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Tomassetti won’t seek re-election

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County Commissioner Terry Tomassetti is announcing today that he has no plans to seek re-election to another four-year term in office.

The Republican commissioner, who has been in office for 11 years, intends to finish his current term, which runs through December 2019.

But as fellow commissioners Bruce Erb and Ted Beam Jr. start campaigning in 2019 for four more years in office, Tomassetti plans to be on the sidelines.

“Some time ago, I decided to not seek re-election to this important office,” Tomassetti said in a paid advertisement published on Page A6 of today’s Mirror.

When contacted, Tomassetti said he wants to devote more time to his family, which now includes grandchildren. He also said he plans to to keep practicing law.

Erb and Beam, reached Friday night, said they were surprised by Tomas­setti’s pending announcement.

“I was unaware of that,” Erb said.

“He gave us no indication,” Beam said. “I am as surprised as much as anyone would be.”

Both Erb and Beam told the Mirror that they are running in 2019 for re-election.

Erb, a Republican, received the most votes when he ran in November 2015 for his first term as a commissioner; Tomassetti, in that same election, won his third term; and Beam, a Democrat, won his second term.

Erb said that when he ran for commissioner, he made a pledge to serve a maximum of two terms in office.

“I think we’ve started to move the county forward and I want to continue that,” Erb said Friday.

Beam also remains interested in staying.

“I feel like I can do the job for four more years, if the people will have me,” Beam said. “There are some pro­jects that I’d like to see finished.”

Since Tomassetti has been in office, he has taken a leadership role in several projects, including the ongoing courthouse renovations and repairs to stop water leaks and related damage.

He and fellow commissioners Erb and Beam also have endured reassessment-related criticism that erupted after property owners started receiving new assessments in 2016 for use in preparing 2017 tax bills. Tomassetti initially spoke against reassessment when seeking his first term in office. But he concluded during his second term that the county had to undertake the task and supported its pursuit.

“Many difficult issues have faced us, and I have tried to do what was necessary to keep the county on the right path,” he said in his announcement.

Those interested in running for county commissioner are permitted to begin circulating nomination petitions Feb. 12. The primary is scheduled for May 21.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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