A Saxton Area woman has announced she plans to throw her hat into the ring for the Bedford County Commissioners race.

Deb Baughman of Liberty Township is seeking the Democratic nomination for the commissioners board.

Baughman may be a familiar face to some as she recently ran her first political campaign this past year for state representative in the 78th District as the Democratic candidate.

“As I was campaigning for state representative, I knocked on a lot of different doors in the county, as well as the other counties, but with Bedford being my home county, I’ve always just had a heart for this area and a concern for what’s happening for my own community,” Baughman said.

She said a number of people asked if she would run for commissioner. “I’ve been mulling it over for about a month and I’ve talked to a lot of different people and considering if it was something that I wanted, and decided that i would.”

Baughman, who retired in 2013 with 25 years in education, relocated to rural Pennsylvania 34 years ago to raise her family. She has been a Cub Scout leader, Sunday school teacher and church leader. Today, she said she enjoys being a grandmother to three young granddaughters. She and her husband, John, attend Trinity Church in Saxton and believe it is important to give back to the community.

“I believe we are ‘Bedford County Strong’ with many assets that can be utilized to create a prosperous future,” Baughman said this is a theme that she has seen in many aspects of the county.

If elected commissioner, Baughman said she would like to work to find solutions to one issue that she came across during her campaign— keeping the youth in the area.

“I think that there’s a lot that can be done at the county level to make the county a better place to live,” she said.

Baughman also expressed excitement about working with other individuals as well as other elected officials to help solve problems that the county may face.

“Some of the things that I would be excited about as commissioner would be to work as a part of a team with other commissioners and other elected officials. And I would like to see us begin to prepare the way for a prosperous future and I think that entails a lot of different things,” she said.

Baughman said she hopes to learn more about various ongoing projects throughout the campaign such as the proposed birthing and women’s center in the county. The response to the closing of UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital’s maternity department showed a spirit of working together that she hopes to continue if she is commissioner.

“Along with everyone else, I was very upset when UPMC Bedford Memorial ceased their maternity services and what I really like is that instead of getting mad and giving in, a group of people are coming together to try to find a solution to the problem and that’s exactly the idea of Bedford County strong that I was talking about,” she said.

Baughman serves as legislative chair of the Bedford Business and Professional Women, is a member of the Bedford County Farm Bureau, the Saxton Sportsmen Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association-Retired. She is a founding member of Fair Districts Bedford County which seeks independent redistricting reform. Baughman is actively involved with the rural caucus of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee and is a passionate advocate and leader for rural issues and working families.

She is also an active member with the Bedford County Democrats and the Helen B. Hughes Federation of Democratic Women. She said is an avid outdoors woman who can be found hunting, fishing and boating in her free time.

A campaign kick-off event will be held at the Bedford American Legion at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Following the event, the Bedford County Democrats will hold their regular monthly meeting.

Contact Katie Smolen at 623-1151 ext. 110 or ksmolen@bedfordgazette.com.

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