After an Allentown city councilman resigned mid-term, Harvard graduate Brad M. Paraszczak ’11 has applied for the vacant seat in his Pennsylvania hometown. Paraszczak, who served as the treasurer of the Undergraduate Council, said his experience with public service and interest in policy questions motivated him to jump into the political arena on a local level.
“This decision is not about politics as much as it is about public policy, which is why I intend to only serve out the remainder of the term,” Paraszczak said. He noted that by avoiding fundraising and campaigning, he will remain focused on researching issues and finding solutions to various municipal problems.
Currently, eleven others are vying for the spot that was vacated when former Councilman Michael D’Amore stepped down to take the position of magisterial district judge in December. The city council will publicly vote for a replacement by Jan. 31.
“[Brad’s] run for city council is far from surprising,” current UC Vice President Pratyusha Yalamanchi ’13 said. “He has always sought to be informed on current issues and local governance…and his knowledge of finance and concern for local issues will permit him to consider the city budget from a fresh, informed standpoint and address residents’ concerns.”
Yalamanchi, who worked with Paraszczak on the UC, recalled him as one of the most dedicated officers during his two years of service.
“During his time as treasurer, he reformed UC finance,” she said. “He streamlined the UC funding and allocation process and increased transparency.”
In addition to handling the UC’s nearly half million dollar budget, Paraszczak served as a Kirkland House Committee Chair and the treasurer.
“Not only did he do a better job of it than most people, he did it without getting paid, without ever asking for recognition—all while balancing schoolwork and other extracurriculars,” former UC President Johnny F. Bowman ’11 said.
With his experiences, Paraszczak said he hopes to address what he sees as the major issues faced by most municipalities—including education, economic development, finance, infrastructure investment, and public safety.
“When you really study the issues, you see that everything is interconnected,” the former government concentrator said.
Paraszczak has also served as a congressional intern, where he researched health care and financial reforms and worked extensively on labor issues, education reform, and economic development.
As the youngest candidate for the seat, Paraszczak said he hopes that his decision to run will inspire more young people to engage in politics.
“Age alone should not be a disqualifying factor in politics,” Paraszczak said.
“If our generation is lauded for changing the face of business, science, technology and public service, why shouldn’t our voices be heard in government as well?”
—Staff writer David Song can be reached at email@example.com.