Frank Campbell, a businessman and civic organizer from Newport, will run for Perry County commissioner in this year's election.Submitted
Frank Campbell, the long-time Newport resident, businessman and civic organizer, has announced he will run for Perry County commissioner in this year's election.
"I felt it would be time to represent the county in a more official capacity," said the 70-year-old Campbell, a Republican.
In addition to being a retired president of the family trucking company, H.F. Campbell & Son, Campbell has been involved in various Perry County community and economic interests over the years.
Those organizations include the boards of the Perry County Economic Development Authority, Perry County Economic Development Corp., the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Newport Revitalization & Preservation Society, Geisinger Home Health Board, Newport Planning Commission, Howe Twp. Municipal Authority, among other civic, economic and community groups.
In an interview last week, Campbell said he sees improved economic conditions in the county as a main driver for advances in other areas, such as health care availabilities, infrastructure and general quality of life.
But Campbell said he would like to see smart economic development that also builds off of the county's current assets, such as its large agricultural sector.
"Anything that can help farms be more sustainable is important," he said.
He used Howe Twp. as an example, noting the small municipality has a business growth area near the Route 22/322 exit and along Route 34. Existing businesses Giant, Tractor Supply, Heller's Hardware, and Hamilton Health Center all are located along that corridor. So, too, is the forthcoming Buffalo Crossing business park on the east side of the highway.
Campbell was instrumental recently in getting a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation for two large properties in that Howe Twp. zone as potential sites for a dairy processing facility or other light industrial businesses.
Those types of businesses are what the county really needs for higher wage jobs, and Campbell stands behind efforts that will make that development more appealing. Natural gas will be important, because it's a low-cost energy supply that industry wants.
"It's better to have the opportunity there, than not there," he said. Campbell is one of the county's representatives on the SEDA-COG Natural Gas Cooperative, a multi-county effort to increase gas use by business and industry.
He also has worked with local school districts through the chamber of commerce and PCEDA to help them develop education-business partnerships for career readiness curriculum.
Campbell said when PCEDA surveyed businesses in the county, quality employees were something all businesses said they needed. That will increase as the economy develops, so he wants to continue career readiness and job-training efforts.
"Anything that comes before the board of commissioners, I think would be worth investigating and evaluating," he said. "I wouldn't dismiss anything off-hand."
Campbell said he wants to look at other issues in the county, too, such as the needs of emergency services like fire and ambulance companies. They have struggled in recent years to find enough members and money.
"I'd like to get groups together county wide and look into how these challenges can be met," Campbell said.
He also wants to look at county finances and why it has a recurring theme of increasing costs with revenue that doesn't keep pace.
"We need to analyze the issues and why revenue is lagging," Campbell said, but he believes slow tax revenues can be addressed by growing the economy.
Campbell is a native of Greenwood Twp. and 1966 graduate of Greenwood High School. He also holds an associate's degree in business from Harrisburg Area Community College, and a bachelor's degree in business from Penn State Harrisburg. While he attended school he was also in the Army Reserve from 1967-73.
Between 1966 and 2013, Campbell worked for the family refrigerated trucking business based near Millerstown, in roles including safety director, sales, dispatch, vice president and president. The company was sold to S&H Express in 2013.
Campbell also is involved with the Perry County Bicentennial Committee, Penn State Extension, Perry Farm Fest, Friends of Scouting, Perry County Rotary, and Presbyterian Church of Perry Valley.
Various organizations have presented Campbell with awards for his community service, support of the arts and volunteerism over the years. Those included a Jefferson Award, a national program to recognize local volunteers.
Since 1969, Campbell has lived in Newport Borough with wife Susan Campbell. They have three adult children.
Jim T. Ryan can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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