Geis running for city mayor
Former councilman seeks nomination as Democrat
From Mirror staff reports
Former City Councilman Mark Geis plans to run for the city mayoral nomination in the Democratic primary.
When Geis, 64, retired from the United Ironworkers union three years ago, he heard from friends that he should run for mayor — but that wasn’t the right time, because Altoona was operating under the state’s Act 47 distressed municipalities plan and lacked autonomy, he said.
“The state was dictating,” said Geis, of 4212 Fourth Ave. “(City government) was not making its own decisions.”
The city has since left Act 47, and he is no longer working, so he has the time and energy — as well as the experience acquired during 20 years on council — to do the job, he said.
That job requires listening to people and formulating definitive plans with City Council, he said.
The mayor is a liaison between residents and council, but as a council member with a single vote, the mayor can’t be a “lone wolf,” Geis said.
The mayor is also a lobbyist who should “facilitate” legislative changes in the city’s favor, he said.
He expects Congress will soon be appropriating money for cities like Altoona, and those cities need to work out “clear priorit(ies)” to take maximum advantage, he said.
Ultimately, it might make sense to look for funds to control stormwater flooding, he said. If so, it will be necessary to cooperate with other municipalities, he said.
Another project of interest is the anaerobic digester recently proposed for the Westerly Sewer Treatment Plant by the Altoona Water Authority, he said.
To obtain money for his campaign, he plans to send letters to people who have supported him previously, he said.
“When people see you working the neighborhoods and (social) functions, some of that takes care of itself,” he added.