Letters to the Editor Digest
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write a letter to the editor in support of Commissioner Pipe to the Centre Daily Times! This post is updated as letters are published, be sure to check back for new letters.
This election matters. It’s time for Centre County to refocus and reset. Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins can make that happen.
Michael Pipe consistently displays thoughtful and sound leadership. He has focused on reforming the criminal justice re-entry system to limit costly recidivism, and spearheaded the 911 system upgrade. Pipe’s leadership is creating a more humane and safer county. But his contribution is not limited to the county — Pipe advocated and worked for Pennsylvania to offer online voter registration.
Beyond all his work, Pipe is a fine young leader and high-quality person. Pipe knows that our county needs deliberative leadership and is willing to continue his service knowing the responsibility leadership demands.
This year, we also have a great opportunity to add another high-quality individual to the board: Mark Higgins. His vast business experience is invaluable at a time when our county needs solid economic development initiatives. For more than 30 years, Higgins has served in the private sector. He is now offering his wealth of business knowledge, experience and leadership to the voters of Centre County — we cannot pass up this opportunity.
When you add Pipe’s experience in county government and his discerning approach to Higgins’ business experience and desire to serve, Centre County has a winning team.
Pipe and Higgins recognize Centre County is facing a crisis of leadership. Both have the experience, character, integrity and interpersonal skills to provide the leadership our county needs.
I am writing in support of re-electing Mike Pipe for county commissioner.
Pipe has been impressive in his efforts to make life in Centre County better for everyone. He has a record of thoughtful and reasoned responses to many issues and concerns, from criminal justice reform to making county government more accountable.
He has clearly indicated a willingness to take the time to look at all possible sides of an issue and to then act in the best interest of the larger community. This is not always easy or politically expedient but Pipe’s integrity wins out every time.
We have been fortunate to have someone of Pipe’s caliber willing to serve this area. Please get out and vote, and vote Pipe for Centre County commissioner. We need his continued dedication and skills.
The voters of Centre County will elect our three county commissioners on Nov. 3.
This is one of the most important races on the ballot. The commissioners deal with many important issues that affect all our lives; how they decide those issues will determine the future of our county.
We each get to vote for two candidates out of the four running.
My votes are going to Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins.
Pipe is an incumbent and so we know a lot about him. He has an excellent record. He is energetic and has worked hard to make county government more responsive to the people and more transparent and accountable. But he has been a minority of one. His ability to carry out his ideas has been limited by the majority whose views on the issues are often much different from Pipe’s.
I am supporting Mark Higgins because Pipe needs an ally, and I am supporting Higgins because of his unique qualifications for the job. He is a thoughtful and energetic person who is especially interested in economic development. In fact, he makes his living rescuing companies on the verge of collapse. His expertise can help bring new jobs to all of Centre County.
I believe that the Pipe-Higgins team, if elected, will bring Centre County into a new era of progress and increased prosperity.
As a graduate student at Penn State, I get to be part of what makes Centre County so special and unique, but at the same time I know how easy it is to forget about our local community.
With the circus that is national politics and our own busy lives it is simple to write off voting in local elections. But local elections are critical, and decisions made will have far-reaching consequences on education, justice and our well-being in Centre County.
This November we have the chance to vote for two commissioners who will lead Centre County and I hope you will join me in voting for Mike Pipe and Mark Higgins.
Together Pipe and Higgins will work to implement the reforms necessary to keep Centre County thriving.
Pipe has built an impressive record in his short time on the county board. As co-chairman of the Centre County Re-Entry Coalition and vice-chairman of the Centre County Prison Board, he took charge in building programs and partnerships to reduce recidivism by providing more educational and employment opportunities and support for individuals as they leave prison. This will not only save Centre County money but is also the moral thing to do.
Pipe needs a strong ally on the board, and Higgins is the right person for the job. With his background in fixing broken businesses he knows what to do to make Centre County effective in working for us.
