Although Dr. Joseph Taranto’s name won’t officially be on any ballots, he is hoping to gain enough support to retain his seat on Johnstown City Council during the upcoming general election.
Taranto, a Republican who was appointed to the board in May, is running a write-in campaign.
“I decided to do this because I wanted to try to continue on with some of the stuff I began in this five months,” said Taranto, a chiropractor. “I just thought maybe I could give it a shot.”
Achieving his goal will be challenging.
There are four open seats. Four Democrats have been nominated: Pete Vizza, Marie Mock, David Vitovich and Nunzio Johncola. No Republicans have been nominated. Taranto would need to get more write-in votes than at least one of the candidates, whose names will be displayed on touch screen ballots, in order to get a spot on council. For perspective, Johncola was the lowest vote-getter among those four in the spring primary with 713. Vizza topped the list with 818.
“I’m getting the word out as much as possible and trying to get – instead of people that are just going and pushing buttons – people that actually go in (voting booths) for a purpose,” said Taranto. “If that works, great. Maybe it does.”
Taranto was appointed by a panel of three Cambria County judges to fill the vacancy created with the death of Councilwoman Ann Wilson.
Since then, he has worked to bring attention to the issues of nuisance properties and city beautification. At a recent council meeting, he expressed interest in helping Johnstown residents pay for mandatory tap-ins into the city’s new sewer system.
“There are loans out there that we could have our citizens get through the city and we could help do that and kind of ease their burdens,” said Taranto. “I’d like to help people. That seems to be a major issue for people with little money.”
Council recently appointed Taranto to the Johnstown Housing Authority for a five-year term.
Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor.