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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:08:02 04:48:59

County Republican Chair Davis Haire addresses the crowd Thursday.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:08:02 04:33:08

STAFF PHOTOS/C.J. MARSHALL Jeff Bartos, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, stands next to a cutout of gubernatorial GOP candidate Scott Wagner at the ‘Candidate Meet and Greet’ sponsored by the Wyoming County Republican Committee at Lazybrook Park on Thursday. Wagner and Congressman Lou Barletta made last minute changes to their plans so they could attend a rally by President Donald Trump in Wilkes-Barre.

Lazybrook Park was graced by several Republican candidates on Thursday - including Jeff Bartos, who is running for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor; Congressman Tom Marino; as well as state Sen. Lisa Baker and state Rep. Karen Boback.

The event was a ‘Candidate Meet and Greet’ sponsored by the Wyoming County Republican Committee.

Also scheduled to speak at the event were U.S. Senate candidate Lou Barletta, and Pennsylvania Governor candidate Scott Wagner. However, both men were unable to attend because of a rally held at the same time in Wilkes-Barre, which featured an appearance by President Donald Trump.

Introductions were made by Sandy Ritz, who chaired the event.

The first speaker was Bartos, who explained why it is so important Wagner be elected governor, replacing Democrat Tom Wolf. He said Wolf wants to put all the education funding in the state through the 2016 formula.

“Gov. Wolf is turning his back on the children of rural Pennsylvania,” Bartos continued. “And that just can’t be allowed to happen.”

Wolf has talked about property tax reform for three years and done nothing, he said. By contrast, when Wagner was a state Senator, he voted and supported Senate Bill 76, calling for the elimination of the school district portion of property taxes. Replacement funds would be realized through a personal income tax, as well as an increase in the state sales tax.

“Gov. Wolf is looking at very distinct parts of the state where he votes are, and he could care less about the rest of us. And so we ask for your support on Nov. 6,” Bartos said.

Marino told the group he has been working with others - particularly internet providers - with the idea of bringing broadband to many rural sections of Pennsylvania.

“They want to invest,” he said. “We’re going to get us a broadband service at a decent price.”

The next thing they had to do was get rid of Gov. Wolf, Marino explained. He pointed out that Pennsylvania has the highest corporate tax in the country. Many corporations have indicated to him that they would like to located to Pennsylvania, but the taxes are too high.

“I will tell you that it’s good to be back here, after six years,” Marino explained.

Mario had represented Wyoming County until 2013. A recent court-ordered reapportionment put Wyoming County back in a district he represents.

“I need your support for November,” Marino continued. “I do have opposition. I’m told don’t worry about it - it’s only token opposition. But to me there’s no such thing as token opposition.”

Marino predicted the Republicans would pick up additional seats in the House and Senate in the fall elections.

“Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters are still our best campaigners,”Marino said, referring to the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Representative from California’s 43rd Congressional District.

Baker and Boback, who at present are both running without opposition, also thanked the committee for inviting them to speak, and asked for support from the community for re-election.

Davis Haire, the chairman of the Wyoming County Republican Committee, said this is the first time the group has sponsored a meet and greet event.

“Our job is very simple. We wanted to make the candidates as available to the citizens of Wyoming County as we can,” explained Haire. “It’s also our responsibility to make the citizens as available to the candidates as

we can.