Walker seeking second term as commissioner
Somerset County Commissioner Gerald Walker announced that he will seek a second term in office.
The Stonycreek Township Republican said he has enjoyed the accomplishments of his first term.
He currently serves as board chairman.
“First and foremost, I love this job,” he said. “I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. I just think I can continue to move the programs we started forward. There is a lot more good we can bring to Somerset County.”
Walker, 54, will be the only current commissioner running for office. Democrat John Vatavuk announced in November that he would not seek another term in office, and Republican Pat Terlingo said he would not seek a full term when he was selected to replace James T. Yoder, who left his post to run the Somerset County Area Agency on Aging.
He said that having consistency in the office is key to continuing work on many of the board’s projects.
“The broadband project is one of them that takes a lot of time and a lot of energy,” he said. “You really have to stay on top of everything going on. That whole project is so complex.”
Walker said that during his first term he has forged partnerships with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and CareerLink, as well as other partners, to occupy vacant spaces at the Somerset County Education Center. He said he is also proud of work to bring Clarion University to Somerset County for a nursing program.
“There will be some really good announcements about that in the coming weeks,” he said.
Walker said he also enjoys the day-to-day aspects of the job.
“During my first term, the last three years, Somerset County has seen many accomplishments and successes,” he said. “Taxes have not been raised, unemployment has decreased while local businesses have grown, and small businesses have emerged.”
Walker was a Stonycreek Township supervisor for 14 years. He serves on the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, Somerset County Parks and Recreation Board, 911 Advisory Board, Developmental and Behavioral Health Services Board, Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Tableland Services, Somerset County Economic Development Council and newly formed Broadband Task Force.
He also serves on the Somerset County Drug Free Communities board and is the recipient of the 2018 Mary Ann Bowman Spirit of Red Ribbon Week Award.
“I was honored to receive this award for my dedication and efforts against the opioid crisis in our community through prevention and recovery programs,” he said. “Twin Lakes and Single County Authority, a board I also reside on that administers our drug and alcohol programs, and countless individuals who all passionately work together to raise awareness of this issue we face.”
Republican Party Chairwoman Colleen Dawson and state House aide Thursa Trent-Crouse also announced they will seek one of the two available Republican nominations. Nurse Frank Pelesky and former Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes have announced they will seek the Democratic nominations.