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Democrats select Chambersburg mayoral candidate

June 22, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A retired federal government official and Fifth Ward resident was named Thursday as the Democratic nominee for mayor of Chambersburg by the Franklin County Democratic Committee.

Peter R. Lagiovane, 60, of 610 Wallace Ave., was the unanimous choice of the 10 committee members present for the meeting in the Coyle Free Library. He will run in the November election to fill the unexpired term of the late GOP Mayor John A. Redding Jr., who died May 21 of complications following heart surgery at the age of 76.

The deadline for political parties to nominate someone for mayor is Sept. 17, Franklin County Deputy Chief Clerk Jean Byers said. Independents and minor parties have until Aug. 1 to file petitions with the Election Board to appear on the ballot, she said.

County Commissioner Bob Thomas, a Republican Third Ward committeeman, said the GOP will not choose a nominee before July. "There's no point in hurrying this thing," he said. "Let's give it some time to give it a thorough search and appropriate due diligence."

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On June 11, former county commissioner and borough councilman Samuel W. Worley was selected by the borough council to serve as acting mayor until after the election, the winner of which will serve out the remaining two years of Redding's term.

Lagiovane, who has a bachelor's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master's degree in Latin American history from Catholic University, has lived in the borough for more than 30 years and has been on its Planning and Zoning Commission since 2004. His position on the commission gives him, he said, "a good feel for where we're heading."

"I have the education, experience and temperament to be mayor," Lagiovane said. "It's important for someone to be mayor to resolve conflicts, not start conflicts."

Lagiovane retired last year after 34 years with the federal government, most of them with the Department of Energy. From 1982 to 1991, he managed the Letterkenny Army Depot Force Modernization Office, coordinating logistical support to developers of new weapons systems.

"I'm really kind of interested in crime prevention," Lagiovane said of his role, if elected, in charge of the police department. He said he plans to meet with Chief Michael DeFrank in the near future to discuss department issues.

"People have this fear of crime and they have this perception of crime," Lagiovane said. As mayor, he would like to see monthly reports and statistical tracking to give residents an accurate and easily understood picture of crime in the borough.

Committee Chairperson Beth Shupp-George said two people had submitted letters of interest for the mayoral nomination, but that the other person failed to meet the one-year residency requirement to run for the office.

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