Niagara County Coroner Steven A. Gerhardt has announced his candidacy for a third term in District 4, which covers the towns of Cambria, Newfane, Wilson, Lewiston, Porter, and Niagara.
Gerhardt, funeral director at Gaul Funeral Home in Lockport, has the endorsements of the Democratic, Independence, Right to Life, and Liberal parties. He faces a primary on the Democratic line against endorsed Republican candidate JoAnne Williams of Ransomville.
Gerhardt said people misunderstand the coroner's role. "Everybody thinks you just pronounce the person dead. That's not true. You're on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you fill out hours of paperwork. Some cases take four or five hours," he said. "And the hardest part of all is telling family members whose loved ones died. I have been trained in comforting the families, but there is really no easy way to tell someone. But I handle it well."
Gerhardt is vice president of the Cambria Fire Company and a member of the state Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners, and the Sons of the American Legion, Newfane.