Saturday, May 16, 2015

May is Primary Time in Northumberland County

      I haven't blogged for awhile due to other commitments, but May and spring seem like a good time to start again. Tucked in between Mother's Day, proms, graduations and other spring time activities, there is a primary election to place candidates in on the ballot for the November election.  The primary will be held in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, May 19th.

There is currently an 8 person race for Northumberland County commissioner.  Incumbent Independent Stephen Bridy has until August to get a spot on the ballot.

The Democratic candidates are as follows: Tom Aber, of Milton; Kymberly Best, of Sunbury; Nathan Savidge, of Sunbury; Myron Turlis, of Kulpmont, and George Zalar of Coal Township.

The Republican candidates are: Michael Millett, of Pottsgrove; Sam Schiccatano, of Coal Township; and Rich Shoch, of Sunbury.  Shoch is an incumbent Northumberland County Commissioner.

A fire that leveled the county prison back in January has put this election (pardon the pun) on the front burner of local races.  The decisions they make in the next four years will affect Northumberland County residents for years to come. 

Of the candidates listed, only Shoch and Zalar have held an elected office and are both known throughout most of the county.  Zalar lost a hotly contested battle a few years ago to Kurt Masser in a race for the 107th State District.  Out of the rest of the group, Best has been chief clerk of Northumberland County in the past. 

While I have personally met or already have know 5 of the 8 candidates count 6 if Bridy adds to the ballot, I believe the citizens of Northumberland County want a dialogue between their elected officials no matter who will be elected.

Another issue that lies beneath the surface will be county employees.  On the board is a possible early retirement plan that has some traction of passing.  Basically, people at a specific age and years of service will be offered a retirement incentive to leave the county early freeing up payroll.  The result could be one of the biggest turnover of employees in county government.  This along with the prison and courthouse issue make this election very important. 

Many of our county newspapers have done an excellent job of profiling the candidates and what their positions are on the big issues. Many organization and the candidates themselves have done meet and greets.  Do your own due diligence. 

Like Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot once said, "Try to do the greatest about of good, for the greatest amount of people, for the longest time."

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