The Centre County Commissioners’ Office is in need of a slight overhaul.
There are two candidates who need to be voted in due to their honesty, trustworthiness, due diligence, professionalism and dedication to the job.
These gentlemen are on the right side of the following issues: safe water, clean air, safe roads, safe schools, proper budgeting and good governance.
These two gentlemen are current Commissioner Michael Pipe and candidate Mark Higgins (a good team). These candidates would create a better job performance in the Commissioners’ Office as they are hard workers and level-headed individuals.
I strongly urge everyone to vote for these fine gentlemen who together can better serve the citizens of Centre County.
Listening to voters is the mark of a good elected official. Listening to all constituents — regardless of their age, political affiliation, social standing or campaign donation — is the mark of a truly great one.
Mike Pipe and Mark Higgins exhibit these qualities.
In his nearly four years as commissioner, Pipe has served as a board member and liaison for numerous county offices and non-governmental organizations in the area. He has always gathered opinions from the experts on the issues that face the county, but also from those who will be affected, or who have a particular interest. Pipe may disagree with someone, but he will never be disagreeable.
In his campaigning this year, Higgins has talked with more than 6,000 voters — from their front door to organizational meetings to the Grange Fair. From Millheim to Philipsburg, he has met with people and heard their concerns about the county and how they’d like to see it run. In his current role as a business turnaround expert, Higgins needs to listen to all the stakeholders before he can begin to make effective and positive change.
We in Centre County have two votes on Nov. 3 for the Centre County Board of Commissioners. Please use them both to elect Pipe and Higgins.
Many registered voters don’t realize that they may choose two of the candidates for county commissioner. During his four years in office, Michael Pipe has compiled an impressive record working for greater transparency in Centre County government, reforming criminal justice and serving on the state’s workforce development board as well as many other commissions.
He should be joined by Mark Higgins, who has a proven ability to turn around struggling businesses and has specific plans to attract more businesses to our area.
Please cast your votes for Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
Local elections may not grab as many headlines, but they are much more impactful on our everyday lives than the flashy and soundbite-worthy presidential circuses.
This year’s race for Board of Commissioners presents two candidates who are best for Centre County.
Michael Pipe has already served a term as commissioner, and has accomplished much in that time. More and more, a considerable amount of our business is conducted and information found online. Pipe has worked to improve the county website to make county government more transparent and was part of the process of moving voter registrations from antiquated paper applications to streamlined online forms, which will save taxpayers money.
Mark Higgins wants to make sure that our children, the many Penn State grads that stay in Happy Valley, and the many more who return to seek employment in the area, find good, family-sustaining jobs. He has worked as a business-turnaround expert for more than 30 years, and is currently mentoring four business start-ups in the area — two of which are award-winning so far. Higgins wants to focus on boosting Centre County’s economic development initiatives and making sure we can all have a great career here at home.
I invite all Centre County residents to join me in voting for Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
Let me take you back to the year 1999.
Blink-182’s “All The Small Things” was topping the Billboard charts; “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” broke box office records and we were all worried about the end of civilization with the threat of Y2K. Also, it was the first year Chris Exarchos ran for county commissioner. Career politicians are the last thing that Centre County needs now. Now more than ever, it’s time we inject some new blood into the commissioners office.
I’ll be casting my two votes for Mark Higgins and Michael Pipe. With over 30 years of experience in the private sector, Mark will bring to county government a vast knowledge of making organizations more efficient and effective. His upbeat and positive demeanor will infuse new energy and excitement into county government.
Additionally, Michael Pipe has impressed me with his ability to bring people together and his willingness to work with anyone. We need Mark and Mike’s voices and perspectives in the Centre County Commissioners’ Office. On Nov. 3, please join me in voting for Mark and Michael.
I’m looking forward to voting for Commissioner Michael Pipe on Nov. 3. I believe that Centre County has benefited greatly from having him as one of our commissioners.
