, 22, announced his candidacy in January seeking the Republican nomination to the Pennsylvania State House, 16th Legislative District.
He will face off in Tuesday's primary for the Republican nomination with , who announced her candidacy in February. Both are vying for the seat currently held by Democratic State Rep. Rob Matzie, D, Ambridge. Matzie is running unchallenged in the primary.
Angus, who is single, lives in Harmony Township, Beaver County.
Patch: What is your primary reason for running?
Angus: Education. Economic Development. Good Government. I am running to be an advocate for this area. I am running to be a representative that goes above and beyond the current job description. I am running to bring back the growth and prosperity to this area. I am running to wear out a few pairs of shoes and not the seat of my chair. Our representative needs to do just that, represent us, the people of this district in Harrisburg and I am fully prepared to do that. For years, many parts of this area have been left to feel that they are not good enough for great development or great main streets or great communities to raise a family in. Well, I believe this area is good enough. I believe the people are good enough. I believe in this area and I will fight every step of the way to ensure that District 16 becomes one that others envy. We can do it. I know we can with the right leadership.
Patch: What will be your top priority?
Angus: Education and economic development are tied, but I would have to say public education reform due to my special interest in special education students. I believe that government needs to stop turning to the people they represent to fix their mistakes. I believe that raising local tax dollars is not the way to solve problems. We need to reevaluate and study our spending for education at every level to ensure that we are only funding programs with proven results. It is time for government to be good stewards of public dollars. It is also time for your elected officials to take responsibility for their own actions and act in a responsible manner when allocating these funds.
Also, as an advocate of students with special needs, I will work to make sure students with special needs are taught and educated in Pennsylvania to their fullest potential and beyond. Students with special needs hold a special place in my heart. They need to be offered the same opportunities that all other students are receiving. We need to provide the faculty and these students with the necessary resources to make sure they are being taught to the same level and with the same quality as all other students.
Patch: What sets you apart from the other candidate[s]?
Angus: Energy, enthusiasm, and passion for this community. I am young and willing to burn the midnight oil as they say. I want to put in the long hours, I want to make the tough decisions. Being a young gentleman, I haven’t had the time to join the "good old boys club" and I am certainly not filling out that membership card. I do not owe anyone anything and that is exactly what our leadership in Harrisburg needs.
I am willing to make the hard decisions if it is for the best of the district and I am not afraid to doso. The best candidate is someone with this enthusiasm, and I have it.
Patch: What's your favorite thing about the district you serve?
Angus: Small business owners. I am completely serious. These people are special people to me. Many of these small businesses have struggled through so many hard times. I see them first hand working the long hours to help support their families and stay afloat and it is inspiring. I have a special place for small business owners and a great sense of respect toward them.
Either they or their ancestors took a chance at the "American Dream" and to see those dreams continued today is inspiring. The culture and the selection of food in the district does not hurt either. I love going out to eat and there is nothing like going to the small mom and pop restaurant where you can get everything from a homemade hot roast beef to homemade spaghetti sauce.
Patch: What are your views on the issues you see most important?
Angus: “I have a lot of concerns with public education. As a member of the Ambridge Area School Board, I see firsthand the struggles school districts and parents face everyday. For generations, elected officials decided that taxing people more at the local, state and federal levels was the only answer to improve the education system. I simply with disagree with that premise. The reality is that too much of our hard earned money has gone to pay for bad programs with poor results.
I believe that government needs to stop turning to the people they represent to fix their mistakes. I believe that raising local tax dollars is not the way to solve problems. We need to reevaluate and study our spending for education at every level to ensure that we are only funding programs with proven results. It is time for government to be good stewards of public dollars. It is also time for your elected officials to take responsibility for their own actions and act in a responsible manner when allocating these funds.
Economic development takes work. It takes sweat equity. It takes passion. It takes wearing out a few pairs of shoes and not the seat of your chair. It also takes a representative who cares and is willing to take on the job descriptions necessary to be an efficient legislator. I am born and raised in the Ambridge community. I have grown up listening to the stories and seeing the struggles of local men and women, who at one time had their entire future dependent on the industries of the American Bridge Corporation, J&L Steel or Armco, National Electric, A.M. Byers Corp. and many other companies. These hard working people were left to find new paths for their lives as the steel industry was wiped out from under their feet throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. Today these sites in Beaver County remain stagnate, dilapidated, and they’re a constant reminder for our local community of how thriving our region once was.
It's time to change that. It’s time to create new opportunities, new economic development, and a new 21st century community that can compete in a global marketplace. I see the ground work that has been laid by our ancestors, our great grand parents, grand parents, moms and dads, aunts and uncles. All have been part of making our local communities what they are today. They paved the way and gave us a solid foundation in which to build. Now we must rise to the challenge and strive to create vibrant and prosperous communities again… on our watch. I am asking you to join me. Together, my friends, all things are possible.
As a state representative, I would want to hear from you. I would want to hear your opinions. I would want you to stop me at the diner, the park, the church, the community festival, stop me anytime to talk about something you need. In fact, I encourage it.
It is time to hold politicians responsible. I am ready to be held responsible for the job that I am doing in Harrisburg. As state representative, I would be just that, a representative for the people and business of the communities in District 16. Anybody can press the red button for “no” and the green button for “yes,” but it is about taking what the people of the community need and want and taking that to Harrisburg.
I would be your representative, your voice in Harrisburg. Over the years, a state representative job description has been left open for interpretation. It is about representing the people and that is what I am there for, not my own personal gain, but for the gain of the community.
As a state representative, I would want to hear from you. I would want to hear your opinions. I would want you to stop me at the local diner to talk about something you need. In fact, I encourage it.
Patch: What's the biggest problem facing the state?
Angus: Education. We have to change the way we run public education. The system is crumbling and falling way behind. This is happening in many places across the nation, but I want Pennsylvania to be at the forefront of the “new age” of public education.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add?
Angus: I would just ask for your support on April 24. This is a vital time for this area. We are minutes from “America’s Most Livable City” and I am proud to say I am located in such close proximity to such a great city, but this is our time also. This is the time for this district to ride that roller coaster and rise up from the hurts of the fallen steel industry. We can do it, but the train isn’t going to wait for us forever. Our time is now and I ask for you to join me to make sure we too, can become not just good communities, but great communities.
Related Experience: Angus graduated from Ambridge Area High School in 2008 and is currently working this semester to complete his bachelor's in business and marketing at Duquesne University.
He was elected in 2011 to the Ambridge Area School Board and has been working as executive director of the Ambridge Area Chamber of Commerce since 2009. He also serves on several local boards, including Old Economy and the Ambridge Revitalization Development Corp.
The Pennsylvania primary is scheduled for April 24. Click here for more information about local races and candidates. Check back with Patch for coverage of other local races and more candidate profiles.
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