Clearfield County Commissioner Candidate: Larry Garner

Please provide a biographical narrative.

Larry Garner (Provided photo)

Larry Garner (Provided photo)

I am 50 years old and moved to Clearfield County in 1989. My wife and I made a small farmette in LaJose. We made our home and raised our now 21-year-old daughter, Victoria.

I drive a coal truck for Ollinger Bros. located in Altoona. I have been the secretary/treasurer for Chest Township for seven years and also now hold the same position for New Washington Borough.

My wife and I are the organizational leaders for the Clearfield County 4-H Hot Shots shotgun club and Boy Scout shooting instructor volunteers.

I am a life member of the National Rifle Association and a certified shotgun instructor. I am actively involved with the following organizations: Grampian Lions International, Firearms Owners Against Crime, The Second Amendment Foundation, The Clearfield/Centre County Friends of NRA Committee, secretary of the Clearfield County Republican Committee, secretary of All Seasons Trap and Skeet Club, Second Amendment Chair of the Clearfield County Patriots, Audit Chairman for the Curwensville Moose Lodge 268, vice president of the Curwensville Moose Riders Lodge 268, officer of the Clearfield Eagles Aerie 812, Chinklacamoose Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna Chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation.

What motivated your interest in running for Clearfield County Commissioner?

My interest in seeking the office of County Commissioner began in 2007 when I first attempted a campaign for the office. My interest is continuing to grow and get more intense because I think the door to preservation of freedom is closing.

The lack of resistance against state mandates and the disregard of property owners’ rights during making of policy are unacceptable. The accepted reduction of authority as represented by rural county commissioners cannot continue if rural counties are going to survive.

The very thought of egotistical urbanite and yes even criminal legislators making policies without an understanding of rural life is appalling. The act of forcing those policies down rural Pennsylvanians’ throats and holding us hostage by refusal to distribute funds back to rural counties is immoral and disgusting political bullying.

What qualifications do you possess that would benefit the Clearfield County Commissioners’ Office?

My qualifying experiences include managing, operating, finding work and doing the required maintenance on equipment of my own trucking company for eight years.

I currently have six years’ experience as the municipal secretary/treasurer for Chest Township, Clearfield County and, in April of 2014, I was appointed as the secretary/treasurer for New Washington Borough with a combined worth of more than $3,900,000.

I have a thorough knowledge of preparing and understanding budgets and dealing with state and county agencies. I also hold several officer and chairmanship positions within many local charitable and social organizations located in Clearfield County.

Government transparency has been a buzzword in politics for the past few years. Do you feel that the county is transparent enough? If not, what needs to change?

Political buzzword is an understatement. The rhetoric of using phrases, such as hope, change, open and transparent policies, without naming what changes or violations of said rhetoric are occurring is a political strategy that is aimed at uninformed voters.

With the current Freedom of Information Act and the Right to Know laws, withholding of public information requires a judge’s order to be binding. If elected to the office of commissioner and I am informed of such violations against the public’s Right to Know, I will engage and request the county solicitor take the required steps to correct the violation.

If elected, how would you reach out and form relationships with citizens of Clearfield County? How would you reach out to those citizens in the outlying areas of the county?

As a land owner in rural Clearfield County, I think I have a good understanding of the needs and wants of the rural residents.

Countywide ordinances and policies aren’t in the best interest of all county taxpayers. Just as Pennsylvania has two vastly different demographics between urban and rural settings, Clearfield County also has those differing settings.

Ordinances and regulating policies need to be relinquished to the local boroughs and townships to decide what is best for their inhabitants. By relinquishing those powers to local municipal authorities, the ability for citizens of those municipalities have the oversight and ability to control said authorities at the ballot box.

In short, oversized government is not efficient. Case in point, the inept and inefficient management of Harrisburg and other large cities are placing them on the verge of bankruptcy.

That is how the large government works, do Clearfield County residents want those models of government?

If elected, what measures would you take to ensure the efficient operation of Clearfield County?

To provide for efficient operation of county government, the Commissioners need to remove micromanaging from the row offices and allow the elected office holders do what they were hired to do by the voters.

The exception is being to control the budget by limiting unnecessary spending and providing assistance when requested. One item of concern is that within the row offices, there is a problem with only one person capable of doing required tasks.

This is unacceptable and the implementation of a trained alternate ready to take charge when the need arises needs to be addressed.

What is your opinion on regionalization of government positions, police forces, etc. within Clearfield County?

We have a regional police force. It’s called the Clearfield County Sheriff’s office. While the powers of the sheriff’s office are controversial, a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1994 ruled in favor of the Sheriff’s Office, stating that they did in fact have police powers.

Wouldn’t it be more favorable for the highest law enforcement office to be accountable to the voters than be appointed by a governor who has no understanding of our way of life?

That stated, I am in favor of reciprocity between municipalities as long as the power and ability to enforce ordinances are mutually agreed upon. Said police forces need to understand what needs enforced in their home municipality may not be unlawful in an adjoining municipality.

I am completely against municipal mergers and take overs. When governments become large they become less representative and more dominating.

If elected, what measures would you take to generate economic development opportunities for Clearfield County?

Economic development is another political buzzword and hack rhetoric. More government money creating more lots to sit idle and buildings to sit empty is the last thing Clearfield County needs.

The way to create economic opportunity is to allow Americans to do what they do best, create and be productive by getting government out of their way. The necessity to ask permission and then jump through all the state and county regulations are discouraging development.

This spring close to 1,500 students will graduate high school and they, along with college students and the currently unemployed, will all be competing for jobs that aren’t there.

High school students can’t even find traditional work on farms because there are so few farms left in the county.

By reducing government walls, residents would once again be free to start, build and expand business without using government money.

I hear a lot of talk of using grant money to invest in economic development. Unless those grants are private funds, the grant money is still redistributed tax dollars.

If elected, what would be your top priority as Clearfield County Commissioner?

My number one priority is to review and appoint a new planning commission to make the necessary changes to the Comprehensive Plan.

I intend to find small and large business owners along with land owners to review and eliminate the blatant and obscene restrictions placed on business and land owners because of the central planning model implemented in the current plan.

Number two is to work towards eliminating the ability for county government to pick winners and losers based on donations, also known as kickbacks. The county has no business dictating where a private municipal waste hauler must deliver the waste they pick up based on getting money returned to the county.

Again, this is an obscene abuse of power.

What are the greatest challenges facing Clearfield County? If elected, what measures would you propose to resolve them?

The greatest challenges facing our county are providing a free atmosphere to create employment opportunities, and resisting state mandates that urban dominating politicians throw at us.

I think my earlier responses explain the solutions quite well. Until someone stands and resists intrusive state laws, rural America will not prosper.

Do the voters of Clearfield County want to continue electing managers, or do they want to start electing patriots, or the everyday hard working people who live as they do?

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