February 09, 2007
Derk, Viker announce local campaignsTwo members of the Susquehanna faculty and staff have announced their intent to run for local office in the Nov. 6 election.
Erik Viker, assistant professor of theatre and technical director, is running for council member of the Selinsgrove Borough, and Malcolm Derk, assistant director of the Susquehanna University Fund and '05 graduate, is running for the position of Snyder County commissioner.
Viker graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Fine Arts degree, and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Florida.
Viker has been a resident of Selinsgrove since 2003, when he joined the Susquehanna staff.
A member of the Libertarian party, Viker cited his prime motive for running for office as the desire to increase awareness of third-party options. "Many citizens don't realize there are alternatives to the Democrat and Republican parties," he said.
According to Viker, the Libertarian Party believes that the role of government is to protect citizens from violence, coercion and fraud, but it should be less intrusive.
"I feel a responsibility as a member of the Libertarian Party to participate," Viker said.
Because he is a third-party candidate, Viker will not be included in the primary elections. He said that the beauty of Selinsgrove is that voters can make decisions based on their personal knowledge of the candidates, not party platforms alone.
While this is Viker's first venture into local politics, Derk has been involved in politics in his hometown of Freeburg. Derk was a member of the Freeburg borough council since January 2002 and was president of the council for almost two years.
While serving, Derk said that the council was able to successfully turn a former elementary school into a community center with a senior center inside.
"It has been great to see the community center grow into a place where the community can go for special events," he said.
Derk, a Republican, was inspired, in part, to run for Snyder County commissioner when he ran for state representative last year. Though he lost that election, he received 55 percent of the vote in Snyder County.
Derk said that after the state representative election, residents in the county, along with the Snyder County Republican Committee, encouraged him to run for county commissioner.
Snyder County, like many Pennsylvania counties, has three commissioners.
Derk said that his goals, if elected, include raising morale at the courthouse and making it a better place to work. He also plans to keep businesses in Snyder County as well as attract new ones to the area to increase work opportunities.
"I specifically want to make the county as attractive as possible for entrepreneurs and businesses," he said. "I want to make sure that businesses have the support they need from government and can get the necessary resources to open a business."
If elected, Derk said that one of the first actions he would take would be the creation of a business advisory council to focus on this issue.
Additionally, Derk said he hopes to showcase Susquehanna not only to the people of the county, but to those who visit this area as well. He said he wants to create opportunities for students and make the local government more accessible.
On Tuesday, Derk will begin to circulate and file nomination petitions for the 100 signatures he needs to get his name on the ballot for the primary election. Anyone who is a registered Republican in Pennsylvania is able to sign the ballot.
On March 7, Viker will begin seeking signatures for his nomination petition. The number of signatures he will need will be a percentage of the number of voters from last year's general election. Any registered voter within Selinsgrove Borough is eligible to sign Viker's nomination petition.
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