LEECHBURG – Anthony Shea, 52, Major, U.S. Air Force, Retired, has announced his candidacy for Armstrong County Commissioner in the upcoming May 21 primary election.
Shea currently serves as school director and vice president on the Leechburg Area School Board. He is also vice chairman of the Lenape Joint Operating Committee (JOC).
Shea said that during his tenure on the school board, the district has undergone a complete transformation.
“The school itself has received significant renovations, the curriculum is now STEM focused and Leechburg is leading the way in Western Pennsylvania with its Inventionland and Creation Nation initiatives,” Shea said in announcing his candidacy. “The school now has full day kindergarten and an on-site Pre-K program. Even with the significant improvements in the last several years, Armstrong County residents actually saw a modest decrease in their 2018 property taxes.”
Shea’s time on the Lenape JOC has seen the introduction of BC3 college classes to the Manor Township campus.
As commissioner, Shea said he will “show up every day to work and make himself highly accessible to the true owners of this county, its citizens.”
Partnering with business and community leaders and in collaboration with the other commissioners, Shea said he will focus immediately upon taking office to set goals for a strategic road map that will poise the county towards growth and jobs. He said his focus will be on improved infrastructure (roads and bridges), expanded broadband connectivity, leveraging IT to improve county services and revenue generation, expanded tourism, while holding the line on taxes. Shea said he will seek out other successful counties, and growth regions, to see what is working. Additionally, Shea said he will partner with local, state and federal, as well as business entities to drive investment within the county.
Shea touted his “lifetime of experience.” He enlisted in the Air Force in 1985 and served nine years in law enforcement. During this time, Shea worked as a patrolman, 911 dispatcher and prison guard at Myrtle Beach AFB, S.C., Suwon Air Base Korea and Patrick AFB, Fla. with deployments in Egypt and Korea. While enlisted, Shea earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice and bachelor’s degree in computer studies. In 1994, then-Staff Sergeant Shea applied for, and was accepted into officer candidate school and commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
As a Communications/Computer officer, Shea worked at Air Force Global Weather Center in Offutt AFB, Neb., Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo. the Defense Information Systems Agency in Stuttgart, Germany. During this time, Shea earned a master’s degree in telecommunications management. Shea was selected for special duty as an assistant professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. and selected to run the all female Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL) at Mary Baldwin College. Shea retired from the Air Force in 2008 in the rank of Major. While on Active Duty, Shea supported Operation Allied Force, the Iraqi No Fly zone and humanitarian operations in Kosovo and Bosnia. He was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
In Shea’s post military career, he has worked eight years in the banking industry at BNY Mellon as a business liaison and the last three years in healthcare as a software engineer.
Shea has served the last 11 years as the Leechburg Elks Drug Awareness lead. He is an officer for the Gilpin Rifle Club, as well as a member of the Schenley American Legion, Leechburg Moose, Ford City VFW and Knights of Columbus.
Shea, and his spouse, Kerry, of 24 years, have four children. He and family are members of Christ the King Church in Gilpin Township.