What could become a crowded race Allegheny County Controller has its first candidate. State Representative Democrat Chelsa Wagner of Brookline says the importance of the controller’s office is growing. “All governments are in a time of deepening financial deficits and here in Allegheny County we also have the looming property tax reassessment,” says Wagner, “The controller’s office is the main recourse for the citizens while the process is going on, you need to have someone in there who is going to be independent to say whether the process is right or not but then also someone who can point out ways that can be approved.”
Wagner was elected to represent the 22nd district in 2006. She says she is still very interested in representing that district but she wants to take the opportunity to represent all of the residents in the county, not just those in her district. Mark Patrick Flaherty currently holds the Controller’s office. Flaherty has said he is considering a run for the office of Allegheny County Executive. Wagner says she is running for the controller’s office even if Flaherty decides to run for another term.
Wagner says she feels she has the skills needed to run the office. Before launching her political career, Wagner was an attorney in private practice and before that she was a business analyst. “In that role I went around the country and worked with large state and city governments, reforming government,” says Wagner. However, she says doing audits and working for ways to reform the government’s spending is not enough, “We need to make sure that all of our top elected officials are advocates for our region, so I see this job as controller not just a job where you point out what’s wrong but you also can use this position to find what’s right.”
Wagner made her announcement in a letter to the county Democratic Committee, saying she will be the hardest working candidate in the campaign.