Feb. 12—MERCER — Local residents will be seeing the Mercer County commissioners on the road this year, Ann Coleman, the commissioners' chair said.
Coleman talked about those plans at Mercer County Republican Party's event to sign candidate ballot petitions. The event was held at Brandy Springs Park in Mercer.
"The forum is going to be town hall meetings, not a formal (Mercer County) commissioners meeting," she said.
The first meeting is set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 19, at Lakeview High School. The three other town hall meetings will be held in the Shenango Valley, Grove City and Greenville with sites and dates to be determined.
"This is a chance for voters to talk to us about their concerns and ideas," Coleman said.
Also in the works is tackling a new comprehensive plan for Mercer County, she said. The plan would be a report that covers a wide range of topics, including parks and recreation, zoning, economic development and utilities. The last comprehensive plan was created 15 years ago.
"We need to get a handle on what Mercer County wants to be like in 20 years," she said. "And we want this plan to be made so that it's understandable."
Commissioners will work with the Mercer County Regional Planning Commission in creating the plan, Coleman said. Communities and residents will be able to provide comments, and the commissioners will hold public meetings to hear recommendations. It will likely take over a year to craft the plan.
This year, Pennsylvania voters will cast ballots for the president, U.S. representatives, the attorney general, treasurer, state representatives, state senators from odd-numbered districts and the U.S. Senate seat held by Robert Casey, a Democrat who has been in office since 2007.
The local GOP is hosting a gathering to meet Dave McCormick, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. The event is 12:30 p.m. Saturday at local Republican headquarters at 124 S. Diamond St., Mercer.
McCormick, a Washington County native who attended high school in Columbia County, finished second to Dr. Mehmet Oz in the 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary. Oz lost in the general election to U.S. Sen. John Fetterman.
"Casey is much more active in election years than other years," Coleman said. "We need someone who's available all the time and is devoted to representing us."
Also, local Republicans are hosting an open "Meet the Candidates" dinner 6 p.m. April 13, at the Grove City Masonic Lodge, 1340 W Main St., Grove City.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16, Butler, appeared toward the end of Saturday's event.
He was questioned by several on the immigration measure that was crafted in the Senate but was rejected in the House.
Kelly said he voted against it saying at the time it was more of a foreign aid package than a broad border security package. The measure included $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, $14 billion in security assistance for Israel and $20.2 billion for border security and related work.
"We have laws in place to protect our borders and Biden is refusing to use those laws," Kelly said. "It was a badly crafted deal."
He also noted Republican have a small majority in the House and that makes it difficult to get things done. Kelly also said some voters don't understand how the national government works.
"I have people asking me what I do in Harrisburg," Kelly, indicating he's sometimes mistaken as a member of the state legislature versus Congress said.