Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner

LEWISBURG — Settling into a seat in the Borough Council chambers, Mayor Judy Wagner pulled out a framed photograph.

Taken in 1917, in it stands a group of men gathered around a large drum. They are the members of the Lewisburg Citizen’s Band.

Among them were Wagner’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather, making Wagner a fourth-generation Lewisburger.

“I feel like I have a connection to this community and a sense of where it’s been and where it’s going,” Wagner, now in her eighth year as mayor, said.

Wagner has been a fixture in the community for decades, whether as a council member, mayor or guidance counselor in the Lewisburg Area School District, where she served for 38 years.

Her family history in the borough, as well as her service to the school district, give Wagner a commonality and approachability that results in residents feeling comfortable enough to give her a call or stop by her home for a chat about borough issues that are important to them.

“I’m appreciative of those opportunities,” Wagner said. “I would rather people call me and find out information than stew about something.”

Wagner was elected to the Borough Council in 1996 and was appointed mayor after the death of longtime Mayor Lewis Hendricks. She went on to win a two-year term, followed by a four-year term.

As mayor, Wagner continues to work toward clinching a deal that would join the borough and East Buffalo Township police departments as the Valley’s first regional police force. She also attends various committee meetings, keeping tabs on council efforts to rewrite the borough zoning ordinance.

But it is evident in one conversation with Wagner that she is a Lewisburger first.

“It’s fun to live here,” she said. “There’s always something to do.”

Though she loves to cook, Wagner often can be found eating in one of Lewisburg’s many restaurants, sipping java in a cozy coffeehouse, or shopping in one of the downtown stores.

She also is an admittedly loud fan of the Bucknell University men’s basketball team, making a tradition of dining with friends before attending each game.

“It’s being part of the community, and that way I can interface with the Bucknell students,” she said. “That’s important that they see I support them whenever I can.”

Wagner hopes to continue serving the Lewisburg community in the years to come, in whatever way voters will have her.

“I love local government, you never forget why you’re here,” she said. “You see the people you’re serving in church, in the grocery story, on the street, they know where you live. You can’t hide in Harrisburg or in Washington, D.C. — you’re right here on the front lines. It’s a privilege to have a say in what goes on right here where you live.”

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