I was initially only going to vote for Pipe, but then I learned that I have two votes for county commissioner.
I will be casting my second vote for Mark Higgins. I believe Higgins and Pipe will work together to better Centre County. Higgins strikes me as someone that does not believe that there is a Republican or Democratic way of solving problems — there is only the American way of doing things.
I believe Pipe and Higgins are our best chances of improving government in Centre County.
I was born and raised in Florida, and I attend Penn State. Florida’s importance in national politics makes it easy for the Sunshine State to cast a shadow on local political issues going on in Happy Valley, and we often disregard our status as important player in critical local elections.
This year, I am supporting Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins for the Centre County Board of Commissioners.
Pipe is running for re-election, and was critical in the efforts to make it easier for you and me to register to vote over the Internet. He also made the county websites a window for transparency into government.
Joining Pipe is Higgins, a business-turnaround expert. As someone who is entering the job market in less than a year, I see that most of the jobs not in Philadelphia or New York exist in a place in Pennsylvania where the one local bar is filled with people twice our age.
Higgins wants to make sure that there are more job opportunities right here in Centre County. More opportunities here means that as a student worker, I may have more employment opportunities than just the restaurant industry. He’s the one for the job, as he is working with four businesses right now, two of which won awards.
I urge you to join me in supporting Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
I’m writing in support of Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins for Centre County commissioners because they possess the understanding of the purpose of government and the knowledge and skills to implement strategies to provide that government to the citizens of Centre County in an efficient and effective manner.
The purpose of government is to create an environment in which citizens can flourish. This includes providing for health, safety and an infrastructure that enables people to pursue productive lives. While this needs to be done in a financially responsible manner with good administrative practices, good governance is not measured by a “bottom line” metric.
A government, unlike a business, isn’t a for-profit enterprise. Running a profit at the end of the year isn’t a goal. In fact, unless a debt exists that needs to be paid down, a budget surplus is not necessarily a good thing. There’s no year-end bonus or shareholder dividends to be paid and used as a measure of success, only the well-being of the citizens. Pipe and Higgins represent this view of government.
County commissioners are advocates not just for individual citizens but for local governments in their interactions with other levels of government. In his participation with statewide boards and committees, Pipe has demonstrated this ability.
Please support these two men with your vote on Nov. 3.
There are many people who only complain when decisions are made in their communities with which they do not agree. Then there are those who step up and run for office to be part of the conversation.
A new approach is needed in our township and in so many levels of government. Erin Barto is running for Haines Township supervisor to encourage civic communication. She will work to make Haines Township government a resource where residents can express concerns, ask questions, get answers and find assistance.
Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins want to work together to put our county on the right path. Pipe has worked tirelessly as commissioner to improve how the county works for its citizens by reforming the criminal justice system, increasing access to vote and making government more transparent. Higgins has some practical plans to bring in new industry and keep jobs here, where we need them.
These candidates prove that we can participate in our government and make it better.
You can too!
Vote for Barto, Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
Susan P. Dawson
When you vote for commissioner this year, you can vote for two candidates. This means you can select the team you’d like to see working together to make life better for all people in Centre County, not just a selected few.
In his time as commissioner, Michael Pipe has worked to save taxpayer dollars and reduce recidivism with his work on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board and on the newly formed Re-Entry Coalition. Pipe has advocated for improved mental health services and important resources for re-entering citizens. With these resources, individuals who leave the county correctional facility are less likely to re-offend and are more likely to contribute as productive members of our community.
Mark Higgins has devoted his career to saving and creating hundreds of good-paying jobs in the private sector. Those jobs can support a family and keep young professionals and career people in Centre County. Higgins serves on the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County’s Workforce Development Committee, and his plan for investing in economic development will make us more competitive with other counties in the state and draw in more companies, more jobs that will boost our overall quality of life.
The team of Higgins and Pipe is the most dynamic and forward-thinking choice you can make on Nov. 3 for the betterment of all in Centre County.
