MERCER Youth is served in mayor's race
An 18-year-old high school senior appears to be the borough's new mayor.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
MERCER, Pa. -- A push for grants, the creation of a Mercer Revitalization Foundation and a push for recycling are all on the agenda for borough voters who picked a new mayor in Tuesday's primary.
They went for the promise of youth rather than the experience of age.
Democrats had three candidates to choose from and they picked Christopher Portman, an 18-year-old Mercer High School senior.
He beat former Councilman Kenneth R. Vernon, 55, by more than 2-1 and John Kish, 19, a freshman at Youngstown State University, by nearly 4-1.
No Republicans: There were no Republicans on the ballot so, barring any major write-in campaign, Portman has the job.
"I showed that I really want to be there for the voters," he said, noting he pledged to work with borough council to resolve problems.
Portman said he intends to track down and go after government grants to aid borough programs and has lined up experts in grant writing to help.
He said his mother, Cindy, assistant principal at Mercer Elementary School, and other school personnel have offered to help.
I want to create the Mercer Revitalization Foundation," Portman said, explaining he will organize an annual fund-raiser, such as a walk-a-thon, to fund it.
Use for money: The money would be used for incidental expenses such as park benches or flowers around welcome signs, items not covered in the borough budget, he said.
He also plans to urge borough residents to take a more active part in recycling.
Portman said he doesn't intend to be a career politician but he does have some more political ambitions.
A run for Mercer County commissioner may be in his future, he said.