Besides the presidential decision, next Tuesday's election also includes votes for residents of our region regarding a U.S. Senate seat, two U.S. representative seats, a state Senate seat and a state Assembly seat.
The Sun-Gazette's endorsements in these races follow.
Smith brings new voice
Tom Smith's candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Bob Casey offers Pennsylvanians the chance to bring a new voice to represent them in the Senate.
Smith possesses a valuable commodity that, in our view, is desperately needed in Washington private sector experience and success. As such, he favors simplification of the tax code, establishment of a low flat tax rate, retention of protections in the code for low-income Americans and an end to double taxation on investments.
Smith wants to reduce annual spending to 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, he wants a balanced budget amendment and provisions that call for no pay to elected officials if there is no budget. His agenda calls for a freeze on non-defense hiring and a reduction in the federal workforce through attrition and an emphasis on increase American energy development to increase American jobs.
He would allow younger workers the options of a Social Security personal investment choice.
Compare that to Casey's penchant for talking like a moderate Democrat but at the end of a day favoring the liberal agenda that has the country in critical condition and Smith becomes a logical choice for positive change.
Marino has earned second term
Williamsport Republican Tom Marino's actions in his first term as the 10th District representative in the House have earned him a second term. He's worked hard to reduce spending in Washington and downsize the bureaucratic size by 25 percent, with the exceptions of military and law enforcement. He's worked hard to lower corporate and middle-class taxes and close tax loopholes.
He wants term limits and a one-subject-at-a-time rule on legislation which would probable bring a sense of direction to Washington. His opponent, Phil Scollo, if elected, would bring reduced attention to our area and the wrong direction.
Continue Thompson agenda
Glenn Thompson has produced a set of priorities during his representation of the 5th District in the House of Representatives.
We recommend that his agenda be allowed to continue. It includes prioritizing agriculture as the number one industry in Pennsylvania and looking for ways to produce affordable energy to help our economy and national security position.
A product of the health care system, Thompson has pushed firsthand for rural healthcare measures and has advocated for increased access, affordability, quality of care and patient choice.
While exercising proper environmental caution, Thompson wants to push for development of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling production that can improve America's energy position the most in a generation.
His priorities match his constituents and are worth another term of his representation.
Yaw brings influence to Senate
E. Eugene Yaw has brought influence and the proper priorities to 23rd state Senate representation of our region.
He has shown a feel for the diversity of the large geography he represents, particularly regarding the natural gas drilling influence in the district, pushing for the development priority while protecting the environment with sensible regulation.
Yaw also has been a champion of removing inequities in the state's tax structure.
We appreciate the sincere candidacy of Democrat Luana Cleveland but believe the most prudent course would be sticking with what Senator Yaw has given the region.
Mirabito-Rogers: A case of
We endorsed Democrat Rick Mirabito's re-election to the 83rd District of the General Assembly two years ago.
Our caveat was that we wanted him to break away from the Democratic power structure in Harrisburg more often because we don't believe its agenda matches our regions.
While Mirabito has spoken well for our residents at times trying to stop closure of the local state police aviation unit comes to mind for the most part he continues to favor the agenda of the Democratic power base in his votes.
And we don't agree with his favoring of a gas tax over an impact fee regarding natural gas drilling.
We respect his style of representation but disagree on the details.
Republican Harry Rogers has been trumpeting an agenda we tend to agree with a determination to cut wasteful spending, create jobs, improve the economy, restore education funding and reduce school property taxes.
Rogers also wants to lessen government's choking of business and bring greater local control of education.
But for a political newcomer, he hasn't said or done enough to win our confidence. We believe they are both good men but we do not feel strongly enough to endorse one over the other.
Whoever is elected, we hope they will represent our area with conviction.