WRIGHT TWP. – On a frigid, snowy day, Mike Arnold had a pretty good reason to be standing in a vacant lot in the Crestwood Industrial Complex.
Surrounded by more than a dozen supporters, the Republican officially kicked off his campaign for the 119th State Legislative District and pointed to the empty lot as part of the challenge he hopes to take on: bringing businesses and, more important, the jobs that come with them back to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“We have got to do something,” Arnold said, “because we have no industry.”
Absent another Democratic challenger, Arnold will take on incumbent Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, for the district that includes Nanticoke and much of Wright and Plymouth townships.
A second Republican, Pete Mailloux, also kicked off his campaign Saturday for the 121st State Legislative District at the Wilkes-Barre Township Municipal Building.
Mailloux will challenge incumbent Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, for the district that includes Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Township and much of Mountain Top.
Mailloux and Arnold both attended each other’s events and promoted similar platforms of bringing jobs to the area.
“My three most important goals are, one, we need to create jobs; two, we need to create jobs; and three, we need to create jobs,” Mailloux said.
Each candidate also provided similar thoughts on how to bring jobs to the area, though with slightly different twists.
Mailloux and Arnold said they would like to reduce taxes, specifically the corporate tax rate, to help entice businesses.
“We have one of the highest corporate tax rates,” Arnold said. Instead of relying on increasing taxes, he added, the state should work on growing the tax base. “Don’t raise taxes, raise taxpayers. Make the government live on less, not our families.”
Mailloux also said he would like to work with other area legislators in promoting Northeastern Pennsylvania and bringing pride back to the area.
“We need for our Northeastern Pennsylvania legislators to work collaboratively to move our area forward,” Mailloux said.
The Wyoming Valley, he said, has a false perception of lacking amenities. The area should be as successful as San Antonio, Texas, he said, which has capitalized on its geography to promote a vibrant downtown riverwalk.
“You tell me what you like to do,” Mailloux said, “and I’ll tell you where to go (in Northeastern Pennsylvania) â¦ We need to be a destination.”
For both men, though, the first step is just “getting a seat at the table” as Mailloux said.
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Important primary dates
Feb. 14 - Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions.
Feb. 29 - Last day for candidates who filed nomination papers to withdrawal.
March 26 – Last day to register to vote in the primary.
April 17 - Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot.
April 20 - Last day to submit voted civilian absentee ballots.
April 24 - General primary.