Former congressional candidate to run for Franklin Co. seat

March 21, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives has set his sights on winning one of two Republican nominations for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in the May 15 primary.

"In 2002, I decided I wanted to pursue public service ... with Commissioner (G. Warren) Elliott stepping down, I figured I still have a desire to serve and there are some important issues we're facing," said David S. Keller of Chambersburg.

Keller, 37, ran for the U.S. House's 9th District seat in 2002, finishing second in the GOP primary to Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. Shuster won overwhelmingly with about 74 percent of the vote in the three-candidate race.

Keller finished with about 14 percent, but said he was pleased with his performance in Franklin County, where he received about 25 percent of the vote.


"Tax fairness has to be a big issue right now, not just in our county, but throughout the state," Keller said. "We can't rely so much on real estate taxes with the population getting older" and more people living on fixed incomes, he said.

Counties, school districts and local governments should be allowed to raise revenue from earned income, sales or other taxes to ease their reliance on property taxes, Keller said.

Such a change in the tax code would require county and local officials working with the state legislature to get the necessary legislation passed, he said.

County taxpayers also could benefit from increased efforts at drug and alcohol abuse prevention, Keller said. Most local county taxes go to paying for the court system, and reducing the number of people entering the system will benefit taxpayers, he said.

"I'd like to continue what the commissioners have done in farmland preservation," Keller said. The county has purchased development rights on more than 10,000 acres of prime farmland since the 1990s.

An aging population also means the county will have to become more efficient at disseminating information and delivery services to its senior citizens, he said.

An intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy Reserves, Keller is working on earning a law degree and has worked as a computer network consultant at digitalSunrise and Sunrise Computers since 1993.

Cheryl Stearn, who owns the business with her husband, is one of five Democrats running for county commissioner.

"I think we were both surprised that each other announced," Keller said. "Cheryl and I are not approaching this as a partnership" or conferring on issues, he said.

Keller is one of seven Republicans seeking two GOP nominations in the primary.

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