By Samantha Hilyer
“Right now, I’m in the early stages of my campaign,” Matthew Mascara, senior political science major, said in regard to his being a candidate for Westmoreland County Treasurer.
Mascara has been considering running for county office for the past few years.
“I see [my being a college student and a candidate] more as an advantage and an edge. I’m very in tune with what’s going on, and I can see things from a different scope that maybe someone much older than myself wouldn’t see,” Mascara said.
Mascara explained that he is running for county office to offer his viewpoint and to revolutionize the status quo of the same people being elected repeatedly for row offices.
“That’s something I think is unacceptable, and I wish to change [it],” Mascara said.
Mascara is running as a Democrat on a ticket with current Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli, County Controller candidate Mark Mears, Recorder of Deeds Tom Murphy, County Sheriff candidate James Albert and County of Register for Wills candidate Susan Vosefski.
“We’re all going to campaign [...] and just work together, and we all have the same beliefs,” Mascara explained.
However, Mascara said, balancing running for local government and being a college student involved in various aspects of the campus community, such as being the class president for the last four years, can be very demanding at times.
“Although it can be challenging, I think that it offers me a unique view on different aspects, not just on politics, but in general,” Mascara said.
The primary duty of the County Treasurer Office, according to Mascara, is overseeing the money that goes in and out of the county, which includes selling dog, boating and hunting licenses.
“I think I offer something unique to the office in the sense that I am young, and I can bring energy to the office,” explained Mascara.
Not everyone Mascara meets shares his view point on his candidacy, however.
“There’s been a lot of questions like, ‘aren’t you too young?’ or ‘don’t you think you need more experience?’,” Mascara said.
Mascara believes there is a general misconception that he will still be attending school by the time of the election. This is not the case, said Mascara, because he will be graduating in May of 2019, and although the primaries are in May as well, the general election will be held in November.
Although the next few months before graduation will probably be the most challenging because his attention is divided between school work and his campaign, Mascara said, he is fully prepared to give his undivided attention to his run for election once he graduates.
“Post-graduation, it’s all hands-on deck,” Mascara said.