CLARKS SUMMIT- Two borough council members are vying to be the new mayor of Clarks Summit after Mayor Harry Kelly declined to run for another term.
Herman Johnson and Patty Lawler, both democrats, have thrown their hats into the ring to lead one of the largest municipalities in the Abington area.
Both candidates expressed a desire to connect with Clarks Summit’s youth and elderly population and make the mayoral role a more public role.
“I want people to know who their mayor is,” Lawler said.
Johnson echoed that sentiment, adding that the mayor’s role is to act as a liaison between council and the police department.
Johnson, a Vietnam veteran, has focused his campaign on ensuring that residents feel safe in the borough. He touted his 30 years in law enforcement and emergency management, including chief of security operations at Tobyhanna Army Depot, as important assets he would bring to bear if he were elected.
Johnson said he would focus on “getting out to the public and letting them know that our police department is there to help,” he said
To that end, he said he would institute programs such as bike safety for the youth, keeping seniors educated on new scams and seat belt checks to ensure driver safety.
He said he would work to ensure that departments like the police, the Department of Public Works and fire department work “hand in hand” to protect the borough in times of emergency.
He added that he wants to lower taxes, make sure the borough budget is sound and institute an open door policy so residents can go straight to the mayor with any concerns.
Lawler’s plan is to focus on commerce. She vowed to work toward the creation of a chamber of commerce for Clarks Summit merchants.
Lawler, a retired school teacher and a business owner and TV show host, wants to help the businesses in the borough band together and offer incentives to shop there, including a senior discount day a few times a year.
In addition, she hopes to continue programs like the borough’s Earth Day celebration to foster a stronger sense of community. She said she would continue her efforts to make the borough more sustainable with recycling programs.
“We’re a small town, only 1.9 square miles and 5,000 people,” she said explaining that it would be easy to bring the community closer together.
Lawler added that she intends to keep taxes low and ensure that borough residents feel safe.
The election takes place May 21.