Almost a year ago today, the 26-year Mayor of Carlisle, Kirk Wilson, decided to leave office and become a television reporter, leaving Carlisle Borough Council in charge of naming a replacement for the remaining two years of his term.
Wilson was adamant that Council choose a replacement who would only serve the remainder of his term and not seek re-election.
Acting on Wilson’s advice, in January of last year Borough Council chose former-Councilman William “Doc” Kronenberg, 70, to replace Mayor Wilson after an extensive search process. Kronenberg had previously been on Borough Council for 16 years.
In his application letter for the Mayoral position, Kronenberg wrote “I am asking council to appoint me Mayor to serve out the unexpired term of Mayor Wilson for the years 2012-2013. I do not intend to seek the office beyond that time.”
Kronenberg, a Republican, stated that he wanted “whoever is going to be elected mayor in two years to start off on equal footing with everyone else,” and that he “happen[s] to agree with Mayor Wilson that someone who is not going to run in two years should finish his term.”
As serious as Kronenberg may have been at the time about his pledge and his fidelity to his predecessor’s requests, Kronenberg broke his promise to Council and to Mayor Wilson by announcing in November that he will be running for a full term as Mayor.
Now, the Democratic opposition to Mayor Kronenberg is starting to take shape.
On New Year’s Day, Carlisle Borough Council Vice-President Tim Scott released a statement to the press regarding his intention to be a candidate for Mayor of Carlisle in 2013.
From the release:
Carlisle is my hometown, and growing up here I learned a few things. When I was a student at Stephen’s Elementary School, we took field trips to the LeTort and to Cave Hill where we learned to appreciate the natural beauty that this community has to offer.
In 9th grade, I joined Junior Achievement, and was mentored by a local business owners who taught me not only the value of the bottom line, but also the importance of community and taking care of your employees.
After I got my degree, I came back to Carlisle because I wanted to see this community grow.
Towns grow when the people are empowered to help themselves. Businesses develop when they have a true partner in local government. And to be an anchor of commerce, a town has to educate its children.
I want to be Carlisle’s Mayor because, quite frankly I view Carlisle as a town on the move—and I want to put residents in the driver’s seat. As Mayor, I will empower residents, encourage growth, and ensure that your voice is heard.
Scott is currently serving his third consecutive four year term as a Member of Borough Council. He was elected Vice-President of Council in 2004 and in 2012.
Carlisle has not had a Democratic Mayor since 1997, when Kirk Wilson changed parties and ran as a Democrat after being beat in the Republican primary election. Wilson won as a Democrat, and then ran as a Republican in following elections.
Democrats do have reason for optimism in the 2013 Mayoral race.
In addition to public sentiment against Mayor Kronenberg for going back on his term-limit promise, Carlisle has seen a steady increase in Democratic performance in recent years. President Obama won the Borough of Carlisle in 2008, the first time in decades that Carlisle went blue in a Presidential cycle.
In 2012, 8 out of Carlisle’s 9 voting precincts went for President Obama. The performance of Democratic statewide candidates within Carlisle’s 9 voting precincts has also steadily increased in the last decade.
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Councilman Scott presents a serious challenge to Mayor Kronenberg. Scott is very well-known in the community and has a long list of accomplishments on Borough Council.
To make Carlisle a safer town to live in, Scott launched the Neighborhood Walks program in the Borough and helped found the first Neighborhood Association, located in the Borough’s Northeast quadrant, with the assistance of the Carlisle Police Department.
Scott also led successful initiatives to keep the US Army War College open in the Carlisle region and the Penn State Dickinson School of Law in the Borough. He also created a Student Ambassador position on Borough Council.
In the 2004, Scott helped mediate a labor dispute between Frog, Switch Manufacturing and AFL-CIO Local 1688-7, that “helped save good family sustaining jobs at one of the Borough’s remaining large industrial companies,” according to his website.
When it comes to taxing and spending issues, Scott has a sold record of voting for 10 straight budgets that “were responsible, balanced and made smart investments in the Borough’s infrastructure.”
Carlisle area dog-lovers also have reason to be Scott-lovers because he supported the creation of a dog park and a disc golf course at Sheaffer Park.
When it comes to cleaner, greener energy, Scott has taken the lead on Borough Council, supporting an aggressive sustainable agenda for the Borough that includes recycling, adoption of an anti-idling ordinance, promotion of walking/biking, installation of LED traffic signals, and Carlisle’s road diet. Scott also introduced energy choice to Borough residents with an agreement through Direct Energy.
Currently, no other Democrats have announced their candidacy. Kronenberg is expected to run unopposed in the Republican primary election, though retired police Sergeant Mike Guido is rumored to be interested in challenging Kronenberg.