Grammes seeks return to county board of commissioners
Former Lehigh County Commissioner Marc Grammes announced Monday he intends to do something no other county commissioner has ever done before: return as a Lehigh County Commissioner elected to nonconsecutive terms.
Grammes served as an at-large commissioner from 2004-08.
He resides in Slatedale, Washington Township, with his wife, Elizabeth and their four children Tim, John, Joe and Laura.
He is seeking to return as the District One commissioner, the seat now held by Commissioner Tom Creighton, who is not seeking re-election.
Grammes did not seek re-election at the end of his term, instead choosing to spend more time with his young family.
“Our oldest son Tim was in the US. Navy as a corpsman heading into combat with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan,” Grammes said. “Our son John was beginning his freshman year at Penn State, and our son Joe and daughter Laura were very active in high school activities.
“As much as I wanted to stay, we decided as a family that it was better to devote more time to each other. You only get those moments once.”
Grammes says as a commissioner he was known for working across party lines to build consensus among fellow commissioners. He helped find ways to save the Lehigh Valley Zoo, and is a founding member of the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society.
“Today, the Zoo is thriving, financially stable, and a prominent member of the growing tourism trade in the region,” Grammes said.
Grammes says he also worked with fellow commissioners to re-open and improve the Trexler Game Preserve to the people of the county, much as Gen. Harry Trexler intended.
“Commissioner Nick Englesson and I got together with Lee Creyer and Dave Arnold of the Fish and Boat Commission, and stream samples were taken on the sections of the Jordan Creek running through the Preserve,” Grammes said. “A couple of years later, thanks to the hard work of Lee Creyer and Don Cunningham, the stream is stocked with trout and there is a special section set aside each year for youth fishing and for veterans and individuals with disabilities.”
Grammes says he is best known for his tireless efforts to restore and rebuild Leaser Lake in Lynn Township.
“The lake will always be a part of my life,” Grammes said. “We poured countless hours of pointless debate as to who owns what and who should fix it and who should pay for it.
He mentions the strong role played and mentoring he received from fellow Commissioner Jim Kelly and the late Sen. Jim Rhoades.
“One morning Sen. Jim Rhoades and his aide, Champ Holman, drove up to the lake and Commissioner Jim Kelly and I met with them.
Grammes credits former Executive Don Cunningham with making all the right connections with the state.
“He had one meeting with Gov. Rendell at Yocco’s on Liberty Street in Allentown,” Grammes said. “The topic of the lake came up and from now on I always maintain no one should ever under estimate the power of a Yocco’s hot dog!”
Grammes says he is proud to have worked with others in establishing the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation.
“The work this group has done in improving the lake and obtaining grants is just phenomenal,” Grammes said. “Kudos to George White and his fine group for their vision and leadership.”
Grammes says he is also proud of his efforts to keep taxes low and look for ways to save county dollars.
“He also helped the county save millions of dollars by advocating and voting for a scaled down courthouse renovation project”, according to Lehigh County Controller Glenn Eckhart. “Believe me, he is fiscally conservative.”
Grammes, an engineering consultant with extensive experience in the power generation industry, cites among his reasons for seeking to return to the board of commissioners as having the time and experience to devote to the job, plus the desire to make a difference and become a positive force in government, once again focusing on deeds not words.
“I want to thank Commissioner Creighton for his hard work over the last seven years and I know he will devote the same passion as he enters his final year and seeks to become magistrate,” Grammes said. “I also want to thank the late Sterling Raber for the hard work and countless hours he put into this job for the years he held this seat. This will always be Sterling’s seat.