(GREENSBURG) February 7, 2019 – Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas today announced his candidacy for re-election. Commissioner Kopas has a record of results – in job-creation, community development, public safety and human services. He has been fiscally responsible while taking action to make Westmoreland County grow and prosper.
“My family and I are proud to call Westmoreland County home, and it is an honor and privilege to serve as your Commissioner. It is a responsibility I take very seriously and have dedicated myself to ensuring the county is a great place for all families. Westmoreland County and Westmoreland County government have made tremendous progress over the past four years, and I look forward to building on that success.
“We’ve accomplished much without asking more of taxpayers. I have never voted to raise taxes.
“Westmoreland County government is working. And so are our residents.
“We’ve expanded job opportunities. I promised four years ago, we would build a new industrial park in Sewickley Township. This fall we broke ground on the 200-acre Commerce Crossing that, when completed, will be home to more than 1,000 jobs. An abandoned glass plant we acquired in Jeannette will soon be home to almost 150 more manufacturing jobs with a local, longtime company, the Elliott Group. Our RIDC Westmoreland complex, which was abandoned by Sony when I first took office, is now home to nearly 1,000 jobs, including the recent addition of Siemens and its nearly 200 jobs, thanks to the strategic investment we made in that facility.
“Our new partnership with the private sector, the county’s 17 school districts and our local colleges and universities is helping realign curriculum to best fit job-creators and job-seekers.
“We’ve made our communities stronger and more viable, by investing in parks and trails projects and tourist attractions, and providing new resources to eliminate blight and abandoned structures, like the former Monsour Hospital, clearing the way for private-sector investment and economic development.
“We have made sure our residents are safe, and that our first responders have the resources they need. We’ve upgraded our emergency radio system, and adopted new 911 protocols to prioritize the caller’s, and the responders, safety. We introduced a new state-of-the art mobile emergency command post, purchased a new Hazardous Material Response Vehicle and completely updated our Public Safety Training Center for firefighters, police and EMS personnel.
“Our work to battle the ongoing opioid epidemic is paying off. The outreach and education efforts of our Overdose Task Force and the county’s successful Drug Court have helped reduce overdose deaths for the first time in years – a 36 percent decrease in 2018 – and is helping reduce recidivism at the county jail, saving corrections costs. We’re making real, measurable progress.
“I’ve fought to make sure we’ve honored the county’s obligation to help the most vulnerable – children at risk of abuse or neglect and seniors wanting to age with dignity in their homes. I’ve honored my promise to save our public nursing home, Westmoreland Manor, which was on the brink of ruin because of the former Majority Commissioners. Today, the Manor is thriving, expanding, and is well-positioned to continue to serve our families. And, still, Westmoreland Manor is self-sufficient on insurance reimbursements, not county tax dollars.
“It is a special privilege to remain a dedicated voice and advocate for those who are too often overlooked – people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families, whose daily challenges deserve our attention and remind us of our shared humanity.
“I have demanded accountability and transparency in county government, voting against no-bid contracts and fulfilling my promise to end the costly and wasteful outsourcing of our human resources department. I have cut millions from the county budget. And I have never been reimbursed by taxpayers for any of my expenses.
“Despite serving in elected office, my reputation is not one who is partisan, but one who is a problem-solver. I have always believed that the solutions to our challenges require forward-thinking people of all political persuasions who seek common ground and common sense for the common good. My allegiance is to the residents of this county.
“We have set the framework to build upon all of our success through the county’s new comprehensive plan. We’re rethinking the way we allocate resources, coordinate with local governments and engage our residents. County government is working more closely than ever with the private sector and education system to grow our economy, reposition our towns, and maximize our assets to make the county a leader in the region.
“I believe Westmoreland’s best days are ahead, and we are poised to seize the moment. I look forward to once again earning the trust of voters to build on our work.”
Commissioner Kopas was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to represent Pennsylvania’s 67 counties on the statewide Long-Term Care Council to develop strategies and policies to best provide for the expanding needs of the Commonwealth’s growing senior population and shrinking direct care workforce. He is a member of the Human Services Committee of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) as well as CCAP’s Behavioral Health Task Force. Commissioner Kopas serves on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, the Westmoreland Land Trust (an organization he helped found), the Westmoreland Conservation District and Westmoreland Community Action.
Ted’s volunteer activities include helping families who have members with developmental disabilities, and increasing awareness and acceptance of people with special needs. He is actively involved in organizations that help support and teach children and adults with special needs, including the Friends of Clelian Heights and the Westmoreland County Autism Society. He also serves as a volunteer coach for youth baseball, football and basketball.
Commissioner Kopas is a 1995 graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He was born and raised in the village of Westmoreland City in North Huntingdon Township. Ted now lives in Hempfield Township with his wife, April, and their five children, Elle, Alex, Quinn, Jack and Teddy.