Dozen Republican hopefuls apply for Frick's seat
November 08, 2013 10:59 AM
by SAM KUSIC

A former banking executive, a community planner, a township supervisor and a pastor are among the 12 Indiana County Republicans vying for outgoing Commissioner Dave Frick’s seat.  

The identities of the candidates were revealed today in a press release issued by the county’s Republican committee. The candidates are:

• Leonard A. Anderson, of Indiana. Anderson is a former teacher and a longtime Indiana Area school board member. He served roughly 26 years before losing a re-election bid in 2009.

• Kenneth Ault, of Indiana. Ault is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He has served on active duty in the Army, and he served in the National Guard, and the Army Reserve.

• Michael Baker, of Indiana. Baker is the outgoing Indiana County coroner and works for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office.

• Travis Bieda, of Clarksburg. Bieda is a state committeeman and the chief of staff for state Rep. Eli Evankovich, R-Murrysville.

• Leann Chaney, of Blairsville. Chaney is the Blairsville Community Development Authority’s executive director and the county’s former chief planner.  

• Gregory S. Cornman, of Blairsville. Cornman is the machine shop department head for Joy Mining Machinery in Homer City.

• Bonni S. Dunlap, of Blairsville. Dunlap is executive director of the county’s human services department.

• Carson Greene Jr., of Indiana. Greene left First Commonwealth Bank in 2007, stepping down as senior vice president. He remains active in the community and is a founding board member of the Jimmy Stewart Museum Foundation.

• Donna M. Griffith, of Indiana. Griffith is a former university professional, having served as the assistant dean of administration at IUP. 

• R. Michael Keith, of Clymer. Keith managed the former PolyVision plant in Dixonville and is a Rayne Township supervisor.

• Micah P. McMillen, of Indiana. McMillen is the pastor at of Old Mahoning Baptist Church in Home.

• John E. Poorbaugh, of Blairsville. Poorbaugh is a United school board member.

County Republicans will select one of the 12 next month to fill out the remainder of Frick’s term.

Frick, 78, announced earlier this fall that he had decided to step down at year’s end because he didn’t want his advancing age to impede what he considers to be the good work being done by the commissioners.

Republicans will meet Dec. 5 to recommend one of the candidates to Indiana County President Judge William Martin, with whom the final say-so on the appointee rests.

The committee is to arrive at a recommendation through several rounds of voting on an appointee. The committee’s bylaws state that the successful candidate must take at least 50 percent of the committee’s votes, plus one more.

Although Martin has to make the final decision, it is more likely than not that he will appoint whomever the committee recommends.

Between now and then, the candidates will be campaigning for the job, taking time to make their case with the Republican committee.

 Jesse Daniel, chairman of the county Republican committee, said he was surprised at the number of candidates — he had been expecting about eight.

Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise, he said, and the committee is pleased with the candidates.

“They have broad, substantive experience that would make each of them an excellent addition to the team of commissioners currently in place,” he said.

 He said that in the committee’s view, one of the chief criteria for the candidates is the ability to work well with the other two commissioners, Republican Chairman Rod Ruddock and Democrat Patty Evanko.

 “The main thing we want is someone who can continue the great work they’re doing,” Daniel said.

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