Republican Pam Gay will be sworn in as York County Coroner next year, upon the retirement of 16-year incumbent Barry Bloss.

Gay, a forensic Registered Nurse and a Republican, took nearly three-quarters of the vote in Tuesday's municipal election, capturing 36,111 votes, or 74 percent, to Democratic challenger Kay Strausbaugh's 12,521 votes, for 25.7 percent.

The 52-year-old from Springettsbury Township has been a forensic nurse for 12 years, and voters said her experience gave her an edge.

York Township voter Barry Hengst, 57, said Gay's medical background makes her more qualified to be coroner, a position requiring investigation of the county's sudden or suspicious deaths.

Gay also owns and operates Susquehanna Valley Medical Legal Consulting, through which she reviews charts and goes through records to condense them into briefs used in medical legal cases, she said.

Strausbaugh, who is retired, served as an EMT for three years in the late '80s and early '90s. She also served as a medical abstracter for two years in the 1990s, reviewing medical records through a government contract, she said.

Priorities: She said Tuesday night that her top priorities upon taking the office will be to update software used in death investigations and create a group of "care and compassion" volunteers.

The volunteers would be trained to accompany coroners when families are notified about deaths, staying with family members and helping them make phone calls and connect them with services they might need.

Gay said she also plans to increase education about sexual assault, elder abuse, domestic violence, and suicide. She would also like to build a website where people can access information and documents such as death certificates, she said.

Coroners serve 4-year terms. The position pays about $74,000 per year.

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