County Commissioner Ken Lawrence Jr. speaks to Democrats Club

The local politician spoke about everything from infrastructure spending to his experience at North Penn's prom.

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Ken Lawrence Jr.

GOVERNANCE AND GROUP PHOTOS: Commissioner Lawrence poses with members of the North Penn Young Democrats Club.

TOWAMENCIN – Montgomery County Commissioner and North Penn graduate Ken Lawrence Jr. met with the Young Democrats Club on Thursday, February 21st. As one of three elected officials (and one of two Democrats) responsible for overseeing the county’s day-to-day activities, Lawrence was eager to share his experiences regarding virtually every community issue, from homelessness in Norristown to transportation development in King of Prussia to the overall lack of polarization in local politics.

“I think government is, and should be, a force for good,” said Lawrence. He continued, “I don’t want to sound cliche, but I’m in it to serve the people.”

Commissioners are elected to supervise Montgomery County’s wide array of resources and governmental activities. Lawrence and his counterparts are responsible for 60 miles of trails, a correctional facility for inmates awaiting trial, the coordination of local police and fire departments through the Department of Public Safety, and the funding of county courts, to name a few. They do not, however, have any influence over the policies of local school boards or individual townships.

“One of the things I like about this job is there’s no typical day,” Lawrence stated, going on to delineate that day’s schedule, which included meetings with other commissioners, a developer, and a SEPTA Board committee, amongst other things.

Lawrence was appointed to the seat vacated by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro after the 2016 election. Lawrence had previously worked in community relations and public policy for both the public and private sectors. (He is currently running for a full four-year term; the election is this November.) A lifelong government enthusiast, Lawrence holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He recalls an event that particularly accelerated his interest in politics: North Penn’s Mock Republican Convention.

“I remember my one political experience in high school was, in [1988], they had a mock political convention here because it was a presidential election year. . . I was assigned Pat Robertson,” he explained, referring to the conservative televangelist who had challenged George Bush for the Republican nomination. “One night, at my house, [we] did this huge banner, and then we unfurled it in the auditorium. [It read] ‘Endorsed By God.’ They made us take it down,” he finished with a laugh.

Lawrence’s upbeat demeanor certainly supplements his professional dealings; he enjoys a good rapport with his fellow commissioners, both of whom he considers close friends. In addition, Lawrence praised his colleagues for their tireless work on behalf of Montgomery County.

“One of the things I, quite frankly, like about the county level of government is that [it isn’t] a partisan thing. . . our county employees are wonderful,” he said. “That’s what’s most meaningful to me. . . when we know that we’re making an impact on people’s lives, making a positive difference.”