Final election results from the Nov. 2 election have made it official: Meadville has its first female mayor, Jaime Kinder.
In fact, women are taking their places in various positions around the county.
Come January, Meadville City Council will have a female majority as Gretchen Myers and Kinder will join Autumn Vogel. Council will retain its Democratic majority as well as all but Jim Roha are Democrats.
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At the same time, Maryann Menanno, I believe is the city’s first female city manager.
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And, at the county level, the fair board now has three women as members.
It was too many years ago that the first female, Diana Perry, was named to the board. Although she has since resigned, three other women — Kathy Klink, Brenda Schmidt and the recently appointed Cheryl Hamilton — have joined the board of nine members.
Currently, board members are appointed by region — western, central and eastern Crawford County. However, it appears that is going to change to make only two from each region and the other three will be “at-large” — meaning anybody could be appointed.
That should be interesting in the future.
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That mirrors some attempts at the statewide level in how appellate court judges are elected. Currently, they are elected at a statewide level.
Attempts have been made to change the state Constitution to elect state judges via a regional level, meaning candidates would be nominated from regional districts.
Proponents believe it would give more diversity to the courts as many believe Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have a monopoly on the courts because of their high population.
Such a move would take a Constitutional amendment.
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And, also at the county level, come the end of the year, we will have our first female district attorney — Paula DiGiacomo, who will succeed Francis Schultz when he takes his oath as the third Crawford County judge.
She will serve the rest of Schultz’s term (two more years) and then will have to run for election.
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Crawford County has had a female commissioner — for a brief period. As memory serves me right, it was in the 1940s when a woman was appointed to fill the vacancy created when her husband (who was a commissioner) died while still in office. However, when it came time to run for office, she declined.
And, although several women have run for commissioner, none have been elected.
Will 2023 be the year that happens? I heard several women are thinking about it, but not certain how serious they are.
I guess time will tell.
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In the meantime, 2022 will be interesting as Pennsylvania will elect a new U.S. Senator and a new governor. Many names are being heard, but the line-up changes almost daily so we really won’t know until February when nominating petitions are circulated.
Of course, there may be more names surface as the Pennsylvania Society meets this weekend in New York City. It is often an insight into the state-wide candidates.
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The death of Darel Cooper brought some memories back as well. His obituary notes he was a juvenile probation officer and developed the community service program for juveniles.
I recall that he had juveniles building wooden bridges (i think at the Erie Wildlife Refuge) and he not only had the juveniles working, he supervised them and taught them a lot. He was a very dedicated officer and was proud of how the juvenile offenders responded to the program.
Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.
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