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A retired Lebanon County veterinarian is making another bid for a seat in Harrisburg.

Calvin “Doc” Clements, 71, is running this time for the 48th Senatorial District seat currently held by Senator Chris Gebhard of North Cornwall Township. Because both men are running unopposed in the May 17 primary, it’s likely they will face each other in the general election in November.

“I have no desire to make the Legislature a career,” Clements told LebTown. “I believe in term limits. I am also a moderate and willing to listen to all point of views.”

Clements ran a veterinary practice in Palmyra for 35 years. Now retired, he runs a small beef and horse farm in South Londonderry Township and donates veterinary services to a canine rescue.

In 2020, Clements ran an unsuccessful challenge against state Rep. Frank Ryan, a two-term Republican serving the 101st District.

‘Fiscal solvency’

Clements is the former owner and CEO of Central Pennsylvania Veterinary Associates, a multiple location veterinary medical service provider.

He is the president elect for the Palmyra Rotary and a volunteer at the Caring Cupboard Food Pantry. He has three children and four grandchildren.

In a statement announcing his candidacy, Clements said if elected he wants to focus his energies “on returning the state to fiscal solvency.”

He plans to present legislation that would “roll back the raises and associated retirement fund increases that legislators recently granted themselves,” he said in the release.

“I find it incredulous that in a time of spiraling inflation, spiking gas prices and economic uncertainty, they would take raises” he said in a statement. “We must repair the broken SERS and PSERS retirement systems, before they bankrupt the state.”

Reiterating that the existing retirement system is “broken,” Clements told LebTown that legislators who are taking unfunded pensions need to shift into a 401(k) program and “stop adding to the debt.”

That’s his No. 1 priority if he makes it to Harrisburg, Clements said.

However, he also noted that Lebanon County voters are concerned with issues including the economy, adequate funding of law enforcement and election security. “I want to increase funding to law enforcement and will seek an equitable voter ID law,” he said.

He said state and local police departments should be able to “provide better paid officers, hire an increased number of officers, and provide appropriate support staff.”

“Shamefully, legislators are paid $94,000 plus exquisite benefits for 120 days/year work,” he said in a statement, while “full-time police are paid on the average of $55,000 yearly for full time work. If we are going to break the cycle of increased violence, we need to increase police services.”

A fair voter ID law would “safeguard our elections” while also being “equitable and fair allowing all those who desire, an opportunity to vote,” Clements said. “We can safeguard elections, so they are free and fair and without the stigma of fraud.”

‘Opportunity for change’

Clements said he wants to see the parties put aside their differences and get back to work.

Voters are tired of the endless acrimony and (needless) legislature spending on agenda witch hunts,” he told LebTown. “Money that could be better spent on funding law enforcement or education.”

Personally, he said, he brings 35 years of business experience to the table, building and managing a veterinary medical corporation. As a beef and horse farmer, he added, he has no fear of taking the “bull by the horns.”

Clements believes the recent redistricting process will “provide an opportunity for change” in Pennsylvania. For the past 25 years, he said in an email, “one party has been in control and they have grossly mismanaged the pension program and put PA on a fast tract for bankruptcy.”

He plans to run an “intensive” door-to-door campaign to meet with voters, and he hopes his position on the legislative pay raise will sway voters to support a Democrat in the 48th District.

“My opponent runs a multimillion dollar insurance company,” he said. “When is enough, enough?”

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Tom Knapp

Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.