By Lucas Wood
FREELAND, Pa. -- Next month, the people of Freeland will be electing a new Mayor for their town.
Meet, John Budda
John Budda, 56, is running for Mayor on the republican ticket.
Budda is a retired postmaster of 15 years.
For four decades, Budda's been a member of the Freeland Northside Community Ambulance, and currently serves on the Freeland YMCA board and on the board of trustees at the White Haven Center.
His Darker Days
It was just in August of this year when Budda was arrested after getting into an altercation, stopped traffic, kissed a boy, threw a lit cigarette at a person and took a basketball and gallon of milk from people all while walking in the borough that he's running for Mayor in.
From those incidents listed above, Budda was ultimately charged with theft from a motor vehicle, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, simple assault, three counts of harassment, and four counts of disorderly conduct.
As Mayor, Budda says he'd like to work with both party’s on council to fix the issues the town faces and come up with solutions that will work to move Freeland forward.
On social media, Budda wrote, "I would love to be able to work on solutions to the drug problem and crime in our community." He continues, "I would work with anyone trying to bring new businesses to our borough."
The Hazleton Headlines have made several failed attempts to reach out to Budda for further campaign-related questions on where he stands with certain policy issues.
Meet, Shayne Balliet
Shayne Balliet, 29, is running for Mayor on the democratic ticket.
Balliet is the owner and founder of the news website, Hazleton News 1.
In 2016, he opened up All Paws Salon, a dog grooming business on Church Street in Hazleton with his wife, Jessica.
Balliet's the president of Hazleton Area Dog Owners Group, which operates Bailey’s Bark Park.
For the past few years, Balliet has also organized and ran Terror Trail, an annual haunted trail in Weatherly.
Righting His Wrongs
In Balliet's early to mid 20's, he quite often got himself into trouble with the law.
In 2009, Balliet was charged with burglary, receiving stolen property, and theft from a motor vehicle.
The following year, he faced charges of simple assault and harassment.
Recently in 2015, Balliet faced disorderly conduct charges after him and his pals attempted a Friday the 13th-style prank in Hazleton when they put fake blood on a car, took it to a car wash, washed the blood off, and then stuffed a fake body into a trunk.
Balliet claims he's changed man, though.
When Balliet announced his candidacy in February, he wrote on Facebook saying, "I was an undesirable member of the community, a nuisance to law enforcement, and the only mark I left on the world was a small stain." He continues, "With two young children, a desire to repay debts, and a responsible mature growing conscience, I turned my life around to make my small part of the world a better place for my children and the communities that I have wronged."
Balliet says his number one goal as Mayor of Freeland is to bring the community together.
We'll be interviewing Balliet later this month to discuss policy issues and what he promises to do as Mayor of Freeland.