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Hofmann, Canos vie to replace longtime coroner

For the first time in more than two decades, Lawrence Countians will elect a new coroner when they go to the polls next week.

Long-time coroner A. Burton Payne retired in August. Two people are vying for that post. They are Dr. Kurt Hofmann, acting coroner, and Dr. Portia Canos. Both are family physicians.

Hofmann said his interest in the coroner’s job dates back to his college days at the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine. One year the coroner for the city of Philly gave an open invitation for students to spend a day in the coroner’s office, seeing what the job entailed.

“Two of my crazy friends and I took him up on it,” Hofmann recalled. “Once you got past the smell, it was interesting.”

Hofmann said one of his greatest strengths is his experience. He has served on a child fatality review board and was deputy coroner for approximately five years until Payne retired.

The Lawrence County Republican Party appointed Hofmann to fill that office until the voters make their choice on the election.

Hofmann described himself as upright and honest.

“I try to tell the truth but in a compassionate way and I try to be as thorough as I can to be,” he said. “I’m up front and honest. I’ve always tried to conduct myself this way and its proven to be the best.”

Like Hofmann, Canos said she has also had a long-standing interest in forensic pathology. She is board certified in pathology and has performed autopsies in the past.

“I thought this would be a new challenge getting into this field,” she said.

Challenges are nothing new to Canos. Besides attaining board certification in pathology, she also is board certified in bariatric medicine and family practice.

She has practiced family medicine more than 30 years. She pledged to be a faithful public servant to Lawrence Countians, particularly those who need help the most.

“I will try to my best to help bring justice to the victims of crime and to bring closure to the victim’s family,” Canos said. “If given the chance I will try to be the best coroner I can be and perform to the best of my ability.”