Have you ever pulled a prank on someone?

Constantly. I’m known as a joker. The staff pulls them on me too. It’s a joint effort. It keeps things loose. We enjoy it. We have a good time. I take the job seriously but not myself.

What is your favorite book?

I read three or four books a week, so it’s kind of hard. Anything by Steinbeck. You can see the difference between good writing and regular writing. Much better than James Patterson or whoever he’s fronting this month.

What is the closest you‘ve come to death?

I accidentally got closed up in a hydraulic hatch on a back deck of a boat on the Bering Sea in ’88. I was a commercial fisherman for 17 years. I got out just in time. Somebody yelled. Now teenagers, they’re scary; this was just an accident.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Doctor Zhivago. Because Julie Christie’s in it.

What is your favorite sport or activity?

Football. The Maryville Spoofhounds. I’m from Maryville, Mo.

How do you relax?

Reading. I prefer fiction. I don’t have a TV, so I just read. Two years without TV have been great.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

I just like animals. Either or; I’ve had ’em both.

Where is the farthest you‘ve traveled?

Mexico City, Mexico, or Nunivak Island going north. Nunivak’s north of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. It’s nice to say you went there and you did it, but people look at Deadliest Catch and they’re impressed, but it’s boring. It’s brutal, and if it wasn’t for the money you wouldn’t be there.

Who is your favorite character in history?

Teddy Roosevelt. The early 1900s, with a lot of the breaking up of corporations, there’s a lot of similarities between then and now that I can see. History really is repeating itself.

Do you collect anything?

Votes. Every four years. Hopefully.

Bruce Walker, county assessor for the past 11 years, landed in South Bend 38 years ago by default when the fishing vessel he worked on broke down in Westport. He was hitchhiking home to Astoria and made it as far as South Bend. No matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t find a ride the rest of the way, so he made his way to the Chester Tavern. He found a job on a different boat before the night was out and eventually set up a net shop just south of town. “When you’re 22, life’s a lot simpler.” He raised three children in South Bend and likes the small-town life.

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