The transportation czar
Who: Steve Craig
Residence: New Castle
Occupation: Democrat Lawrence County commissioner
Influential because: In addition to serving his third term on the three-member board that governs Lawrence County, Craig chairs the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. The organization is responsible for planning and prioritizing the use of all state and federal transportation funds for the region that includes the City of Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland.
Influential experience: Craig is Lawrence County’s former planning director and has held planning positions in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Virgin Islands.
Influential across state lines: Craig is a co-founder of the nation’s first officially designated interstate organization, the Oh-Penn Interstate Regions. Comprising Lawrence and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania and Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio, the organization’s goal is to enhance economic and workforce development.
Influential to the north: Craig also is the former chairman and current board member of the Northwest Commission, a development district serving the Western Pennsylvania counties of Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren.
Influential family: Craig has a wife, Faith, and two children.
Influential education: Craig has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from John Carroll University in Ohio and a master’s degree in urban planning from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Influential in Scouting: Craig has served as Scoutmaster of Troop 743 in Neshannock Township, Lawrence County.
Influential quote: “We need to think bigger as a region. We need to be aspirational, or we’ll get what we’ve always gotten.” — Craig after the SPC recently voted to support a $666 million project to extend the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Southern Beltway between Interstate 79 and Route 22 in Washington County.