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Harding taking the ‘natural next step’ in her life

ANGELA HARDING

By JOHN RISHEL

jrishel@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — Angela Harding, 45, is taking her first step into the political arena this year, running on the Democratic ticket for Clinton County commissioner.

“I grew up on a farm. I am not originally from around here, but I quickly fell in love with the area. I stand for the betterment of Clinton County, and all of the people in it. I stand for the future of our community. There are already a lot of good things happening in Clinton County, but I feel like we can always do better. As far as my platform, I have been studying the budget, I have been studying the comprehensive plan. There is a lot to learn and a lot to take in, but I think that we can keep things going in the right direction,” she said.

Asked about her desire to become a commissioner, Harding replied, “I want this position because I think that I can be instrumental in helping Clinton County move forward. My dedication to the community and my experience in the different careers that I have held within this community, it seems running for commissioner is the natural next step.

I have worked in media for eight years, I have worked with small businesses and large businesses in Clinton County. I got to know a lot of the business owners and the business people. I worked as the Clinton County United Way executive director for five years, which gave me the opportunity to work with the non-profits who are working really hard to improve our community, and there is a need. Through that position, I also met a lot of families that struggle in our community. From United Way I went to Keystone Central School District, which gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about the education system within our district and what the challenges are and what the needs are within the school district. So, having worked in all these different capacities within this community, plus all of my volunteer experience, all of the different boards and committees that I sat on over the years, I feel like all of these things combined make becoming a county commissioner the obvious next step for me.”

Asked why she thinks she’s the right person for the job, Harding said, “For all of the reasons that I just mentioned, I think I can relate to folks on a lot of different levels in this community. I bring fresh ideas and fresh perspectives, and hopefully out-of-the-box solutions to some of the issues that the county faces. I am hard working, I am a very committed and dedicated person. I think that my time in Clinton County has proven that. I have dedicated my entire adult life to serving Clinton County in one capacity or another.”

As far as changes that need to be made, Harding said, “I don’t know that any drastic changes need to me made. I mean, there are obvious things. We need to increase our tax base. We have some growth, we have growth at First Quality and manufacturing jobs are expanding, and that is awesome. But we need more growth if we are going to be sustainable. As I have been studying the budget, I think that we need to take a stronger look at mental health in our community. That is something that we could … instead of being reactive to some of the issues we have with our human services system … we could be more proactive. That is something that I have been following up with at the school district and at United Way. The mental health and the health of our community members is a really important issue that we should maybe look at helping, whether it be the non-profit agencies or the human service agencies that are currently working with the government to do a better job. Creating more jobs is going to be key. I think that our strengths here in Clinton County are our people and our trees. Where we are located is so beautiful, and we need to start capitalizing on that more.”

Concerning the single most important issue that needs to be addressed, Harding said, “I think that the single most important issue, for me specifically, for me to address… is the fact that everyone needs to work together. By that, I mean, Clinton County is never going to be as great as it can be if everyone is not rowing in the same direction. So, in order to have a fantastic community that people in the county can live in, and have businesses and enjoy our recreation, we need to have a strong school district. The school district is now on the upward swing with Jacqueline Martin, who has taken the helm and is making a lot of changes to bring up the expectation of our education system… which I think in the past has held back a lot of growth in our community. Without everybody working together for the same purpose, whether it is workforce development or education, not only within our school district but within our community, we will not grow. I think the most important issue for me is just having everybody on the same page, everyone working toward the same goals. I’m reviewing the comprehensive plan, and finding out where the county is at with that comprehensive plan right now, where are they struggling in that plan and how does that tie into moving everyone forward and everyone up to a higher standard.

“I’m excited to serve the people of Clinton County. Those who know me know that I will give everything that I’ve got… to make our community, in its entirety, from one end to the other, for every family, the best place that it can possibly be.”

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