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Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein announces run for county executive

Current Allegheny County treasurer John Weinstein speaks to supporters at the Heinz History Center on Thursday, Jan. 12, when he announced his bid for Allegheny County Executive.
Julia Zenkevich
90.5 WESA
Current Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein speaks to supporters at the Heinz History Center on Thursday, Jan. 12, when he announced his bid for county executive.

Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein announced his bid for county executive on Thursday at an event for several hundred supporters in the Heinz History Center.

“I’m tired of the divisiveness in this country and in this region — extremes on both sides,” Weinstein said in a prerecorded video played before his announcement.

Current County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is term-limited and cannot run again next year. The race to replace him is growing crowded; Weinstein’s entry makes him one of six people to declare their candidacy for the position.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, state Rep. Sara Innamorato, Allegheny County Council member Liv Bennett, former county councilor Dave Fawcett and Erin McClelland — all Democrats — also are running for the office.

Weinstein has been county treasurer since 1999. He said the experience he amassed in that role would come in handy if he is elected county executive.

“When you step back and look at what an elected official is really supposed to be doing for the taxpayers, it’s to be fiscally responsible and to never squander taxpayer money and to always be an advocate for the taxpayers. And that’s what I have done from day one,” he said.

Weinstein cited “challenges in the region,” such as public safety, homelessness and infrastructure, as his top priorities.

In downtown Pittsburgh, “Whatever we’re doing, whatever’s being done, it’s not working,” he said, adding that he believes panhandling and drug use there have reached “unacceptable” levels. He told supporters he has a plan to reduce homelessness in Allegheny County but did not share details.

“I’ve spent a long time in public service — half of my life I’ve been in [the Allegheny County Courthouse],” Weinstein said. “I understand how to govern. I understand county government better than anyone.”

Allies from county and city government attended Weinstein’s kickoff event, including former Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Council members Theresa Kail Smith and Anthony Coghill, and County Council members Pat Catena, John Palmiere, Robert Palmosina and Bob Macey.

County Council candidate Joanna Doven was also in attendance, as were state Sens. Wayne Fontana and Jim Brewster, and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. The suggested donation for entry to the event was $1,000.

Weinstein also touted his connections with labor organizations, noting that the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council endorsed his candidacy Thursday morning.

“They will always have a seat at the table with me,” he said.

Towards the end of his speech, Weinstein hinted at things to come in his campaign, including commercials, mailers and lots of outreach.

“I have been elected six times countywide. I have fantastic name recognition for all of the taxpayers in the county and especially all of the dog owners,” he said.

He positioned himself as a candidate who could appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle.

“Democrats and Republicans, we’re Allegheny County residents, and that’s what means something to me. Doesn’t matter what you’re registered to vote, I care about you and your family,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said he will not run for county treasurer in 2024.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at