In an unusual twist of Pennsylvania politics, two sitting congressmen are vying in Tuesday's election for the Democratic nomination in our 12th district.
As always, we salute them, and all the other candidates, for having the courage to run.
While both congressmen are very capable, we urge poll-goers extending west from Cambria and Somerset counties to the Ohio border to pick Mark Critz in this primary election.
More than being just the best fit for the Cambria-Somerset region, Critz is not your typical Washington politician, something we truly admire.
"I'm a straight-shooter, unlike my opponent, who is a politician who plays both sides," Critz said.
Mark Critz is a workingman and -woman's candidate and has gained valuable experience on western Pennsylvania issues over the years as a chief aide to the late congressman John Murtha.
Critz's opponent, Rep. Jason Altmire of Allegheny County, has had plenty of time to get to know our region, the people and the needs therein. However, he tells us, "I'm very cautious of the way I approach Johnstown, because I don't want people to think that I'm doing it because I want to knock out your guy. So once the primary is done and the dust settles, I'm going to reach out. ..."
We find that approach unacceptable. If he's not willing to "reach out" to our region's business and industry leaders now, when their support and input would be so valuable to him, would he once elected?
As a result of years of public service, Mark Critz has gained the respect and confidence of area residents, businessmen and women, and community leaders.
The 50-year-old Critz is a Johnstown resident finishing his first full term in Congress. Previously, he served as district director and economic-development director for Murtha. The job carried a lot of responsibility and he gained invaluable knowledge working in the field with people.
To lose Critz' presence as a congressman could be very harmful indeed to our region as it continues to slowly move forward economically.
Johnstown has laid claim to the 12th district seat since 1949.
Critz is a conservative and supports our right to bear arms. He is anti-abortion and promises to maintain Social Security and Medicare. On all of those issues, we totally agree.
He has demonstrated he is not shy about taking on his own party, including President Obama, when the issues affect his district. We like an independent thinker on the Hill representing us.
We believe he will continue to put his district ahead of politics.
We urge voters to get out and vote. And to give Critz the opportunity to represent his party in November's general election.