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Thomas running for re-election to Franklin County Commissioners

January 17, 2011
  • Bob Thomas
Bob Thomas

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas has announced he will run for re-election this year.

Thomas, a Republican, was first elected in 1995.

“I enjoy serving the public, and my passion for service runs strong,” he said in a news release.

In announcing his candidacy, Thomas said experience gained while serving with former commissioners G. Warren Elliott and Cheryl Plummer for 12 years served him well during his fourth term when the economy declined.

“No question, the last three years have been challenging, but we persevered and the county has been doing well financially. Franklin County’s budget is balanced, our pension fund is solid and our tax rate continues to be among the lowest in Pennsylvania,” Thomas said.

Thomas, 56, who lives in Chambersburg, said his goal is to further improve countywide planning and cooperation with local governments. He highlighted his work with other municipal leaders that led to formation of the Franklin County Council of Governments in 2001. He served as chairman of the COG from its formation until 2009.

Thomas helped form the Franklin County Rural Planning Organization (RPO) in 2008, and he now serves as its chairman. The RPO enables joint planning and decisions between the Federal Highway Administration, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and local officials.

In 2010, Thomas voted to create the Franklin County Redevelopment Authority in an effort improve the economic viability of downtown and redevelop older or abandoned buildings. He said the ultimate goal is to preserve green space and create jobs.

Thomas serves as president of the Franklin County Prison Board.

“With the support of the courts and the prison board, our jail and probation department have been on the cutting edge in regards to reform. We now have treatment with the primary goal of changing lives, thereby curbing recidivism and reducing jail population,” Thomas said.

In the news release, Thomas said the jail has seen a reduction of inmates over the past five years, “seriously bucking the state and national trends.”

Renting empty beds to neighboring Fulton County, Pa., and the U.S. Marshals Service brought in $950,000 in revenue last year.

The primary election is May 17. Commissioners are paid $70,000 a year.

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