By Levi Jiorle
Not many people get asked to be the mayor of a town, but for Tarah Probst, Mayor of Stroudsburg, that is exactly what happened and it only took her one day to decide.
She is an East Stroudsburg native herself, and has lived in northeastern Pennsylvania her whole life.
“There was a new school board that was elected–very low voter turnout–and the very first day in office, they closed two elementary schools. To make a long story short, it wasn’t good for the school district, it wasn’t good for the students, and the community went out, voiced their opinions,” Mayor Probst said.
After Probst and the rest of the community expressed their concerns, asking why they would do this, the school board had quite a succinct answer that would have left most unsettled: “We know who we answer to.”
Probst then started to attend every school board meeting, with the hopes to increase public awareness of the situation. Voter turnout increased by 20 percent, and the community started to vote for the changes they wanted to see.
“After that,” Probst said, “the Democratic Party came to me and said, you know, you lit a fire under people.”
They asked her to run, and the rest is history.
Probst’s mom taught her and her brothers the virtue of hard work early on in life. Her mother, aunt and grandmother were all positive influences that shaped who she is today.
“We had hard, hard workers in our family, and women that did everything,” Probst said.
She said that seeing all the hard-working women in her family made her very self-sufficient throughout college. All the women in her family made it a point to express how important education is. She and her brothers were the first in the family to go to college.
She is the Mayor of Stroudsburg, but she is also now running for Pennsylvania Senate in the 40th District.
“I think all people in politics go in with what they think is the right ideas,” Probst said. “I think what happened, especially in Monroe County, is, you know, the Recession happened, we’re the only county that didn’t recover.”
She then mentions how the current senator has been in office for 16 years, and there just has not been enough done to help people flourish, especially with livable wages.
She would also like to address some educational problems. Pennsylvania is in the top 10 in education within the country, but we are number 48 for federal funding.
“Texas gets more money than we do,” she said, “and Texas is number 48th or 47th in education. They also don’t have school taxes.”
She brings it back to Pennsylvania, addressing what needs to be done to improve: “We have a moral obligation to have good schools for our communities.”
Despite all her success in politics, her proudest moment is being a mom and spending time with her family and friends.
“I have an almost eleven-year-old son, happily married, I have a great family and support system. There’s nothing more to be proud of than your family,” Probst said.
She is also happy to see today’s generation of young adults become so politically aware and active.
“I’m so proud, because I feel like more college kids are getting it. I feel like they’re getting it because they’re feeling it.
They have high college debt, they’re working, they’re going to school.”
Even though Probst expressed the difficulties college kids face today, she remained hopeful that change could happen for the better.
“If they use their votes and their power for what they’re looking for, honest to God, the world would change.”
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