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Clinton County commissioner candidates sound off at political forum

LOCK HAVEN — Clinton County’s first political forum for the upcoming November election, hosted by The Renovo Record, drew a large crowd to the Rebecca Gross Room on the third floor of the Annie Halenbake Ross Library on Wednesday evening.

All four candidates running for three commissioner seats attended the event including incumbents Paul Conklin, a Democrat, and Jeff Snyder, a Republican, along with Democratic candidate Angela Harding and Republican Miles Kessinger.

The event went smoothly with John Lipez, publisher of The Record, as moderator, and Jeannine Lipez as time keeper.

During the question and answer session, each candidate was given one minute to answer each question.

Lipez asked 11 questions, some prepared and others submitted by

members of the community. They ranged from the candidate’s opinion on the most pressing issue the county is facing to what efforts can be made to reduce the county’s budget.

At the end of the forum, each candidate was given a chance to make a closing statement.

Kessinger was the first to speak, joking that many people called him crazy for running a campaign after retirement, having served as county commissioner for almost two terms in the 1990s, then resigning to take the job as court administrator upon the sudden death of Dan Wilt. He retired from that post a couple of years ago.

“For some people, retirement isn’t right, and for me I’ve been working all my life and retirement isn’t for me,” he said in an earlier statement.

Kessinger said that campaigning has been a pleasure for he and his family.

“I’ve enjoyed this campaign,” he said. “We’ve seen almost all of the county. I don’t care what people say, Clinton County is a nice place.”

Harding spoke next.

“I have no more or no less experience than anyone who has run for commissioner,” she said, highlighting her hard work, passion and care for the county she’s called home for the past 30 years as a reason why she’d be a good fit for commissioner.

“I will give my tireless effort in pushing this county forward,” she said.

Conklin spoke about all the various boards and committees he serves on, including prison board chairman, as a current commissioner. Conklin is seeking his second four-year term.

“I do all this because I care,” he said. “I care about this county.”

Snyder began by thanking those in attendance for allowing him to serve as a commissioner for almost 12 years.

He highlighted some of his accomplishments during that time including keeping a closer eye on the county’s children and youth department and the county’s bills.

“I work hard on making sure the county tax dollars are spent wisely,” he said.

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