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South Lebanon Township resident and Cornwall-Lebanon school director Diana Carpenter is running for Lebanon County Commissioner and will appear on the May 16 primary election ballot.

Current commissioners are Republican incumbents Mike Kuhn and Bob Phillips and Democratic incumbent Jo Ellen Litz, all of whom are seeking reelection at the Nov. 7 municipal election.

Carpenter joins Democratic newcomers Michael Schroeder and Cindy Barry Dubbs and Republican newcomer Bill Bering Jr. in seeking one of the three contested commissioner slots.

Carpenter, 32, who describes herself as a “conservative Democrat,” has served on the Cornwall-Lebanon school board since 2019.

She cited her experience in guiding the district through the COVID pandemic and in administering its $95 million budget, which she pointed out is only about $5 million less than the county’s, as her biggest accomplishments.

Carpenter said she is “not running as an establishment politician but rather as a citizen who is invested in the well-being of her community and who believes Lebanon needs a fresh voice from a perspective that is not controlled or bound by conflicting interests.”

In her release, Carpenter made an oblique reference to Phillips and Litz, who are seeking their fourth and seventh four-year terms.

“Lebanon County is my home. I grew up here; it’s where I am raising my children and where I feel dedicated to serving. … The people currently leading our county are good, well-intending individuals who care deeply about Lebanon and its well-being,” she said.

“However, our government needs new voices and fresh eyes to avoid complacency and move our county forward into the 21st Century. Even the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies cycle in and out after several years of service.”

She said business development, community building, and administrative excellence will be her broad focuses as a commissioner.

Carpenter has been employed in restaurant management, at AT&T as an inventory and audit manager, and at Allstate Insurance as a bodily injury claims adjuster. When COVID hit, she left Allstate to take care of her two sons while her husband continued to work full time.

“We had to make a really tough decision,” she said. “I loved my job at Allstate, but when it came to our children and their going completely virtual at school, I had to take a step down for our family.”

She also studied culinary arts in vo-tech school, and said the COVID pandemic and her new status as a stay-at-home parent gave her the unexpected opportunity to open her own confection business, Berry Unique.

Until she was 16, Carpenter’s parents worked for Christian humanitarian aide organization Samaritan’s Purse, and she lived in Uzbekistan, Thailand, and China.

County commissioners serve four-year terms. Commissioners in 5th Class counties such as Lebanon receive a 2023 salary of $75,095. They are allowed to have outside employment.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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