Health issues led to Marino’s resignation
By FRANCIS SCARCELLA
Special to The Express
WILLIAMSPORT — Tom Marino said a serious health issue forced him to resign from his seat in the U.S. House just days after the Republican from Cogan Station began his fifth term.
Marino, 66, spoke exclusively with The Daily Item on Thursday, saying he has been overwhelmed by support from his constituents across the 12th District, including cards, prayers, texts and phone calls concerning his health. Marino represented the 10th District for four terms before winning the redesigned 12th District in November.
“I am not well,” Marino said. “But I am getting better. I had surgery and they found my lining in my kidney was deteriorating and tissue was blocking everything so they went in and cleaned everything out.”
Marino said at this point, he does not have cancer. He said he will undergo more tests and surgeries in the upcoming weeks.
Marino has battled cancer since 1999 when he announced that half of his left kidney was removed. In 2009, the other half was removed. In 2012, cancer returned and doctors had to remove 60 percent of his right kidney which now leaves Marino with only 40 percent of one kidney.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me through my time as a congressman,” he said. “But I made a decision that I want to live and I want to be around to see my son graduate from college.”
With the expectation of ongoing treatment, Marino knew the time was right to step away.
“I knew I couldn’t serve my 15 counties and if I needed to be in a hospital. I wanted to be home with my family,” he said. “I wanted to try to keep my sickness private but it was out there and people were concerned and asking. I still have a tumor but it is not growing. So I am fine for now but that could change in a week or in a year.”
Marino said he picked the spot to resign so that it wouldn’t cost taxpayers any money for a special election.
“I knew the May primary election was coming and they could have held it then,” he said.
After Marino resigned, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the special election would be held May 21, the same date as the primary. Four candidates — Republicans Fred Keller, Jeff Wheeland and Chris Hoffman and Democrat Marc Friedenberg — have officially announced their intention to seek the seat.
Marino said he won’t back anyone in the upcoming race.
“I have had so many of these people support me through the years and any one of them would make a great congressman,” he said. “Whoever the Republican is that gets the nomination I will support.”
Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta said he wanted to respect Marino’s private life and health conditions.
“I have been in contact with Tom (Marino) often,” Barletta said. “He wasn’t just a fellow congressman but he is a great friend. No one worked harder than Tom Marino. He is one of the toughest people I ever met and he is a fighter and will overcome anything. I ask everyone to keep him and his family in your prayers.”
Marino said he hasn’t had much contact from Washington since his decision to resign.
“I have received some calls from D.C. but not many,” Marino said after his exit from the nation’s capital. “It’s like when you are gone, you are gone.”
Francis Scarcella is a staff writer for The Daily Item, Sunbury.