As a native of Cumberland County, I know what it means to live, work and enjoy life here in our beautiful environs. Cumberland County is my home. Born in Carlisle, I grew up in a family of seven in rural Monroe Township. My childhood was filled with strawberry picking, spring sheep shearing and running through the green expanse of cornfields that surrounded our home.

After graduating from Cumberland Valley High School, I headed off to Penn State to earn my degrees in fine arts and women’s studies. Following college, my art career took me to Ireland, to the bucolic countryside outside Burlington, Vermont, and to the vibrant cities of New York and Washington, DC.

Yet after living and working outside of Pennsylvania, I felt called back to Monroe Township because I yearned to return to my roots. My husband and I moved into an old farmhouse in the historic village of Churchtown near Boiling Springs to enjoy the quiet, charming respite that our region’s small towns offer.

While the beauty and charm of Cumberland County remains, I am concerned that the growth and rate of changes in our county over the last number of years now threaten what we hold most dear. When droves of mammoth warehouses are drowning out our green open spaces, built on speculation to cover over our precious farmland, the urgency to save what assets we have left has become acute. With some of the most pristine farmland in the world, breathtaking historic homes and majestic mountain vistas of the Appalachians, our glorious Cumberland Valley region deserves our protection.

As Cumberland County Commissioner, you can count on me to be a trusted advocate with real perspective for preserving our environmental resources and paying reverence to what makes our region an enjoyable and healthy place to live.

Kate McGraw is a candidate for Cumberland County Commissioner.