ATHENS — Father and son duo James and Joshua Canning were both recently elected as constables in Athens Borough and Athens Township, respectively.
James has served as the constable for Athens Borough since 2012, with this past election being his third successful campaign. This time around James was elected not only as constable of Athens Borough’s fourth ward, but also as high constable over all of Athens Borough.
“The law allows for a high constable to be elected,” James said, “so I put the paperwork in, it went to the Department of State, (and) the state’s attorneys verified that it’s still an active, viable position.”
According to James, he is the first high constable to be elected in Pennsylvania for more than 70 years.
Joshua said that watching his father serve as a constable for so many years is ultimately what led him to seek the office, but encouragement from residents also helped in the decision.
“Every time I’d go down to vote the women there would always say ‘hey, you know we don’t have a constable, you should run for it,’” said Joshua.
Both James and Joshua are veterans of the US armed forces. James served in the marines in Beirut, Lebanon and then the army in Iraq; Joshua followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the army, and he also served in Iraq in his father’s former unit.
James noted with pride that his son is taking his “next step forward” by continuing in his footsteps, and he went on to say he hopes it might become a family tradition.
“He’s a constable now, someday he’ll have kids and maybe they’ll grow up to be a constable,” said James.