Vicki Wedler is keeping her eyes on the prize
By CHRIS MORELLI
BELLEFONTE — Don’t call it a comeback.
Vicki Wedler is aiming for a return to the Centre County Board of Commissioners. The Republican was once elected to three consecutive four-year terms and served from 1988 to 2000.
Wedler recently sat down with The Express to talk about the state of the county and the reasons why she wants to return to a position she once held.
She’s been a realtor since 2000 and believes that her experience in the field will pay dividends if she makes it back to county government.
“I think working with buyers and sellers … the same skills I’ve been using in real estate are the same skills that I would bring back to county government. As a realtor – and as a commissioner – first and foremost you need to be a good listener. I listen well. After listening, I have to research. You have to research how effective a certain contract is going to be for the county and how do we measure the outcomes,” Wedler said.
Wedler has a diverse resume. She was the first woman elected Centre County commissioner and was the first woman president of the Susquehanna Economic Development Association-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG), an 11-county service region.
“I do know county government and I do know how county government works. I feel that I’m best positioned to take the kind of skills that I’ve been using in real estate back to the table in county government. Right now, there are three seats open and I love serving in county government. It’s just amazing to be able to help people across the board with issues from cradle to grave. County commissioners are involved the whole way,” Wedler said.
Wedler, of Ferguson Township, said that economic development is a primary focus for her. Before she was a county commissioner, she worked as county administrator before working her way up to purchasing agent.
She has previously served as director of the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Board and as a board member of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County (CBICC) and the Bellefonte-Intervalley Chamber of Commerce.
During her time as commissioner, she also was County Conservation District director, chairman of the County Board of Elections and a member of the Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes, the Retirement Board, Prison Board and County Library Board.
Prior to entering public service, Wedler’s career included positions with Corning Glass Works, agricultural education at Penn State, West Penn Power and the Pennsylvania State Education Association. At the present time, she is a licensed Realtor at Kissinger, Bigatel and Brower in State College.
As far as the primary election is concerned, Wedler said that she doesn’t worry about what the other candidates in the race are doing. She keeps her eye on the prize.
“That’s how I run my campaign. I don’t look left or right. I try to keep my eye on what I’m doing and not pay attention to what other people are doing because I don’t want to be influenced by anyone except my own heart and soul,” Wedler said.
Centre County has changed since Wedler was in office, but she knows the role of county commissioner is as important as ever.
“The county commissioners control the pursestrings for the county and are the chief policy makers. Whether those policies are right or wrong for county government is decided by three people. It’s a very important position,” Wedler said.
Wedler said that she has many concerns as a county resident. One area of concern is the transition of Centre Crest to Centre Care.
“When I was (a commissioner) before, Centre Crest was something that we spent a lot of money on. That has since been spun off into a 501(c)3 entity and the county tax dollars are no longer going to run that,” Wedler said. “Where are those tax dollars being spent now? How are we going to make sure that our elderly are being taken care of when that’s no longer part of the county budget? We still need to be concerned for our elderly.”
Wedler knows that name recognition will only get her so far in this race. After all, there are Centre County residents who didn’t reside here during her previous terms.
“I understand that I need to run like I’m running for the first time. At that time, they told me a woman would never get elected in this county. People told me I should run for a lesser position. I have the experience of having served in county government and I have a value added, which is my years of experience as a businesswoman. I am looking these people who may be voting for me for the first time to be my bosses. I will work for them,” Wedler said.
According to Wedler, she has plenty to offer voters.
“I’m an effective listener who represents the taxpayer. I never make a decision without looking at how those taxpayers are going to be affected. I’m a good collaborator and I’m a good negotiator. I’d like to have a seat at the table,” Wedler said.
No matter what happens on Election Day, Wedler shows no signs of slowing down. She’s 75, but certainly doesn’t look or act like it.
“I’m very proud of my age. They call me the Energizer Bunny because I don’t stop from morning until night. I get very little sleep. God has blessed me with very good health and being in a position where I can use my voice for the good of the people,” Wedler said.
While she is an extremely busy woman, Wedler isn’t all business. She is involved with various civic and charitable organizations. She’s served as president of the Centre County chapter of the American Cancer Society and starting the first Relay for Life fundraiser in the county. She also makes exercise part of her daily routine whether it’s a cardio dance class or a swim.
“I’m very active,” she said. “I don’t think anyone can deny the energy that I bring.”
For more information about Wedler, be sure to check out her Facebook page.