WILKES-BARRE — If U.S. Rep. Tom Marino wins a fifth term, he will have to defeat a fellow Republican in the primary and then a Democratic challenger in November.
Marino, 65, of Lycoming Township, is running in the newly redrawn and sprawling 12th Congressional District, which covers much of central Pennsylvania. He has been representing the 10th Congressional District, having first been elected in 2010.
In Tuesday’s primary, Marino is challenged by Republican Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko.
Two Democrats are running — Judy Herschel, 41, of Susquehanna County, a former drug counselor; and Mark Friedenberg, 34, of Centre County, who teaches cyber-security at Penn State University’s main campus.
Marino is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Committee on Homeland Security, and the Judiciary Committee.
Marino also serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Kidney Caucus that educates members of Congress about the importance of health and the government’s role in research funding for rare diseases.
Marino said he has consistently voted to protect farmers and the agricultural sector by opposing excessive regulations and bureaucratic overreach. His district, much of it rural and comprised of fertile farmland, supplies thousands of households with agricultural products.
Marino said he supports across-the-board tax cuts, reining in spending, term limits in Congress, and a strong and technologically superior national defense.
McLinko, 59, said he is running for Congress because Washington has become a swamp of corruption, collusion and cronyism that is hurting working families and senior citizens.
He said the biggest challenge in rural Pennsylvania is the opioid crisis. Prior to serving as a county commissioner, McLinko ran several successful businesses and served as a Wysox Township supervisor. Wysox Township was one of the lowest-taxed municipalities in Pennsylvania when McLinko was chairman of the board of supervisors, he said.
Under McLinko’s leadership, Bradford County now has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state, no debt, and is recognized with a AAA bond rating, the release stated.
Herschel is a career mom with two young boys. She said she is a certified drug and alcohol counselor and community advocate with more than 18 years of experience.
Herschel believes it’s important that our community is heard and represented in Washington. She said constituents are fearful of the polarization that has developed between the two major political parties.
Friedenberg said he is not a career politician. He’s an instructor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), a devoted husband to his wife Becky, and a caring father to his two young daughters, Claire and Molly.
Friedenberg is also a lawyer. Before he returned to the classroom as an educator, he sued the big Wall Street banks that caused the financial crisis, using his expertise with technology to try to prove they had committed fraud.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.