Jason Zaleska, who is running for a spot on Swissvale Council, said he has the young energy and the marketing know-how to help his neighborhood re-shape its image and attract new families.
“I think Swissvale is an under-used and under-recognized place to live in the Greater Pittsburgh Area,” Zaleska said. “I think people have a misconception that Swissvale is a dirty, violent and a run down kind of a place. Sure, there is a street or two in Swissvale but you could say that about most communities.”
Zaleska, a 35-year-old Democrat, is intent on changing that misconception with a run for a seat on council in the upcoming election.
“Swissvale has a lot to offer, it has good access to all the city amenities and is a tight knit community that you usually don’t find in urban environments,” he said.
An Arizona transplant with a wife born and raised in the neighborhood, Zaleska said his immediate and extended family is deeply vested in Swissvale for the long haul. As vice chair of the planning commission in Swissvale, he said vying for a spot on council was a natural decision.
“I have always felt a sense of duty to be involved in politics and government,” Zaleska said. “You can’t complain unless you are dealing with it.”
Zaleska has a degree in visual communications from Collins College, a school in Arizona. He has lived in Swissvale for the last three and a half years. As a candidate, he said both his age and his professional experience are major strengths he would bring to council.
“In my 15 years in the marketing and communications industry, I have climbed the ladder of success from an entry-level designer to holding executive positions in the companies I work for,” Zaleska said. “Not only do I understand the needs and concerns of younger generations, I feel I have a strong understanding of the rapidly changing ways our society uses technology to communicate and exchange ideas.”
Zaleska said as a councilman, he would continue to support and promote the Carrie Furnace project,
“I want to make Swissvale a more attractive place for young professionals and young families to move to,” he said. “I also want to continue to support the police force as they do an outstanding job of keeping crime under control. We have had a few issues but Chief Greg Geppert does a great job.”
Zaleska also said his vision for Swissvale includes assisting in business and economic development. He wants council to improve its website, which launched in late 2010, to continue to develop it as a vehicle to bring more people into the community.
“I want people who are thinking about moving, buying new property or starting a business to consider Swissvale in a part of the process,” he said. “Swissvale has a lot of interesting community events and I don’t think they are accurately promoted. When you think of the Italian festival, you think of Lawrenceville and Swissvale has a Halloween parade and a summer festival, and we need to attract people to show them what we are all about to change their perception.”
Zaleska also said he will focus on environmental issues, including protecting Nine Mile Run with rain gardens and other methods of pollution prevention.
For more information, visit www.votezaleska.com.