The Express - "Race for the 5th"
Today, The Express presents responses from the 12 candidates seeking the Fifth Congressional District seat on what they would bring to the office. We asked:
"What qualities do you have that would make you an effective Congressman?"
BILL CAHIR (DEMOCRAT)
I am the only person in the race who has actually worked on and passed federal legislation so I understand what it requires to take on the special interests in Washington, D.C. in order for us to change how things are done.
As a junior member of the Senate Labor Committee staff, I helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act. As a staff assistant to former Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., I worked on healthcare reform legislation.
As a Marine and an Iraq War veteran, I also understand all too well the importance of serving the mission before serving out any personal interests. That is the type of congressman that I will be in order to cut out the bickering and actually get things done.
CHRIS EXARCHOS (REPUBLICAN)
My diverse background as a businessman, scientist and elected official will enable me to effectively represent you in Congress.
First, my wife and I founded and operated a small business for 29 years (The Victorian Manor Restaurant). I know what it takes to encourage economic development and a "business friendly" environment.
Second, my formal education includes a Ph.D in Geochemistry from Penn State. As a scientist I understand complex environmental issues, energy development, and the protection of our environment.
Third, I have been in involved in public service for about 29 years and served on numerous authorities, boards and commissions. I served on the College Township Council for eight years, two of them as chairman. More recently I served four years on the Centre County Board of Commissioners (chairman). During my tenure we completed three major capital projects without raising taxes, while maintaining a healthy fund balance. As my grandfather used to say "before you tell me what you'll do, show me what you've done."
JOHN KRUPA (REPUBLICAN)
Thirty-five years as a business owner, 12 years as a township supervisor, serving as the police commissioner, Emergency Management coordinator, Planning Commission member, working with thousands of constituents on a daily basis to address their needs and concerns. This experience gives me a clear vision, the leadership abilities and the problem solving skills the district and our country needs.
I understand this is an opportunity to serve you and it is really about serving you, not putting a list of my priorities together and telling you this is what we need to do. It is you telling me what you want done and working diligently to accomplish your requests.
MARK MCCRACKEN (DEMOCRAT)
As a county commissioner for one of the largest counties in the 5th District, I have hands-on experience dealing with important issues including economic development, job creation and balancing budgets. I also spent 10 years serving on a school board which gives me strong experience dealing with public education issues.
I understand the issues facing the rural counties and communities that make up the 5th District. I have experience working closely with federal, state and regional officials on projects to bring jobs and community development to communities within the 5th District.
I am a lifelong resident of northcentral Pennsylvania and I will remain committed to continuing the important work to bring jobs and new industry to the region regardless what happens with the vote on April 22. During this campaign I've stressed that I bring honesty, integrity, experience and a record of results that few of the other 12 candidates can claim.
LOU RADKOWSKI (REPUBLICAN)
An effective representative needs to understand an entire district. I have spent the last three months meeting with the entire Fifth District and am proud to be a member of such a talented constituency. I am humbled, yet excited, that I will get to represent such fine people.
We need a return to compassionate conservatism in Washington. I work with families daily and I listen to them and their needs. I understand the anxiety caused by possible plant closings in Saint Marys and Wellsboro. I can feel the worry of parents as they watch their sons and daughters go off to serve our nation. I understand the concern when government officials make decisions, like the proposed tolling of I-80, which can affect an entire area's economic growth. I will be there to listen to you.
It is not about my agenda, but about our agenda. I am not looking at representing the Fifth District as a stepping-stone to something bigger. I want to serve the people of the Fifth. I will continue to hear the concerns of all constituents regarding the betterment of the Fifth District and implement solutions to put us on the right path forward.
There are many challenges ahead. We need someone with the life experience, the ability to listen to the people, and above all, compassionate leadership. My life experience in constant service to the people of Saint Marys and Elk County make me the perfect candidate to support the entire population of the Fifth District.
KEITH RICHARDSON (REPUBLICAN)
First, I am the only candidate trained in the law. I not only
studied and practiced law, defending people against lawsuit abuse, I also
taught Constitutional Law.
I left a successful law firm to become a pastor. I have firsthand
experience in working with struggling families and in counseling people who have lost their way and need to get back on track. I think that's where we are as a society. I also have a passion for moral issues, borne not of political expediency but of spiritual conviction. I know what it means to take a stand, even when it is unpopular. I know what it means to be a leader while being a servant. It's high time we sent a pastor to
Finally, I am a working class man. My grandfather was a farmer. My
father was a soldier. I worked my way through college, law school, and
seminary. I work hard now to provide for a large family on a modest budget.
We make tough decisions and exercise discipline and good judgment to live within our means. I believe Washington has lost touch with those values of everyday, ordinary hard-working people, and we should make Congress once again a citizen legislature rather than a millionaire's club.
