Schuylkill Commissioners Frank Staudenmeier and George Halcovage to run for re-election
Incumbents Frank Staudenmeier and Chairman George Halcovage, both Republicans, have announced their intent to run for re-election in 2019. Incumbent Democratic Commissioner Gary Hess said he too will run for re-election; Hess said that his running mate will be announced soon.
All three were the incumbent Schuylkill County commissioners and won new four-year terms in 2015.
Of the three, Staudenmeier has served longest as commissioner. He was appointed to the position on Aug. 1, 2001, to take the place of Jerry Knowles, now a state representative for the 124th legislative district. Knowles gained that post in a special election in May 2009, filling a vacancy left by Dave Argall, who had been elected to the state senate to succeed late Sen. James J. Rhoades. After Staudenmeier was appointed as commissioner, he then ran for re-election and has served since then.
Argall will chair the Staudenmeier-Halcovage re-election campaign.
Staudenmeier and Halcovage said that serving the people is the primary role of a commissioner. Both praised Hess as an important part of the unity evident of the present board of commissioners.
“We all have a vested interest in the county, where we have our families, our children and grandchildren,” Staudenmeier said. “The way to get things done is to work together.”
Halcovage said that he and Staudenmeier strive to make progress in all aspects of county life.
“Schuylkill County is where we live, raise our families, worship and work,” Halcovage said. “We’ve worked to make things better, and we want to continue to improve.”
Asked to name their most significant achievements in the past few years, Halcovage and Staudenmeier pointed to cost-saving measures and job creation:
Selling the Rest Haven Nursing Home, which generated significant revenue for the county while eliminating the county’s subsidized cost of operation.
Working with the county’s economic development team to create family-sustaining jobs in the county, which correspondingly, reduced the county’s unemployment rate.
Continuing to stick to zero-based budgeting (implemented by Staudenmeier, and then commissioners Bob Carl and Mantura Gallagher) as a means of curbing the increase in county operations costs, and thereby minimize impact to taxpayers.