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Michael Oliver Announces Candidacy for Forest County Commissioner
Oliver is seeking the nomination of the Republican Party for this office. He currently is serving as President of the Forest Area Board of School Directors in which he has been elected four times, for a total of 16 years of service.
Oliver is a 1980 graduate of East Forest School and the Venango Technology Center. He lives in the Marienville area with his wife Jackie, where they raised their two daughters, Ashley and Lauren. Oliver is an active volunteer in his community demonstrated through his memberships in the Knights of Columbus and the Forest County Historical Society, as well as his participation in the Forest County Relay for Life.
As a fourth generation native of Forest County, he is fully committed to the future growth and success of the region.
“Because of the rural nature of Forest County, I believe that there is no better place to live, work and raise children,” says Oliver. “We have managed to retain values that have been lost in the culture of some of the larger cities and maintain a lifestyle that is based upon hard work and the strong sense of community built by the residents of Forest County.”
Oliver goes on to say that the same strengths that he notes about the county are also potential weaknesses.
“Despite all the good things we have in Forest County, we are seeing the effects of a loss of population, particularly our youth. More efforts need to be made to support local business development. People need to have work close to home. We need to focus on economic revitalization of our region and ensure that the jobs that we target to bring to our area will pay a life-sustaining family wage.”
Business retention, affordable housing, and opportunities for innovation will also be important strategies for Oliver.
Oliver says that he is pleased to see the grassroots efforts that are starting within our region and will do all that he can to encourage those and ensure that we are not tying the arms of start-ups and entrepreneurs with excessive regulations and red-tape. He is particularly looking forward to learning more about the work being done by Supervisors in Jenks Township regarding the Rails to Trails project and the work of Tionesta Borough to bring the infrastructure into compliance.
The role of youth in community growth and development is also important to Oliver.
During his years on the school board, he has long been a proponent for teaching students an entrepreneurial mindset and ensuring that courses have hands-on components for students as they learn about robotics, computer programming, and other key skills for preparing students for the workforce. The Forest Area School District is a strong supporter of the area’s vocational school with both schools at capacity for the number of students attending. He enjoys listening to the students at board meetings and hopes that there will be a way to allow youth to have a voice at the table in the commissioner’s decision-making process, as well.
“It is also possible,” Oliver notes, “that there could be opportunities for collaboration between the county, local governments, and the school district. Without additional study, it is hard to say how feasible this is, but if there are opportunities for shared services, such as snow removal and groundskeeping, I believe we owe it to the taxpayers to consider some innovative ideas.” As a commissioner, Oliver said he will work with the other commissioners to analyze spending ensuring due diligence is applied to every spending decision brought before the commissioners.
“I believe that my political experience on the school board has prepared me to move into this position. My voting record shows that I will stand up for what I believe in,” Oliver said. “I believe in the individuals who live and work in Forest County want a government with integrity, accountability, and equality for all of its citizens.”
As a commissioner, Oliver notes that he will always be willing to listen to ideas and will work as a part of the team of commissioners to make things better – every day.
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