It’s still a little more than a week until candidates can circulate and file nomination petitions in Pennsylvania, but two Democrats have already announced they will seek election to the seat held by Rep. Glenn Thompson in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Thomas Tarantella and Kerith Strano Taylor both decided to run for the position during the government shutdown last year. They said they would like to see a change in the way things are run in Washington, D.C.
Tarantella, of Renovo, served in the U.S. Army for 22 years and wants to tackle issues related to veterans affairs and education.
He said some funding cuts to the education system have hurt the country’s school system.
“If our goal is to educate our people, then why are we cutting education?” he said.
Running for Congress has never been a goal for Tarantella, but after the government shutdown he decided that he could sit back and complain about the system or try to do something about it.
He also said he will look into the issue of helping homeless veterans. Tarantella believes the federal government should make more of an effort to help veterans get back on their feet, because they have served the country.
Strano Taylor also wants to make some changes in the federal government.
She said she had always considered running for the seat, but like Tarantella, the government shutdown was the driving force behind doing it now.
“Three days into the shutdown, I realized I had a choice: I could sit and be angry about it or I could do something about it,” she said.
She is running as a Democrat, but she said the party should not matter for issues like helping struggling families. She wants to bring a bipartisan approach if she is elected to the seat.
Strano Taylor, of Brookville, works in family law, and she is the president of the Brookville Area school board. She graduated from Penn State.
They hope to unseat Thompson, R-Howard Township, who has already kicked off his re-election campaign.
He said he expected that there would be competition for the seat, and he is working hard to get elected to a fourth term.
“My most successful re-election strategy is working hard, doing the right things and communicating,” he said.
Thompson is working on issues like improving the unemployment situation, updating No Child Left Behind and a water resource bill that would create jobs.
He kicked off his re-election campaign last month, scheduling 24 stops in the congressional district’s 16 counties over a four-day trip.
And other candidates still have time to throw their names into the race.
There has been some discussion about Jay Paterno entering the race, but he has made no statement. Paterno is a former Penn State quarterbacks coach and the son of former head coach Joe Paterno.
Paterno did not return a call for comment by press time Sunday.