Mayor Joe Schember announces re-election bid

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Mayor Joe Schember has announced he is seeking a second term as mayor.

“Despite the pandemic, despite the societal issues, and despite the financial challenges facing the city, my administration has made significant progress in positioning Erie for a more prosperous future,” Mayor Schember said in a news release announcing his re-election bid. “I remain committed to my mission: Build Opportunity, Restore Hope, Transform Erie. In my first three-plus years, I have remained open, honest, transparent, and accessible, and that will continue as long as I am Mayor.

When I first ran four years ago, I said I was willing to serve three terms (12 years) if the people of Erie elected me. My goal is to reverse the loss of family-sustaining jobs and about 40,000 residents that Erie has experienced since the late 1970s. I’m happy to say that my team and I got off to a great start over the last three years, but there is still a lot of work to do. Everything my team and I do is focused on our two-sentence vision. Erie is a community of choice. We celebrate our rich cultural diversity, welcoming and vibrant neighborhoods, world-class downtown and bayfront, excellent education for everyone and abundance of family-sustaining jobs. This will continue to be my focus.

Since implemented in July of 2019, the new Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program has generated over $85 million in new commercial and residential investments in the city of Erie.

We are also actively supporting the Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC) efforts, whose work will result in the construction of at least 100 market-rate residential units. We continue to enthusiastically support the efforts to turn the four-block Bayfront Parkway Central Corridor into an ‘Iconic Connection.’ Cross-town traffic will be moved to 12th Street, while traffic is slowed and better pedestrian and bicycle access are provided on the Bayfront Parkway. This is a giant step to creating a world-class downtown and Bayfront.”

Another of Mayor Schember’s first-term goals has been diversifying the city’s civilian workforce.

“Since I took office, we have increased minority hiring in our Public Works Department to over 30% of new hires,” Mayor Schember said. “Also, we have increased the number of minorities taking the written and physical testing for Police and Fire positions. We are also working to ensure that minorities are represented on Authorities, Board and Commissions.”

Mayor Schember notes that across the city, more work needs to be accomplished to address systemic racism. “I supported the peaceful protests led by local clergy this past summer. And I am very proud of my administration’s efforts to address concerns of the minority community with the People’s Supper series and the creation of the Better Together Council. These efforts are the start of something that will help us transform Erie by eliminating prejudice and racism. If I accomplish nothing else as Mayor, I want every person in Erie to be valued for their unique talents and skills, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender, age, race or color of skin.”

Mayor Schember earned his undergraduate degree in English from Gannon University and his master’s degree in English from the University of Dayton.

After teaching at Elk County Christian High School in St. Marys, Pa. for two years, Mayor Schember returned to Erie and began a banking career at Marine Bank, which later became PNC Bank.  Starting as a teller, he attended classes to obtain a master’s degree in Business Management from Gannon University.

For 30 years, he taught summer banking classes for the PA Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association at Bucknell, Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania, and Penn State Universities.

Before being elected Mayor, he served as a member of the Erie City Council for 5 ½ years. During this time, he chaired the Finance Committee and was active in guiding decisions that helped improve the city’s finances.

“I am proud to live in Erie.  I enjoy every day, every meeting, and every conversation. I’ll continue to do everything in my power to transform Erie,” said Mayor Schember.

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