Janet Anderson held a meet-and-greet this morning at the Erie Intermodal Center to discuss her candidacy for the Pennsylvania State Senate seat recently vacated by 14-year veteran Jane Earll. Anderson is the former executive director of the Northwest Regional Planning and Development Commission, and, like Earll, is a Republican.
Anderson has an extensive background in economic development. “I’ve actually been involved in politics and quasi-governmental entities and organizations since the beginning of my career, so it’s not a new thing for me,” she said. “The first time I worked for an individual who was an elected official was [former governor] Tom Ridge, and I went to Harrisburg doing what I do best, economic development. I travelled all around the world to do foreign direct investment for him, and then came back and worked for [former Erie County Executive] Rick Schenker in economic development and planning, and then went on to work for Senator Earll in her office as her economic development coordinator.”
This experience, she told me, will help her represent the citizens of State Senate District 49 effectively; she cites her knowledge of the process and the people involved, as well as her familiarity with focusing on job creation in northwestern Pennsylvania. “I have a real understanding of what the job is; first of all, I go in and can start running rather than walking. I have a knowledge of the people, the players. They don’t know me, per se, but I know who they are so I know who I need to go to so I can hit the ground running. I think that my background in focusing on jobs and growing the economy will help me to bring money back to this area that perhaps we’ve never looked at before.”
She also believes that this is an important seat; others apparently agree; there rumored to be as many as six additinal candidates circulating nominating positions – five Democrats and one Republican. “Senator Earll has done a great job, so there’s a lot of interest because of the work she has done in the past. People want to get on board and ride her coattails a little bit, I think, but the most important thing is that it is an extremely important position for our region. It’s solely focused on Erie County, which makes that a little more attractive, I think, than some of the Senatorial positions or Representative positions. It’s large enough yet small enough to be handled easily.”
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