MATT SHANER (REPUBLICAN)
Congressman Peterson did a tremendous job during his tenure, and I applaud him for serving his constituents with such distinction. It is imperative that the next Congressman continue his leadership and be prepared to deal with important issues affecting the district like: the economy, energy independence, and illegal immigration.
The next Congressman must strive to create a climate conducive to economic prosperity for individuals, families and small businesses. My experience has made me uniquely qualified to go to Washington and represent the citizens of the 5th District.
I am a businessman, husband and father of three. I am the only candidate with experience working on Capitol Hill when I worked for Senator Rick Santorum. I also chaired President Bush's 2004 campaign in my home county.
I have also been a board member on a number of organizations. I was on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association for four years. I am also a board member on the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and the Penn State Quarterback Club, but I am most proud of my charity work. I am a founder and current member of the board of directors for Kicks 4 Kids charity which has raised thousands of dollars for terminally ill children since its inception in 2000.
I believe the voters of the 5th District want someone who has good ideas and will have the clout in Washington to represent and protect the interests they hold dear.
JEFF STROEHMANN (REPUBLICAN)
I've always believed that all politics are local. As your congressman on the federal level I will ensure local officials, county commissioners and our state leaders are all working together and in the know on all issues that cross my desk. I've often said that everyone who runs for higher office should have been either a school board member or township supervisor. This is when you learn what accountability means and it reminds you why you are in public office and who it is you are serving.
I will have three offices running in the district as well as a mobile staff office. Leaders and citizens of Lock Haven will know that my bus will be in town on a certain given day of the month. I will always be accessible and listening to the needs and concerns of my constituents who sent me to Washington.
JOHN STROUP (REPUBLICAN)
Just like all of you, I spend every day working to make my community better. As a father and husband, as a leader in a number of community organizations, as a health care executive, and as mayor of one of 5th District's most vibrant communities, my life is defined by my commitment to making our communities better. I have shown that commitment by fighting for the whole district against the efforts to bring tolls to Interstate 80 - a key piece of our region's economic livelihood.
Our district's representatives past and present have all understood the importance of economic development for the future of our region, and with almost 30 years of business and economic development experience, I have the drive to stand up and continue the fight to improve our region and communities.
I believe that my maturity and real life experience makes me the most qualified for this position. I have stood up for the entire 5th District in the past, and I will proudly stand up for our district in Washington.
GLENN THOMPSON (REPUBLICAN)
Experience and shared values. At age 48, I am a life-long resident of the district. I know what it is for a family to live paycheck to paycheck. As a 26-year health care professional, I have refined the skills of identifying root causes of complex issues. I am experienced working with diverse teams to solve problems, including citizens, local, state and federal officials. My record includes developing cost-effective solutions to complex problems.
My leadership experience includes school board, Workforce Investment Board, Private Industry Council, past president of state and national health care associations and president of the Boy Scout Council. Much of my life has been dedicated to developing our future with 30 years as a Scout leader. I am experienced in the legislative process, having assisted in drafting and obtaining bipartisan support of a federal Medicare Access bill currently before Congress.
My readiness to serve includes a thorough understanding of the regulatory system as a 15-year liaison to the Medicare agency fighting for cost-effective care and patient access. I have served six years as Centre County Republican chairman developing working relationships with local, county, state and federal elected officials. I am pro-life, pro-marriage and a lifelong hunter. I share your values. look forward to earning your confidence as we work together to address your issues and concerns. Finally, I view serving as your congressman a calling to serve the needs of all residents in this district including the citizens of Clinton County.
RICK VILELLO (DEMOCRAT)
The people of Clinton County and Lock Haven know me. I want to serve the whole 5th district the way I've served Lock Haven. My leadership has been recognized by Governor Ed Rendell, State Senator John Wozniak, State Representative Mike Hanna and many mayors around the state.
To see a complete list of my endorsements go to www.rickvilello.com. They've endorsed me because they know how hard I've worked for the people of Lock Haven. They know that the skills that I've learned as mayor will serve me well in Washington.
DEREK WALKER (REPUBLICAN)
I have been a lifelong resident of the 5th Congressional District, so I have a comprehensive understanding of the regions strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. I believe that my educational, professional and community experiences have enabled me to be an effective United States Congressman on Day 1.
As a professor of statistics and economics at both the high school and college level, I understand the challenges facing our education system and importance of making sensible economic policy in order for our country to prosper. As a small business owner and financial planner, I understand the importance of lower taxes and government deregulation in order for businesses to compete in a global economy. Additionally, my involvement in numerous community and volunteer organizations gives me a broad perspective of the needs in our communities.
I have always had a love for the people and the heritage of our region and I believe I will provide the best leadership and vision moving forward.
Source: The Express