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This Week’s LION: Eric Beiter, Williamsport Mayoral Candidate

Is it possible to be an idealistic pragmatist? This might be the best way to describe Eric Beiter, Republican Party candidate for Mayor of Williamsport. Eric is store manager with Beiter’s Home Center in South Williamsport, but also has studied abroad and knows American history and political theory like a professor. Eric Beiter grew up

Is it possible to be an idealistic pragmatist? This might be the best way to describe Eric Beiter, Republican Party candidate for Mayor of Williamsport. Eric is store manager with Beiter’s Home Center in South Williamsport, but also has studied abroad and knows American history and political theory like a professor.

Eric Beiter grew up in Williamsport, who after grading from Bishop Neumann High School was greatly interested in history and politics. Rather than going to a university that had good departments in those fields, Eric chose the university that was rated #1 in the nation in study abroad participation, Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. He wanted to research American history from a British perspective (certainly a novel idea). Through Arcadia he had the opportunity to study in London and Scotland, and also travel extensively through Europe.

Eric showed remarkable insight for a twenty-year old, recognizing from his studies abroad that problems are universal, the differences are in their magnitude. Yet he also recognized that people everywhere have the same concerns. They want to live their lives without being dictated how that should be done. They want to be able to take care of their family and fulfill their aspirations. Through his foreign experience, Eric saw life in the United States, and Williamsport in particular, with new eyes.

Fresh out of college in 2008 with a degree in business administration, Eric entered the workforce at the worst possible time for an aspiring economist. He first found work driving a Fed Ex Express truck for six months, and this was followed by working as a salesperson for the Sun-Gazette for eighteen months. Then a surprising job offer came along — the family business. His first job was at age 13 when his father put him putting together whatever needed to put together in the warehouse, and he ended up working there all through high school. But now the family recognized that Eric had the work ethic and sharp mind they needed for management, and that he could add value to the business.

Eric Beiter is an incredibly sharp young man with surprisingly well-thought out solutions to the issues in Williamsport. At the same time, he understands the challenges that will need to be faced to implement those solutions. From his perspective, Williamsport will be forced to make decisions in the next four years that will impact the city and area for the next thirty years. The levee, city hall repairs, city infrastructure – all of these are huge, big-ticket needs that will require compromise and cooperation to accomplish. Local government is not a zero sum game, which means that those who serve in this capacity must do what is best for those who live in the city.

However, there will be very difficult political decisions that need to be made, and this often translates into one-term elected officials. Eric understands this, and is ready for it. His heroes are Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. These men made history, and they did it by making tough decisions that were the right decisions. It often does not translate into popularity, but it counts for posterity.

Eric Beiter is one of those rare individuals that is intelligent enough to go into any profession he might choose. He declared his candidacy for the Williamsport mayor right after the failed referendum on the change in city government last November. As the father of three beautiful young daughters, he wants to get involved and make an impact in a way that looks past a single term of office and looks toward the next decade. He wants his children to grow up in a city that is thriving in every way — economically, educationally, entertainingly. He wants the city to get a “fresh start.”

What is an idealistic pragmatist? Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” Eric Beiter is certainly that kind of man.

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