Katherine Oh Yeaple, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on State College Borough Council in 2020, announced on Wednesday her candidacy for the position in this year’s election.
“I am running for Borough Council to bring a fresh perspective and an open mind for addressing the critical matters of our time,” Yeaple said in a statement.
A nurse who works in infection control for Penn State, Yeaple also has a master’s degree in urban planning and previously worked in planning for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Amtrak. She’s also a volunteer for Remote Area Medical and the Palmer Museum of Art.
Yeaple said that she joined council “during challenging times,” that included a sharp rise in COVID-19 prevalence in the Centre Region with the return of Penn State students last fall. She noted that the pandemic has had a significant impact on jobs, the local economy and the borough’s budget.
“While the budget situation will remain difficult, I believe as a community nurse that we need more public health investment,” she said. “The need for such investment is underscored by the inadequate testing and chaotic vaccine distribution that we witnessed over the last year.”
Yeaple said she will push for the creation of a “public health office” to serve the area.
Nearly since the onset of the pandemic, interest has grown among elected officials and community members in the creation of a state-authorized department of health for either the borough or Centre County. Pennsylvania currently has six county health departments and four municipal health departments that receive state funding.
“I hope to provide the fearless leadership that listens to and speaks for all members of our community and that is why I am running for borough council,” Yeaple said.
Three borough council seats are up for election in 2021. Current council members Evan Myers and Theresa Lafer are term-limited and cannot run this year. Yeaple holds the third seat up for election.
Last week, Mayor Ron Filippelli and former Councilwoman Cathy Dauler jointly announced they are running on the Democratic ballot for borough council in the May 18 primary.
Filippelli, whose term as mayor concludes at the end of 2021, previously served two terms on council. Dauler was elected to council four previous times with her last term ending in 2019.