Current State College Area School Board member Jim Leous is running for mayor of State College, he announced on Wednesday.
Leous said in a statement the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, as well as “the fraying of our community” and a “divided country,” require local solutions.
“We don’t fix this on a national level. The only way we fix this is in our local communities, person to person and neighbor to neighbor,” he said. “Local government needs to provide the bridge to economic recovery for all of us, and help rebuild a sense of cooperation and well-being. I believe I can be part of the solution. That’s why I’m running for mayor.”
Leous is the second candidate to announce a bid for State College mayor, joining fellow Democrat Ezra Nanes. The term of current Mayor Ron Filippelli, appointed to the position when former Mayor Don Hahn stepped down to become magisterial district judge, concludes at the end of 2021 and Filippelli is running for a borough council seat.
First elected to the State College school board in 2009, Leous is in the final year of his third term, a tenure that included multiple stints as board vice president.
During that time, he was “instrumental” in the planning for the new State High building and recommendations for technology changes that “positioned the district to anticipate this era of remote and hybrid learning,” he said.
Calling himself a “collaborator by instinct,” he has been part of negotiations with the school district’s collective bargaining units. He also was a member of the committee that drafted the district’s Inclusive Excellence Policy, which outlines the district’s vision for diversity, equity and inclusion and is one of the first policies of its kind in Pennsylvania.
“We must continue to make State College a welcoming community for all, for families and students of color; for our international students and professionals; and also for veterans and non-traditional students and their families,” Leous said.
Leous currently works in the the Office of the Associate CIO for Research at Penn State. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Notre Dame and master’s degree in astronomy from Penn State.
He serves on the IT Occupational Advisory Boards for the State High Career and Technology Center and for South Hill School of Business and Technology.
A State College resident since 1986, Leous and his wife, Gloria, have two college-aged children and one in elementary school. He volunteers with WPSU-FM, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Precinct 31 Election Board. A youth hockey coach for 20 years, he has been an assistant coach for State High hockey for the past decade.
The primary election in Pennsylvania is May 18.