Election day, which was Tuesday, Nov. 5, significantly altered the political landscape of Greene County. For the first time in 45 years, republicans will hold the majority in the Greene County Commissioner’s office, said Mike Belding, newly elected county commissioner,.
After being a volunteer politician for seven years, Belding is eager for the change to the status quo.
“Ineffective and inefficient government is not responsive and is overly expensive for taxpayers,” Belding said. “Politically-driven decisions cause a lack of trust and the current organizational structure of Greene County Government is dysfunctional.”
Belding has a score of issues he would like to begin to tackle, the first being the budget that he will inherit Jan. 6, 2020, when he is sworn in. The budget is in the process of being approved by the incumbent county commissioners.
“Although we will have to execute next year’s budget, we do not have an opportunity to influence it,” Belding said.
As Belding moves forward with the hope of achieving his campaign slogan, “Not red, Not blue, Greene,” he targeted some areas that require direct aid.
I want to see a positive impact on the problems we identified early and highlighted in our campaign strategy. Better governance, diversified economy and addressing the illegal drug crisis.”
Mike Belding – 2019 Elected Greene County Commissioner
He will focus on quality service to the taxpayer, beginning the switch from coal mining to a source of economy that is not declining. Belding also wants to offer more opportunities for students in high school to gain technical experience so they can work and improve the county, Belding said.
“We must stop both high school and college-educated individuals from leaving Greene County,” Belding said. “There is a direct link between population growth and the availability of high quality, family-sustainable employment opportunities. A capable workforce is an incentive to attract diverse businesses.”
The national opioid crisis and its effects are also on his radar.
“It affects health and welfare, crime, workforce availability and development and the future of our children,” Belding said. “I believe there are four requirements to combat this issue at the local level: education, prevention, supply reduction and appropriate treatment.”
Belding said he loves Greene County and choosing to move back here after retiring from the United States Marine Corps has given him the opportunity to impact the county.
“I am all in to contribute positive input to all recognized issues within the county. I’m excited for the future of Greene County,” Belding said. “For the first time in a long time, we have a new vision and determination, changing of the old to the new. I am excited to be in a leadership position to affect that change.”
Belding is not the only newly elected official excited to take on a new role. Megan McCarthy King, the new judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Courts, will be transitioning from her prior job as a prosecutor.