Three Tea Party Republicans announced their candidacies for Bethlehem Area School Board at a press conference Tuesday evening.
In front of about two dozen supporters and members of the press, Sam Mele, Kenneth Barreto and Randy Toman said they will be running on a fiscally conservative platform.
Taxes are too high, and there is little academic achievement to show for it, all three said.
“That's my main reason for running,” said Mele, a longtime local resident and owner of an independent sales business. “I can do a better job. There's no reason for taxes to be what they are.”
A graduate of the BASD, Mele said the district doesn't consider costs to the taxpayer.
“There is no reason for the Bethlehem Area School District to feel the taxpayer has to pay for everything,” he said.
Barreto, a recent military veteran and current corrections officer at Lehigh County Prison said he became concerned with the state of local government, particularly the school board when he returned from overseas.
“I would like to focus on...no new taxes,” he said, adding that he feels district employees need to do more and work harder. The level of bureaucracy needs to be reduced within the school district because it is not only wasteful, but confusing, he said.
“If the citizen can't understand it, I can't understand it,” Barreto said.
Absent due to illness, Toman represented his views with a letter he recently distributed, which outlined his views, similar to his running mates.
Also on hand were previously-announced Bethlehem City Council Tea Party Republican candidates Al Bernotas and Tom Carroll, who spoke briefly. Both echoed the same themes as the school district director candidates—that the current city council needs more fiscal conservatism, that taxes are too high and that the local government needs to be more transparent.
“It's fiscal mismanagement,” said Carroll. “The city council just rubberstamps.”
Bernotas was even more critical.
“They're going to tax people out of their homes, just like the Bethlehem Area School District, and we've got to stop it,” he said.
The third Bethlehem City Council Tea Party Republican candidate, Tony Simao, was attending the evening's city council meeting, running mates said.
Websites have been set up for all three city council candidates and Baretto. Toman and Mele said they welcome being contacted at their respective email addresses.
Kenneth Barreto – www.kennethbarreto.com
Sam Mele – firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Toman – email@example.com
Al Bernotas – www.bernotasforcouncil.com
Tom Carroll – www.tomcarrollforcouncil.com
Tony Simao - www.simaoforcouncil.com