Nov. 3 is your opportunity to vote for change in Centre County government.
The main candidates for Centre County commissioners are incumbent Republicans Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos, running against Democrats Mike Pipe, incumbent, and newcomer Mark Higgins. The top three vote getters are elected to serve as commissioners, thus creating a 2-1 majority-minority lineup.
The Republican majority of Dershem and Exarchos has set the tone for the past four years. From the official website: “As the fiscal managers of the County, the Commissioners are responsible for developing and adopting of the annual budget, assessment of property, levying of taxes, and as necessary, the borrowing of funds for construction of capital projects.”
They appoint personnel, supervise county offices and programs, contract on behalf of the county and are involved with various initiatives across the county. We need to elect the best commissioners to carry out this vital leadership role in Centre County.
Despite being in the minority, Pipe has been the voice of reason as commissioner. Higgins, once elected, can bring years of valuable business experience. Together they’ll form an excellent team that will bring level-headed leadership and openness to county government.
Do we really want four more years of what we have now, lasting until 2020?
It is time to elect new leadership for Centre County. It is time to elect Pipe and Higgins as Centre County commissioners. Please vote for both Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
Please vote for Mike Pipe and Mark Higgins for county commissioner on Nov. 3. Here is why:
Pipe has been a great commissioner. He has proven himself a model public servant by researching the issues, promoting accessibility, listening to our interests and practicing responsive, cooperative government. He has improved your access to services, made voting easier and wants to keep mental health from being privatized.
Remember when Pipe was collecting data on the advisability of privatizing Centre Crest? Commissioners Chris Exarchos and Steve Dershem undercut his efforts by voting prematurely to privatize. Pipe’s effectiveness is limited by being in the minority party.
Higgins can change that. Higgins is a business expert whose job has been to make failing businesses successful. He has saved or created hundreds of jobs. Higgins also serves on the Chamber of Business and Industry Workforce Development Committee.
We are often blinded by the wealth in State College. The truth is that Centre County has some of the poorest census districts in the state, and a poverty rate of nearly 19 percent, higher than any surrounding county. We need a commissioner who understands workforce training, business development and the creation of well-paid jobs.
You have two votes for county commissioner. Team Pipe and Higgins would modernize Centre County government to address 21st century issues such as employment, prison reform and affordable housing. Voting for both Pipe and Higgins will change the status quo to a caring, thoughtful, transparent government of and for the people.
Dorothy A. Blair
As a young family in Centre County, we work our hardest to provide every opportunity we can for our children. We also talk to our kids about the responsibilities that come with those opportunities. For them, responsibilities may be as simple as doing chores, helping out and working together. That makes us a great family, and it also goes a long way in getting them the things they want.
For us parents, it’s on a bigger scale; we pay taxes, we obey the laws, we do our research and vote for the people who we believe have our best interests at heart, and in turn, we live in an amazing community with valuable resources and a bright future.
The people who represent and respect our work ethic and well-being are Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins. Pipe has worked hard in many arenas over the past four years, fighting to make sure that Centre County is a safer place that takes care of its citizens. Higgins has saved and created hundreds of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, and now wants to bring his talents to county government.
For those of us who work hard and want to see our community grow into something much greater, we must take responsibility in order to see the opportunities. We must vote for Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
Allen and Toya McGriff
I had the pleasure of completing my absentee ballot earlier this week.
I realized that, as residents of Centre County, we have a great opportunity to create one of the strongest Board of Commissioners we’ve had in recent years. I proudly cast my vote for Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins for commissioners of Centre County.
Commissioner Pipe has demonstrated his commitment to the citizens of Centre County time and again and has worked to ensure continued county well-being.
Higgins, while a newcomer to political office, has a strong background in business management and growth and has already made a serious commitment to become familiar with all aspects of county life. Additionally, he has been extremely active in local chamber of commerce and other county activities for several years.
