Professor seeks Dem nod for congressional seat

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A professor at Saint Francis University and former member of the Hollidaysburg Area School Board is seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in the newly created 13th District.

Brent Ottaway is the only Democrat running for the seat (formerly the 9th District seat held by retiring Republican Bill Shuster) at the present time.

Prior to the state Supreme Court’s release of the new congressional map, Democrats Susan Boser and Adam Sedlock were running for the seat.

However, they now reside in different districts and are seeking those respective seats.

“Ellen (Ottaway’s late wife) and I were often frustrated by not having a viable choice in congressional races. That is not healthy for our region, or for our country,” Ottaway said in a statement. “People are fed up with the dysfunctional mess that Congress has become. It’s time for leaders who can work through differing positions to make decisions for the good of our country.”

“Too many of our representatives define the ‘future’ as the time between now and the next election cycle. We need people with vision and the ability to move us toward it. That’s what I offer voters of this district,” Ottaway said.

Ottaway, 56, a native of Corry and a graduate of Grove City College, has been a professor in the Department of English/ Communications and Modern Languages at Saint Francis since 1990.

At Saint Francis, he has served in multiple administrative roles, including dean of General Education, associate dean of the School of Arts and Letters, president of the Faculty Senate and Faculty Athletics representative. In the past few years, he has added a significant role as director of a study-abroad program, encouraging students to engage with other cultures and global issues that affect people at home.

Ottaway served two terms on the Hollidaysburg Area School Board, where he held the role of vice president, followed by two terms on the Penn-Mont Academy Montessori School Board of Directors.

Republicans campaigning for the 13th District seat (formerly the 9th District) are state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., state Rep. Steve Bloom, businessman Art Halvorson, Somerset County farmer Max Merrill, engineer Travis Schooley and retired Army Col. Douglas Mastriano.

House Majority Leader Dave Reed announced prior to the release of the new map that he was seeking Shuster’s seat, but has not publicly announced if he is still running for the post.

Ottaway is optimistic he can win the seat.

“I do, even though the new 13th District is redder than the 9th was, I believe the time is right. A lot of Republicans believe their party has betrayed them. People are becoming disenchanted with the Republican party. I think I can win and will do a good job there,” Ottaway said.