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Gindlesperger to seek commissioner seat

An Altoona man has announced his first-time candidacy for a seat on the Blair County commissioners board.

Matt Gindlesperger, an operations supervisor at Defiance Metals Products in Bedford, said in a written statement that he will be a Republican candidate in the May 21 primary.

“My blue-collar background would bring new ideas to county government,” Gindlesperger said. “I trust that my views would be more relatable to the people of Blair County, which is something that our government lacks.”

Gindlesperger, who currently sits on Altoona’s Zoning Hearing Board, said that if elected, he will concentrate efforts on staffing, employment practices and safety at the county prison.

“This would include more comprehensive training for corrections officers and finding ways to reduce the amount of required overtime,” Gindlesperger said. “Cor­rections officers are responsible for day-to-day prison operations as well as protecting and/or policing inmates on a daily basis.”

“Working 16-hour shifts creates an unsafe environment for the corrections officers, prison staff, inmates and the public,” the candidate said. “With my background, I also understand the needs and financial impacts of reducing overtime spending and how it would benefit the county.”

Gindlesperger also pledged to focus his efforts on researching creative cost reduction strategies, including county property taxes, for the benefit of the community and to attract residents.

“Let’s face it: We are not going to attract new life to our county when we have an ever-increasing tax burden,” the candidate said. “What we are doing now is driving away the same people we’re trying to attract to Blair County.”

The candidate also said he wants to devote attention to employee wages, especially for assistant district attorneys whose pay needs to be more in line with industry standards.

“Blair County will continue to have a revolving door of Assistant DAs unless they are compensated accordingly for their jobs. We need to attract and retain the best legal talent possible to handle criminal prosecutions and keep our communities safe,” he said. “That won’t happen with current wages.”

The candidate also pledged, if elected, to work to ensure transparency between the public and all elected officials.

Gindlesperger and his wife, Robin, have four children.

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