Shippensburg University student running for mayor of Chambersburg
By WILLIAM KAUFFMAN
News Editor/The Slate
Republican Darren Brown, non-traditional full-time Shippensburg University student and lifelong Chambersburg resident, is running for mayor of his hometown.
Brown was born in 1980, attended Mary B. Sharpe Elementary School and graduated from Chambersburg Area Senior High School in 1999.
He joined the U.S. Army and is a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. He now resides in Chambersburg with his wife and majors in political science at SU.
His political aspirations began when he worked for State Rep. Rob Kauffman’s 2004 campaign and after being inspired by Ron Paul’s message of constitutionality and liberty.
Brown knew he wanted to run for some political office but was unsure which one to choose.
He said he mostly likes the way the current Chambersburg Borough Councilmen vote and said Mayor Peter Lagiovane, who is not running for another term, is the one he wants to replace.
Chambersburg’s government has a weak-mayor system, which means the mayor heads the police department, takes a non-voting position on borough council and serves as a spokesperson to and for the town.
Brown’s platform is about efficiency, transparency and encouragement of charity, which he said he wants to apply as mayor.
More specifically, by efficiency he means he wants to examine certain programs in the police department which consumes 40 percent of the town’s budget.
The Special Emergency Team (SET) and the Crime Impact Team are the programs in the department that Brown specifically mentioned as ones that would be examined for cost-cutting.
“Most people in Chambersburg don’t even know what the SET team is. They’ve never heard of the Crime Impact Team, and their money is going to pay for it through taxes,” Brown said.
Brown said he believes citizens should be informed about on what their tax dollars are being spent on. He would like to use social media and YouTube, along with a call-in telephone line to increase transparency about spending and to let people know what is going on in the community.
Brown also includes charity as part of his platform as a way to encourage the use of non-profit organizations, churches and various other charities to lessen dependence on the government.
“I believe there are a wide range of resources in Chambersburg that don’t raise taxes and still help people,” Brown said. “I believe that if more of these things could be promoted then there would be less reliance on the government for solutions.”
According to Brown, the point about the use of non-profit organizations was one Mayor Lagiovane called naïve when meeting with him. Brown said the mayor and he agreed on little and found there to be a difference in philosophy on the size and role of government.
Brown said he believes in less government than the current mayor because more government means higher taxes. He cited the federal government’s $16.4 trillion debt as reason for less spending at the local level.
Brown publicly announced his campaign in front of the courthouse in downtown Chambersburg on Monday and plans to campaign vigorously throughout the summer by knocking on doors, meeting as many people as possible and talking with them about the issues.
Currently, no one else has announced they are running for mayor of Chambersburg, but that could change. The primary election is on Tuesday, May 21, and the election is on Tuesday, Nov. 5.