Friday, July 11, 2014

McClosky Houck eyes a 2nd term

March 16. 2013 7:00PM

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Linda McClosky Houck is in the 2013 Luzerne County Council race, and Elaine Maddon Curry is out.

McClosky Houck, a teacher from Kingston, said Tuesday she has decided to seek a second county council term. A Democrat, McClosky Houck said she will soon release a formal announcement. She has said she doesn't want to walk away because she has amassed extensive knowledge of home rule government and county operations needed to make informed decisions.

Councilwoman Elaine Maddon Curry, also a Democrat, announced Tuesday she will not seek a second term, saying the decision was difficult.

Maddon Curry said she was proud to be a member of the historic initial council seated under home rule, but wants to pursue other opportunities in Hazleton, her hometown. A medical librarian from Butler Township, Maddon Curry said she wants to concentrate on her work with the nonprofit Concerned Parents of the Hazleton Area advocacy group and the Hazleton Integration Project.

I remain very proud of council's accomplishments in setting the foundation toward putting this new government on solid footing, she wrote in a statement.

Democrat Eileen Sorokas said Tuesday she will run for county council. A retired factory worker from Wilkes-Barre, Sorokas came in twelfth in the 2011 general election council race, when the 11 current members were chosen. Five council seats are up for grabs.

Democrats and Republicans will each select five nominees in the May 21 primary to advance to the general election in November. Independent and third-party contenders can get on the ballot after the primary if they obtain 1,000 signatures.

Two other council incumbents – Republicans Harry Haas and Eugene Kelleher – also have announced they will run. Haas, a teacher from Kingston, made a formal announcement with his wife, Kristin, before Tuesday's council meeting. Kelleher is a retired teacher and financial-services professional from Dallas Township.

The final councilman in a seat that expires at the end of this year – Independent Rick Williams, an architect from Kingston – said he will make a decision after the primary.

Two other county residents have declared their candidacies: Democrat Renee Ciaruffoli-Taffera, a registered dietitian from Larksville, and Republican Kathy Dobash, an inventory specialist and artist from Hazleton.

County council members are paid $8,000 per year and must approve appointments to outside boards, the budget, tax rate, collective-bargaining agreements and larger purchases and codes. Council also hires the manager and confirms appointees to eight division-head positions.

The remaining council members – Rick Morelli, Stephen A. Urban, Jim Bobeck, Stephen J. Urban, Tim McGinley and Edward Brominski – will serve through 2015 because they were the highest vote-getters in the November 2011 election.

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