private sector, or form cooperatives.

3. Fiscal Management: The $5 vehicle registration tax should be repealed. The flat tax is not fair for all vehicle owners.The County doesn't own any roads or bridges. There are better ways to achieve the same goals.
Campaign Website
Date of Birth July 2, 1963
Education Graduated in three years from Michigan State University with majors in General Business Prelaw, Marketing, and Human Resources and a minor in Computer Science, 1984. Leadership Centre County Graduate 2014.
Qualifications Commissioner since 2016. Commissioner Higgins currently serves on 32 authorities, boards, and commissions at the local, regional, state, and national level. Over thirty years as a business turnaround expert and, over that time, has saved and created hundreds of jobs at seven different businesses.
My priorities are:

1. Continue to improve the quality of life in Centre County – utilizing innovative problem solving skills I developed as a business turnaround expert saved taxpayers millions, resulting in no county property tax increases. I will use further savings to reduce incarceration, improve county services and increase funding for children, seniors, mental health, public libraries and other areas.

2. Diversify our economy and help create jobs – increase innovative county support, funding and public private partnerships that opened three business incubators, supported entrepreneurs, and recruited, retained and created over 330 new non-university jobs.

3. Support our rural communities and agriculture – we preserved record farmland acreage in 2018 with more scheduled for preservation. Rural broadband is crucial to the sustainability of agriculture and rural communities. I would expand our successful public private partnership to provide broadband service to more underserved areas. I will continue working to help farmers in crisis.
Campaign Website
Date of Birth September 9, 1985
Education 2009, Pennsylvania State University, B.A. Political Science; 2014, Leadership Centre County; 2015, National Association of Counties' County Leadership Institute
Qualifications Centre County Commissioner, 7 years; Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, 4 years; C-NET Board of Directors, 7 years; Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board Liaison, 4 years; Centre County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, 7 years; Centre County Fire Chiefs Association Liaison, 7 years; Centre County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Invention Advisory Board, 7 years; Centre County Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordinating Committee, 7 years; Centre County Prison Board of Inspectors, 7 years; Centre County Re-Entry Coalition, 5 years; Chamber of Business & Industry Centre County Board of Directors, 3 years; County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania – Elections Reform Committee Co-Chair, 3 years
I’m running for re-election to create a better future for the residents of Centre County. My top priorities are continuing to support our first responders, to reform our criminal justice system, and to invest in workforce development. The Board of Commissioners has invested in our first responders, making sure they have the tools to keep themselves, and us, safe. We dedicated $1.2 million into the expansion of the Public Safety Training Center and are committed to its future sustainability. I've collaborated with community members on our Re-Entry Coalition, promoting the successful return of incarcerated citizens to our community, and will continue to support effective programs that divert eligible individuals from repeated incarceration. Further, we have increased treatment programs for incarcerated individuals with mental health and substance abuse illnesses and we will pursue additional services. I’m honored to serve on both the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and the regional workforce development organization, and will focus on supporting strategies to create more opportunities for people to find family-sustaining employment.