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Who to Watch in Luzerne Co Free-for-All

By Jamie Brackman, Contributing Writer

The Luzerne County council elections are most noteworthy for the sheer number of candidates which voters will choose from on May 17th.  There are 33 Democratic and 16 Republican candidates.  Six out of ten seats on the county bench are up for election, but the staggering number of candidates comes from the new home rule legislation which will establish a new 11 seat city council.

This detailed List of Candidates shows the diverse occupations of the candidates ranging from political consultants to mechanics.  Since there are so many candidates it is impossible to include an analysis of them all, but Luzerne County insiders have pointed PoliticsPA towards a few candidates who stand out from the rest.

Edward Brominski is a former Luzerne County council member.  Brominski served as the chairman of Luzerne county for 3 of his four years as a councillor and he has pointed out that he left Luzerne County with a $500,000 surplus when his term was over.  He is running on decreasing the county’s debt.  Brominski met with some registration troubles, and was almost unable to run due to a paperwork error.

Casey Evans is the chairman of Luzerne county’s second district , and is running as a “watchdog candidate” who promises to stop any corruption in the new council.  Evans’ campaign met with some interesting headlines when some NEPA papers highlighted the fact that Evans is gay, and would be Luzerne’s first openly gay office-holder.  Evans does not think that his sexuality should not be an issue in the election.  Some insiders say that the controversy is likely to help him in the election – in a race where each candidate’s proportional share is 3.3%, a niche issue like gay rights in a Democratic primary could be a boost.

Salvatore Licata is a retired teacher.  He was a social studies teacher for 35 years at Pittston area school district where he also served as the head football coach for 5 years. Licata currently chairs the Luzerne County Transportation Authority (LCTA), and is running to ensure that the city is run more efficiently.

Joseph Padavan has been the president of United Steel Workers in Luzerne county for over 10 years.  Padavan does volunteer work to help his community serving in soup kitchens and organizing blood drives.  Padavan is also a former crane operator and he is running as a working class candidate. Padavan’s labor ties are sure to help him in a crowded election.  Padavan is familiar with balancing a budget and dealing with spending cuts.

Steve Urban has been a Luzerne County commissioner since 1999, when he was elected as a Republican.  Urban has some of the most qualifying experience out of any candidate, and that his been his main campaign message.  Urban left the Republican party last year and is now running as a Democrat.  Despite Urban’s party change and the resulting PR, he is still much more well known than most of the other candidates.

Jane Walsh Waitkus is a teacher at Penn State Hazelton and is also the director of the First Year Experience program for incoming students.  She served as the president of the Laflin Borough Council where she directed sewer legislation.  Waitkus is running on her education, experience and skills.

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