George Hartwick III
Commissioner, Dauphin County, Pa.
Number of years involved in NACo: 13
Years in public service: 20
Occupation: County commissioner
Education: Penn State University B.S. in public administration
The hardest thing I’ve ever done was: Survive a challenging childhood — learning to forgive and gaining the resilience and mental toughness to focus on the blessings and lessons, not bitterness and blame.
Three people (living or dead) I’d invite to dinner: Jesus, Martin Luther King and Ellen DeGeneres.
A dream I have is to: Leave my hometown, county, state and country better than I found it, as a result of my leadership and service.
You’d be surprised to learn that I: Was the winningest wrestler in my high school’s history and was inducted into the Central Pennsylvania break-dancing Hall of Fame. That’s true, but on a more serious note, few people know that I wore leg braces for five years of my life due to a rare childhood hip disease called Perthes. It made me understand at a young age that it’s OK to be different and that God never puts challenges in our way unless he is sharpening our swords for his higher purpose.
The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is: Run for office when I was in my early 20s. I was the youngest mayor ever elected in Pennsylvania at that time. I won, and that early victory made me continue to aim high and dream big.
I’m most proud of: First and foremost, my kids. I believe you cannot change the world unless you are a good father first. I have twin girls, another daughter and a son. Secondly, it would be choosing a profession of service. Government is so often criticized by people who lack solutions or the desire to come off the bench; I never wanted to be on the bench and would rather accept responsibility for solutions.
My favorite way to relax is to: be present and in the stands at my kids’ sports events (I’m not quiet!) and help coach wrestling and football.
Every morning I read: Virtually every electronic newspaper in Pennsylvania, including all the local newspapers in my county as well as my Twitter feed.
My favorite meal is: My late grandmother’s potatoes and kidneys or a good steak. I am definitely a meat-lover.
My pet peeve is: CAVE people --“Citizens Against Virtually Everything.” They have no solutions of their own but they are eager to tell you why your idea won’t work.
My motto is: “Hard Work is the Hartwick Way.”
The last book I read was: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Dr. Gabor Maté.
My favorite movie is: There are so many. I love real-crime movies and historical dramas.
My favorite music is: Hip-hop and R&B, and I grew up on my Dad’s Motown.
My favorite U.S. president is: I have two. The first is probably Barack Obama. I brought him and Sen. Casey to my hometown of Steelton, was appointed as a member of the Pennsylvania Electoral College and had the chance to meet Michelle and the kids as well. I was so proud to play an active role in making history by electing this great nation’s first African-American president. I also have such admiration and respect for Abraham Lincoln. He showed true leadership in a time of adversity, stayed the course and did what was right despite enormous odds as well as personal and political opposition.
My county is a NACo member because: NACo gives us the ability to enhance best practices and share ideas with communities across the country to ensure we are at the front end of the curve when it comes to system reform and innovation and to better serve residents and taxpayers. We appreciate NACo’s purchasing program, U.S. Communities.
NACo also gives me the chance to participate in setting the priorities and policies for federal human services and education funding and offers exceptional post-retiree health benefits, employee benefits and discounts on prescription drugs. I also embrace all the county-specific data from NACo. This data drives our decisions.