Regardless of political party, I want commissioners who have integrity and are dedicated to keeping the county strong. I firmly believe both Pipe and Higgins will work diligently to keep our county moving forward.
Janyce K. Mose
Please vote for Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins on Nov. 3.
Higgins is a neighbor, friend and all-around great guy. I trust him to listen to others and work well with everyone to the benefit of all Centre County residents. It is wonderful that a man of such experience and compassion is willing to serve as county commissioner — he deserves your vote.
Voting for Higgins also gives Pipe a chance of leading our county government. As many have written in these pages, Commissioner Pipe is a young man of outstanding talent — just the kind of person we want to make our government work for us. I have met Pipe and was deeply impressed by his wisdom and knowledge: He knows county government inside and out.
The other commissioners have given many years of service, but it’s time to pass the baton to a new generation. Pipe is ready to lead, and Higgins will support him with sage advice and a fresh perspective. Vote Pipe and Higgins!
Like many people I’ve never voted in a local election, but I’ve realized the error of my ways and look forward to placing my votes for Mike Pipe and Mark Higgins.
In his first term as commissioner, Pipe impressed me with his willingness to host and attend meetings around the county, propose ethics reforms and work to find common ground. He showed an openness, curiosity and warmth in time where our politics are increasingly myopic and divided.
Higgins brings extensive knowledge of how to turn around businesses and organizations. His expertise coupled with Pipe’s leadership and experience will help create an environment where well-paying jobs will thrive. This vote is critical as we as a community take steps toward becoming a truly dynamic economy.
I hope you’ll join me in voting to move Centre County toward progress and collaboration Nov. 3; vote for Pipe and Higgins.
Business entrepreneurs need a friend in the Centre County Commissioners Office. I believe that person is Mark Higgins.
Higgins has accumulated 30-plus years of knowledge in business turnarounds and works very closely with four homegrown small businesses in Centre County. Higgins’ ingenuity and experience would be a terrific asset to the board of commissioners.
You have two votes for commissioner on Nov. 3. I’d encourage you to also vote for Mike Pipe, who will be a tremendous help to Higgins’ plans for helping small business grow and prosper here in Centre County. Please vote Higgins and Pipe for commissioner.
In February, Commissioner Michael Pipe proposed a ban on circulating nominating petitions for political candidates in county government office buildings.
Commissioners Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos were not in favor of the ban. Their position concerns me greatly. It seems like a no-brainer that county government employees should not circulate petitions during working hours, or in county buildings for that matter.
I’m throwing my support behind the two candidates who aren’t part of the good ol‘ boys club: Pipe and Mark Higgins. As stated earlier, Pipe has voiced support for making government more transparent. Higgins has also stated that county government needs to be cleaned up.
Vote for Higgins and Pipe for good, honest government.
Despite his best efforts, Commissioner Michael Pipe has been unable to get a second vote from the current majority for votes on ethics reform and removing an official who wasted thousands of our dollars. That’s why I’m voting for Pipe and Mark Higgins this November.
Higgins is a business-turnaround expert who has saved and created hundreds of jobs here in central Pennsylvania. With Higgins on the board, Pipe will have a partner on the board to help pass ethics reform and work to create jobs in Centre County.
Use your two votes to elect the candidates with integrity. Vote for Pipe and Higgins.
Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins are the candidates Centre County needs.
As a former intern for Pipe, I have seen firsthand his leadership and mentoring skills. Through my five months of observation, it became immediately obvious that Pipe deeply cares about our community. He understands the weaknesses of the county, which motivates him to act and improve the areas of greatest need.
He also sees the strengths of our county and builds on them. His passion towards reducing recidivism, improving re-entry and revamping the 911 system proves he recognizes what needs to be done and will do everything in his power to improve imbalances and weaknesses.
Higgins will be a valuable addition to complement the accomplishments of Pipe.
