In January, the judges of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas appointed Plymouth Meeting’s Ken Lawrence Jr. to fill the commissioner seat left vacant by recently elected attorney general Josh Shapiro. Previously, Lawrence was vice president for alumni relations and senior vice president for government, community and public affairs at his alma mater, Temple University. A Democrat, he will serve through 2019.
MLT: What are your goals as commissioner?
KL: Economic development, transportation and infrastructure—I think that fits well with my role as a SEPTA board member. Community college, as well. I actually started at Montgomery County Community College before I transferred to Temple University.
MLT: How significant is it that you’re the first African-American to hold this position?
KL: It’s not something I thought about during the process; it’s not something that ever came up. I was raised by my parents to believe that I could achieve anything that I wanted, and that’s how I’ve chosen to live my life.
MLT: You interned for Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Hoeffel. How does it feel coming back to that office years later?
KL: It’s a little surreal. Joe Hoeffel was one of the first commissioners who appointed me to the SEPTA board of directors. If you look back on my career, it really started with that internship. It is full circle, and it’s very fulfilling to be back here serving as a county commissioner.
MLT: How will your experience with the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau help you?
KL: I served two terms on the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau board, so that gave me a real familiarity with tourism and what an important industry it is in the county, which I think a lot of people don’t realize.
MLT: What do you love about Montgomery County?
KL: I moved to Montgomery County in 1984. I had the opportunity to have a great education here. I had the opportunity to have my first job with Merck & Co. here. My wife and I live in Plymouth Meeting, which is a great township. One of my goals is to make sure my kids and other kids have the same opportunities, as well.