State College mayoral candidate Joe Wakeley held a meeting last night to meet one-on-one with students in the Willard Building.
The crux of the conversation with Wakeley, a Republican, was town and gown problems that have arisen between students and borough residents. To resolve these issues, Wakely said he would like to see students becoming more active in local politics, including running for public office and working on political committees.
"I would like to see a student or two on these committees to give their perspective," Wakeley said.
He also expressed his opposition to a possible drinking tax in State College, saying it would unfairly target students.
"I think I would be opposed to singling out any particular part of our population," Wakeley said.
Wakeley filled students in on the highlights from his political career, including his service on the State College Borough Council from 1980 to 1983, during which he served two years as council president. Wakely, a State College resident for 44 years, said he originally became interested in borough council while trying to bring a YMCA facility to State College. He said at the time there was not an adequate connection between YMCA advocates and borough council members.
Wakeley worked for 32 years in Penn State's Applied Research Lab and had four children graduate from the university.
"I'm familiar with Penn State from a student's point of view and a parent's point of view," he said when discussing his emphasis on encouraging good relations between the town and the university.
During the talk, Wakeley brought up the possibility of using land owned by the State Correctional Institute at Rockview to build a sports complex to bring in revenue. He also made kind comments about the late Mayor Bill Welch.
The student group Young Americans for Freedom hosted the event with Wakeley. Eric Barzydlo (junior-international politics), president of Young Americans for Freedom, said he thought the meeting was a good chance for students to familiarize themselves with local candidates, a process that students often overlook.
"I don't think that people should go out to vote without knowing the candidates, the issues," he said.
Samuel Settle (sophomore-political science and history), who is Wakeley's student campaign manager, said Wakeley will continue campaigning on campus.