I am highly impressed by both candidates’ desire to give back to the community. For the past year, Higgins has mentored four Penn State startups — the largest of which has 10 full-time employees. He also works with other entrepreneurial groups in the region that focus on retaining young people.
Pipe has been a great mentor to myself, by investing his time to teach students about county government. His willingness to work with a high school student and share his passion for politics is rare and remarkable.
Higgins and Pipe are both candidates that have worked, and will continue to work, for the people of Centre County. On Nov. 3, I encourage you to vote for Pipe and Higgins to ensure Centre County has a solid and successful future.
We need elected officials who listen to their constituents, who value and uphold the law, and who are willing to put in the extra effort required to balance budgets, build our economy, and meet our community’s needs.
We need Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins.
I have known Pipe and Higgins since we were classmates in Leadership Centre County two years ago. Both Pipe and Higgins have a genuine passion for public service and are dedicated to improving the quality of life in Centre County. Together, they would make an excellent team of county commissioners.
Pipe is a consensus builder who carefully weighs other points of view and works toward win-win solutions. Among his many other duties, he is co-chair of the Re-Entry Coalition and a member of the Centre County Prison Board — working hard to ensure a safer community for us all.
Higgins is a successful business leader who has helped retain and create jobs in our community. Before announcing his candidacy, Higgins read the entire 600-page Centre County budget and began formulating strategies to trim costs and better serve the community.
Both are hard workers with the skills needed to effectively serve our community as county commissioners.
Please join me in voting for Pipe and Higgins on Nov. 3.
I met Higgins working on Friends of State High, the bipartisan citizen campaign to pass the State High referendum. Higgins was one of the stalwart canvassers, knocking weekly — if not daily — on doors throughout the SCASD, listening to voter concerns, describing the building plans, and explaining cost-benefits of this community investment. His business experience and determination was invaluable in helping the community find common ground, passing the referendum with more than 86 percent of the vote.
I’ve marveled at Pipe’s contributions to Centre County over the past four years as commissioner — upgrading the 911 system, reforming the criminal justice system. But I was most impressed by the exhaustive research he put into the decision about whether to keep Centre Crest under county government or to turn it over to a private entity. In the end, his recommendation to keep it as part of county government was overruled but he provided invaluable information, keeping the decision process transparent and the decision founded in thorough research.
When Higgins and Pipe put their minds, energies and talents to a project, they get remarkable results.
Two tireless public servants. Two talented leaders. Higgins and Pipe will get my two votes for commissioner on Nov. 3.
Centre County residents have been fortunate to have Michael Pipe as a county commissioner.
He has proven to be a committed, thoughtful and approachable representative. His goal of government transparency was the impetus for his push to redesign the county website and make it more accessible. Pipe has proven that he will demand accountability in local government and he will engage in difficult discussions with tact, professionalism and respect.
We feel that Mark Higgins will complement Pipe’s goal-oriented governing style. Higgins is also open-minded and prioritizes community initiatives. He has more than 30 years of experience as a business turnaround expert and has created and saved hundreds of Centre County jobs.
These two men will work together to create a professional and accountable Board of Commissioners that is both transparent and responsive to the public. We trust that they as a team will bring integrity and respectability to Centre County government as they negotiate the necessary process to transition through current conflicts and guide county officials back to effective and ethical governance.
Dagmar and Nigel Wilson
I’m voting for Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins because they have a passion for service.
As a first-term commissioner, Pipe works tirelessly to find ways to improve county services. As I’ve become more interested in local government, Pipe is always available to answer my questions and provide valuable insight into the many agencies of county government.
With three decades of business-turnaround experience, Higgins knows the importance of customer service. His commitment to door-to-door canvassing, not just as a candidate for commissioner but as an actual commissioner, will change the way we interact with our county government. Imagine a commissioner coming to your door to ask you your opinion about county government!
I’m excited that Pipe and Higgins are running and I can’t wait to vote for them. Please join me in supporting them on Nov. 3.