Campaign Statement

Jesse with his son Zack, after the latter graduated from Penn State in 2017.

My name is Jesse Barlow. I am a candidate for re-election to State College Borough Council. Before I ask for your support, let me tell you who I am. My paying job is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at PSU. I have lived in the State College Area since 1981 and in State College Borough since 2003. I have had my career here and raised my two children here. One is a 2017 PSU graduate.

State College has been a very nice little college town, but we are slowly transitioning into a small city.

Looking back on my three years on Council so far, there have been some accomplishments. First, I helped initiate the resolution on immigrant rights that we passed two years ago. That resolution was part of an effort in collaboration with Law Professor Shoba Wahdia and our Police Department to develop a written policy of not asking immigration status of victims or witnesses to crime in State College Borough.

We established an LGBTQ advisory board in the Borough and passed an ordinance banning gay conversion therapy. The Borough already had anti-discrimination ordinances in housing and in employment. We are now one of the four most LGBTQ friendly communities in the Commonwealth. In proud Penn State fashion, we are going for No.1!!

The Borough has taken important steps toward reducing its carbon footprint, but there is more to do and I will keep encouraging the Borough to do it. I presented a resolution on climate change, renewables, and our Borough in April. We continue to work toward becoming a more diverse, more welcoming community that can be home to people of different backgrounds, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, and national origins.

Jesse with Dr. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (center) and Mayor Elizabeth Goreham (right) at a Penn State Law immigration clinic in 2017.

The Borough still wrestles with fiscal issues, town/gown issues, student/long-term resident issues, affordable housing, and traffic issues. On top of that, we are re-zoning State College for the first time since 1959. State College has a great quality of life and all of these issues play into maintaining it. I promise to listen to all of your ideas about how to keep State College a wonderful, welcoming place to live.

In November 2016, about a week after the 2016 election, I attended my first National League of Cities meeting. You could cut the dread with a knife. We knew that the new administration would not be friendly to cities and to municipalities like State College. We knew it would be unresponsive if not hostile on environmental issues.  It was necessary for municipalities to stand up for themselves and fight for what we need. Thus, I have spent a lot of my time advocating for Borough issues with state and federal officials.

My time on Borough Council has sharpened my interest in and enthusiasm for the future of State College. For that reason, I ask for your support in the primary on May 21 and in the general election on November 5. Please help re-elect me to Borough Council.  Thank you.