- Provide a brief professional and personal background.
My career began in human services 32 years prior to working in community development at Clearfield County.
Over the last 11 years, I have become very familiar with our county having assisted county departments, municipalities and organizations by developing and implementing, infrastructure, community revitalization practices, new and rehabilitated housing, public safety, criminal justice and human services programs
Locally, I serve on the board of directors for the Clearfield County Housing Authority, Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging and the Clearfield Revitalization Corp.
State-wide I serve on the NW Regional Housing Advisory Board and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Community Development and Housing Advisory Board.
I am a life-long resident of Clearfield County, having grown up in Clearfield Borough and graduated from Clearfield Area High School in 1981.
My husband Kenneth Kovalick Jr. and I purchased his grandparents’ home in Lecontes Mills. We share 36 years of marriage, have three adult daughters and two beautiful grandsons.
- Why did you choose to run for the office of Clearfield County Commissioner?
If not me, who? First, day-in and day-out, I see ways to improve how our county government operates; the one way to make the changes needed is to be the change.
Secondly, I champion the municipalities of this county and their communities. It is time to provide them a higher level of support, and as commissioner I can do that.
Last, “I Love This County” and I want to make it a safe, healthy and thriving county for everyone. I relate to the people, listening and understanding them, and that is what leading a county is about.
- What do you think makes you the best candidate for Clearfield County Commissioner?
I am committed and passionate about this county. I am a leader who listens openly with respect, and I have the ability to respond with creative and innovate ideas. My leadership style is to serve and inspire others to do better and be better every day.
- Do you think Clearfield County is healthy and successful? If not, why?
I do see success here in Clearfield County. While on top, our county suffers from aging and blighted structures, and drug happenings abound our daily news.
If we conquer these challenges and scratch beyond the surface, Clearfield County offers everyone the opportunity at health and success.
The beauty and wonders of nature abound us and our land has offered many resources for years and there is more to come. Our job market is at an all-time high and the people in our county are good, hard-working and caring.
- If elected, how would you actively build relationships with and gain the trust of citizens of Clearfield County? How would you engage citizens in the decision-making process?
I will actively build and maintain relationships in the county with an open-door policy. My door will always be open to the citizens, and my office will also be their office.
I will not pretend to know every issue that is affecting everyone. I will listen, learn and understand, and take that message forward for and with the citizens and organizations of Clearfield County.
- What element of the county’s government is most effective? What element is most ineffective? Why?
Most effective is the planning commission. This element of the county has long-established guidelines and procedure, works with and for our public and has the ability to accept changes for the betterment and development of our county.
After sitting through the budget hearings, I have to say our method of budgeting and finance is ineffective. The lack of communications and respect between our commissioners and the county controller has added to the complications of establishing a budget. I see this as a true injustice to the employees and people of Clearfield County.
- How would you fight the current drug epidemic that’s created a budget crisis for Clearfield County?
The hardship that the drug epidemic has put on the county budget will be ongoing for years. What we can do is get people talking about this epidemic; it has affected everyone and we can no longer avoid talking about it.
In talking about the drug crisis with one another we must reduce the stigma associated with this epidemic. People don’t wake up one day and say “this is the day I will try drugs.”
Addiction is an illness, and people suffering with substance abuse need combined behavioral health therapies with pharmaceutical treatment.
Ask yourself if this illness would occur to you or your loved one, how do you want people to talk to you about it?
We will not conquer the epidemic overnight; this will be a challenge that will take years. You can help by attending education and prevention activities held by the Clearfield Jefferson Drug & Alcohol Commission (CDJDAC).
If you are a person suffering from substance abuse, there is help and all information is confidential; call 1-800-892-9002.
- As county commissioner, what do you feel is the best way to address the overpopulation issue at the Clearfield County Jail?
We know there is more than one method to reduce the population at the jail. I believe implementing new court programs would help. Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Court.
These are all evidence-based practices that have been practiced across Pennsylvania since 1989. Outcomes vary by county, with the most prominent outcome being a reduction in recidivism.
The county needs a feasibility study on the jail that includes the infrastructure, facility, operations and procedures. Then our elected officials, departments and categorical agencies must come together to address the challenges we face at the jail and in our corrections system. We can conquer this challenge efficiently and effectively if we all work together.
- What one area of county government would receive more attention if you were elected?
This question comes with moving targets, and I aim very well. Without a doubt, I will be attending to the area of greatest need in January.
Commissioners are charged with the duties and responsibilities of the following: legislative powers, budget and finance, risk management and insurance considerations, purchasing and contracts, human services, taxation and tax administration, corrections, communications, public safety, transportation public works, land use, solid waste, agriculture, veterans affairs, county libraries, weights and measures, conservation district and Penn State Cooperative.
As you can see there are plenty of areas to attend to. My focus will be communicating with the department heads and staff to assure they have what they need run this county efficiently.
- If the county received a $1 million grant to use in anyway it wanted, how would you use it?
I would use it to develop a smart and strategic plan of the county. Then based on findings, use the balance to begin addressing the needs identified.
Our governing body is reacting to issues, not preventing them, because there are no set goals or objectives. Establishing a plan with a mission and goals is essential in order to move this county forward.