One word describes why Mike Kuhn is seeking his first full term in office as Lebanon County commissioner: Service.

Kuhn’s resume includes 28 years of service on the city’s school board, including two terms as president, and a list of a dozen nonprofit, community service and volunteer organizations for whom he has served, including several for more than two decades. That’s in addition to the 37 years he worked as an employee at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital.

“I grew up in a family where my parents were true servants,” said Kuhn, who was appointed as a commissioner in February 2022 to fill the remaining portion of Bill Ames’ term. “I worked together with Bill Carpenter at the hospital as community servants.”

Kuhn said he also wants to be a commissioner to continue to give back as a life-long resident of Lebanon County. “Both my wife and I were born here, we raised our children here, and we love living here – it is our home.”

Although LebTown had first reported in December that Kuhn was planning to run for office, he made his announcement official on Tuesday.

Kuhn was appointed by the county’s Board of Judges on Feb. 18 to fill the remaining portion of Ames’ term after the three-term commissioner passed away in December 2021 from complications due to COVID-19. Following Ames’ death, Kuhn was one of 24 individuals to apply for the vacant commissioner seat.

Read More: Mike Kuhn to be sworn in Tuesday as Lebanon County Commissioner

“Actually, I was considering this (running for commissioner) a long time prior to that,” said Kuhn. “I completed the application, was interviewed, and then sworn in on Feb. 22.”

While the past year has been an on-the-job learning experience for Kuhn, he said he did have some familiarity with county commissioner duties while working at Good Samaritan Hospital with Carpenter, who was a county commissioner for 24 years.

“So I had some really good insight, but until you actually do the job, you don’t have all of the details,” said Kuhn. “I did know a lot of the players within county government offices – Jamie Wolgemuth, many of the department managers, many of the row officers and county employees.”

When he became commissioner, he confirmed what he had already believed to be true: that Lebanon County has really good people working for it.

“There are department managers and row officers who run their departments as if they were their own business,” said Kuhn. “I believe Lebanon County taxpayers are getting good value. I don’t see wasteful spending.”

Kuhn added, however, he’s running for office to address challenges that face Lebanon County.

“We can’t afford to sit back,” said Kuhn, who added that he’s a “fiscal conservative, pro-life, Second Amendment, and smaller government guy.”

“It’s incumbent upon us to seek new opportunities to do things better. How can we do things smarter? How can we control spending? But we’re also charged with providing vital services our county needs, and so it is incumbent upon us to provide the best value to county taxpayers.”

If elected, Kuhn wants to “dive deeper” into spiraling costs in all areas of county government. “A top priority is to examine every opportunity to look at costs and try to find ways to reduce them wherever we can for county taxpayers,” added Kuhn.

Other priorities include addressing housing issues across the county; continuing to incorporate smart growth policies that expand business opportunities while preserving county farmland; and working with municipalities to control costs for emergency services they provide local residents.

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James Mentzer

James Mentzer is a freelance writer whose published works include the books Pennsylvania Manufacturing: Alive and Well; Bucks County: A Snapshot in Time; United States Merchant Marine Academy: In Service to the Nation 1943-2018; A Century of Excellence: Spring Brook Country Club 1921-2021; and Lancaster...