Chairman Terry Casey’s Remarks
Tuesday, Sept. 15
I’d like to thank everyone for coming out today -- this is a critical event for the Republican Party but mostly for the citizens of Luzerne County.
I thank the candidates for taking the time out of their busy schedules to come here today to stand together and make this pledge to the residents of the county. Mostly, I thank them for putting themselves out there every day, just so that we can live in an area that is free of corruption.
Joining us today are:
· Supreme Court candidate Judge Joan Orie Melvin
· Court of Common Pleas candidates Richard Hughes and William Amesbury
· Controller candidate Walter Griffith
· Prothonotary candidate Carolee Medico Olenginski
· Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphan’s Court candidate Gina Nevenglosky
· Frank Semanski, who is seeking re-election as jury commissioner, is also on our ticket
· And we certainly can’t forget Judge Thomas Burke, a man of honesty and integrity who is up for retention this year.
Thirty-seven years ago, following a devastating flood, the people of Luzerne County came together with a lot of heart and soul to rebuild our communities, churches and businesses -- piece by piece, house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood.
It didn’t matter if you were young or old, rich or poor, what religion you followed or whether you were Democrat or Republican. We worked side by side.
The result was a rebirth in our downtowns and neighborhoods. The people of Luzerne County showed such resolve and camaraderie that this area become known as the Valley With a Heart.
That will and determination, that essential goodness, is still here. Unfortunately, it has been overshadowed by a corrupt political machine brought on by the perils of a one-party system. It’s the dirty little secret that we’ve all known about for years: cronyism, nepotism, teachers paying for jobs. One set of rules for those in power, another set of rules for the rest of us.
So, what do we do to polish that tarnished image and to reclaim our reputation as the Valley With A Heart?
Nothing short of a heart transplant.
And that’s what we plan to do.
We are the Republican Party of Luzerne County and I stand here today and pledge that the days of a one-party political system are over.
With your help, these men and women standing next to me will give our county that much-needed heart transplant.
Together we will work to reclaim Luzerne County for the people who believe that government should be run with the consent of the governed, that our tax dollars and votes should not be frittered away with negligent practices or sold to the highest bidder. Or, in some cases, through illegal, no-bid contracts.
Most importantly we want to know that everyone will receive a fair shake when he or she seeks justice in our court system especially the most vulnerable among us, our children.
We are here today to announce the official creation of Operation HEART.
These are virtues that have been largely missing from our county government lately.
Just as we did in 1972, we need to come together and fight this veil of corruption and mistrust that permeates our county.
We need to unite -- young and old, rich and poor, Republicans and Democrats, to fight the good fight.
There is a bright spot: The wheels of justice are turning again. Today in federal court in Scranton, two disgraced judges will be arraigned on racketeering charges.
But the next step is up to you, the voters of Luzerne County. This is your chance to wipe the slate clean and allow the Valley With a Heart to shine again.
We’re fortunate to have a candidate at the top of our statewide ticket who lives by these principles.
Judge Joan Orie Melvin is a tough but fair judge who plays an active role in the lives of her six children.
The integrity she has shown throughout her career, including her battle against the infamous 2005 pay raise, is just what we need on our highest court.
Ladies and gentleman, Supreme Court candidate Judge Joan Orie Melvin.