Whitney seeks first term on fall ballot 2023


Michele Whitney hopes to qualify for the November ballot for Clinton County Commissioner in the May 16 Primary.

Whitney graduated from Lock Haven High School in 1986 and spent ten years as a law enforcement officer and sixteen years as an Air Force military spouse.

She has a 25-year background in technology and management, including serving as a Technical Support Engineer and Team Manager for Microsoft.

In addition to her IT industry certifications, Whitney has provided volunteer organizations and small businesses with her IT and small business consultant expertise.

Whitney has participated in numerous public service initiatives over the years, most recently founding the Patriots of Clinton County, an organization that seeks to recruit and support Republican candidates for public office.

The Express recently posed six queries to Whitney regarding herself and county issues. The following were her replies:

Why have you decided to seek election to the board of commissioners?

Whitney: I never intended to enter politics, but after decades of the same representation, we must ask who our government officials serve. The citizens of Clinton County receive little in return for their tax dollars, while our government continues to expand. Meanwhile, the population of our county continues to decline. It is time to abandon the status quo, implement transparency and accountability in county government, and make “we the people” the top priority.

Our rural county faces significant challenges, including population decline, service cuts, and labor shortages.

How would you approach each of these issues if you were a commissioner?

Whitney: According to the Clinton County Comprehensive Plan, fifty percent of the employed county residents work outside of Clinton County, primarily in Bellefonte, State College, and Williamsport. It is probable that they spend the majority of their income on travel, dining, and purchasing outside of our county.

The economic health of our county will improve if more of our residents work locally. In order to rectify this, we require local industry and services. I will work diligently to attract new industries, local businesses, and services to Clinton County. To be successful, we must employ effective outreach methods.

No longer do we print brochures and distribute them in establishments. We live in a technological age and must utilize technology for success.

To reverse the downward trend and effectively serve the public, commissioners must actively engage with the residents of their communities in order to better comprehend their desires and needs. I intend to hold regular town halls and encourage public participation in governance.

Additionally, the county is losing life-saving emergency medical services due to a dearth of qualified EMTs and a financial strain on ambulance and EMS services.

What suggestions do you have for resolving this crucial issue?

Whitney: I believe that our local emergency responders, whether they are EMTs or volunteer firefighters, should be incentivized more effectively. Centre and Lycoming counties have allocated millions of dollars in Act-13 funds to their fire and emergency medical services.

However, none of Clinton County’s Act-13 funds have been allocated to local fire and emergency medical services. I propose establishing a countywide program using Act-13 funds to reimburse EMT certification costs. I also propose instituting countywide tax credits for our local emergency responders as a means of giving something back for all they do for our communities.

Lastly, I support the Keystone Central School District’s proposed Homeland Security Program, which aims to engage our children in their communities and enhance our current fire and emergency medical services.

If elected, will you support the continued development of recreational footpaths, such as the Bald Eagle Valley Trail?

Whitney: The cost of the rails-to-trails initiative to date is at least $5 million, including local taxpayer funds required for matching grants and trail maintenance.

I will support the maintenance of existing trails, but I cannot support further development unless it can be demonstrated that existing trails are increasing tourism and generating enough revenue to cover the costs to taxpayers.

What qualities do you believe make you the most qualified candidate for the position?

As a servant leader with decades of experience, my ability to coordinate groups of individuals to strengthen a team would be of tremendous benefit to the county. I will act with honesty and bravery, serving as an example for others.

I will serve as an example to those around me and motivate them to realize their utmost potential. To achieve success, I will promote frank dialogue and teamwork. I will be an attentive observer and an advocate for those who are unable or unwilling to speak up for themselves. Lastly, I will be an American patriot who serves her country, county, and community, as intended by our Founding Fathers.

Why should voters contemplate you on May 16 when they go to the polls?

Whitney: I have never held an elected position or been a politician. I have no competing interests. The “good ol’ boys” network has been entrenched in Clinton County for decades.

I will work diligently to bring about change that will benefit everyone, not just the “good ol’ boys.” I will demand government transparency and accountability. It is time for change and for your government to begin working for you.