Rep. Marino to run in 2018?

VICKI SMEDLEY

Jersey Shore

It appears that 10th District U.S. Rep. Tom Marino is planning on running for his seat in Congress again in 2018. In October, Rep. Marino had to withdraw in disgrace as President Trump’s nominee for drug czar after news reports that the pharmaceutical industry contributed close to $100,000 to his campaign while he shepherded a law making opioids more easily accessible in the midst of a national crisis.

The new law, Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, makes it virtually impossible for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies by allowing the DEA to immediately prevent drugs from reaching the street.

This means that corrupt drug companies can, and do, things like sell nine million pills to a drug store in a community with a population of 350 people. So these pills do reach the street.

This law, I believe contributed to skyrocketing opioid overdoses everywhere, including right here in the 10th Congressional District. Opioids kill tens of thousands of Americans every year. Since the turn of the century, over 300,000 deaths are attributed opioid overdoses. Fentanyl overdose deaths are up 540 percent in the last three years. The highest category of deaths from opioids is currently middle-aged women in rural areas!

As a former U.S. attorney, Marino should very well known that his schilling for these drug companies would contribute to killing hundreds of people in Pennsylvania and thousands nationwide.

If Marino is not fit to be the drug czar – and he is not – then he is unfit to be our congressman. He should resign and begin voluntary work to undo the misery and loss of life that he has caused to the people in his district and across this country. He should visit every family in his district that has lost a family member and apologize to them for the harm he has caused.

So, are we, the people of his district, going to hold Marino accountable? Shouldn’t he have to pay the consequences for his actions?

That’s what we have all been taught by our parents, teachers, and clergy. It is what we have all taught our children. It is the way justice is supposed to work. It is up to us to send a strong message to candidates everywhere that we will not tolerate these dirty deals any longer.

However, Marino first won his seat in 2010 even after resigning as a United States attorney under the cloud of a Justice Department investigation. Federal agents were looking into his role in helping to win a casino license for an accused mobster. Despite this, and because of extreme Gerrymandering of the 10th District, he won anyway.

And it was the same in the other elections he won. Marino’s district stretches from the Susquehanna Valley to the Delaware Water Gap at the New Jersey border, and was drawn to favor Republicans. It is close to impossible to oppose a Republican in the 10th. So unless there is a really strong Republican to challenge Marino in the primary, we will likely have him back in his office again after next year, and every election thereafter, unless our Legislature changes the Gerrymandering laws.

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