In a historic first, the Mercer County Board of Commissioners has a female majority and a female chair: Commissioner Lucylle Walter.
Having served on the Mercer County Board of Commissioners (formerly the Board of Chosen Freeholders) for 25 years, Walter is entering her fifth non-consecutive term as board chair.
“We have a tradition in Mercer County of being supportive of women in public office, leading the state in female representation on levels of legislative government, Walter said.
“We’ve come so far from the time when women had no voice in government and, when allowed to serve, our roles were perfunctory.”
Having recently received $3.5 million dollars of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Walter notes that it is a “transformative time” for Mercer County. In Walter’s first message as this term’s chair, she notes several issues she plans on addressing, among them the expansion of the Mercer County Health Department.
“I believe that the federal monies should not be utilized for one-shot deals, but instead should be done to change things,” Walter said. “A robust county health department has long been a priority of mine, and of the county, especially after COVID. It is something that we just do not have in place, so I think that’s going to be a major initiative, and it will be transformative for the county.”
In addition to strengthening the health department and continuing COVID relief, Walter seeks to continue her “Net Zero Tree Loss Policy” passed in 2022, create a Human Rights Council to promote social programs on identity, and revitalize important establishments like the Mercer County Airport and Courthouse.
“Our board is committed to being transparent, and we have long prided ourselves in being a place where people feel comfortable discussing issues relevant to them,” Walter said. “In protecting the finances of Mercer County, it’s up to the board to ask the hard questions: why, and how are we going to fix it?”
Walter first entered public office as a school board member on the Ewing Township Board of Education from 1989 to 1992. She was inspired to get involved in the school community after her daughter began attending elementary school. Walter was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1998, and has been elected consecutively ever since. She also taught special education at Pennsbury School District for over 30 years, and served as vice president of the Pennsbury Education Association from 2009 to 2018.
“County government is the perfect place to leverage tax dollars to provide services that no town would ever be able to do on its own,” Walter said. “The breadth of county government is something I don’t think people fully understand. To serve in county government is to serve in one of the most important levels, and to do that as a majority-female board is a pretty exciting thing.”
Learn more at Mercer County’s website at https://www.mercercounty.org/