Tilden Township resident Christian Leinbach recently won the chance to compete for one of three Berks County Commissioner seats.Leinbach will have three strong competitors in Democrats Judith L. Schwank and Thomas W. Gajewski and Republican Mark C. Scott. When elections come in November though, Leinbach feels that his dedication and commitment to Berks County will help him win the seat.

A businessman, Leinbach knew that the county needed a new voice.

"As I looked at some of the issues in the county, I became concerned that we needed some stronger leadership," explained Leinbach.

When he announced his candidacy in early January, Leinbach was stepping forward to be that leader.

According to Leinbach, his overall stance is very simple, and it&s one in which people can believe.

"I want to make Berks County a better place to live, a better place to work and a better place to raise a family," he said. "No one wants to live in a community where they don&t feel safe."

Stemming from that broad stance though, are a few particular areas that Leinbach looks to improve should he win the seat of county commissioner.

The first thing that Leinbach wants to address is the issue of property taxes.

"There are a lot of people effected by the recent increase in property tax," he explained. "And the tax is especially significant for a farmer, as a taxation on their property is essentially a taxation on their business."

Leinbach is opposed to the further raising of property taxes, and has pledged not to vote to raise them during his term.

"I firmly believe that the property tax is a wrong way to raise money for government," he said.

Another big issue Leinbach plans to tackle is crime in Berks County. He feels that it&s an issue that needs to be addressed not only in the city of Reading, but in the outlying communities as well.

The primary way he wants to address this problem is to restructure the way the county is policed.

"I do not believe that a county-wide police force is the solution," he said. "I want to put together a real task force that will include district attorneys, chiefs of police, sheriffs, constables and state police."

He feels that organizing in this way would benefit people in a number of ways.

"All of these entities already have people on the ground in Berks County," Leinbach said. "A regional force like this can be very cost effective and offer 24-hour coverage seven days a week, which is something many communities don&t have right now."

Another aspect of crime Leinbach is passionate about is illegal immigration. He feels that as it stands now, our laws are far too lenient on people who enter and work in the country illegally. Leinbach wants to see anyone found to be illegal in Berks County be held in jail until deported.

"It doesn&t make sense to give them a slap on the wrist," he said. "It&s not a matter of being unkind, it&s a matter of being loyal to the people who got here by playing by the rules."

Another of Leinbach&s stances is the preservation of farm land in the county. He feels that farmland is one of the things that makes our area beautiful, and it is unfair to ask farmers to stop.

He says that sometimes people don&t realize with the beautiful scenery comes things like noise, smell and dust. When they see these aspects of farming, they immediately try to shut down the farm.

"Farm land is no good if you can&t farm," Leinbach explained. "We should not allow communities to stop that.

Agriculture is the number one industry in the county, and we need commissioners to stand up for our farmers."

When the time comes for the election, Leinbach hopes he can receive the same support he got in the recent primaries so that he can act on these stances.

"I believe that my message is one that resonates," he said. "I am humbled that people have believed in my leadership."

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