Montgomery County Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro is joined by Val Arkoosh, who was selected Jan. 28 by Montgomery County judges to serve out the unexpired term for outgoing commissioner Leslie Richards. Arkoosh case the deciding vote Thursday to name herself as vice chairwoman of the commissioners’ board. Gene Walsh — Digital first media
NORRISTOWN >> Voting for herself, newcomer Valerie Arkoosh was elected by a 2-1 vote on Thursday to serve as vice chairwoman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, made the motion to make Arkoosh the vice chairwoman and voted for her. Arkoosh, a Democrat who was appointed to the three-member board last week, voted in favor of herself, while Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. voted against the motion.
“I don’t have anything negative to say about Commissioner Arkoosh,” Castor said after the meeting. “I simply think that as a matter of prudence having a commissioner who has served for over seven years is likely to have more immediate knowledge than a commissioner that has served for seven days. I am quite confident that commissioner Arkoosh will be up to speed in very short order.”
Arkoosh said she was honored to join Shapiro and Castor on the board. After the meeting, she said the future of Montgomery County is bright and she hopes to use her skills and experience to make the county a better place. Thursday marked her third meeting.
Shapiro said his rationale for nominating Arkoosh to be vice chairwoman was similar to why he recommended her for the vacancy to a panel of Montgomery County judges, who appointed Arkoosh over three other candidates.
“We needed someone who was prepared to govern today and with due respect to my friend and colleague Commissioner Castor’s comments earlier, I think commissioner Arkoosh is ready to govern today,” Shapiro said.
Arkoosh has never held public office and her only foray into politics was a failed run for the 13th District Congressional seat in 2014.
Shapiro also said he needed someone who was prepared to keep the job in the future and run for election and that someone who is a leader.
“I think that Val possesses the skills and the unique background to check all three of those boxes. I think once you check all three of those boxes and you add to that the fact the Democrats are in the majority; I think Val has well earned her place as the vice chairwoman.”
Arkoosh replaced Democrat Leslie Richards, who was tapped by Gov. Tom Wolf to serve as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.