RODERICK RANDOM: Diverse Field In Quest To Succeed Sid Kavulich
Former state Rep. Jim Wansacz has decided against seeking his old job.
Efforts to reach Wansacz were unsuccessful, but Lackawanna County Democratic Party chairman Chris Patrick confirmed the news.
“He’s not going to run,” Patrick said. “He called me last week and said he’s not running. It’s just not what he wants to do.”
Wansacz, of Old Forge, also a former county commissioner, runs the Scranton-Lackawanna Human Development Agency’s weatherization program, and may have his eye on replacing agency executive director Sam Ceccacci, who told us he plans to retire next year. Wansacz represented the 114th state House District from July 2000 to November 2010.
His decision leaves four people seeking the Democratic nomination. They are:
■Bridget Malloy Kosierowski of Waverly Twp., who officially announced her candidacy last week.
■Wendy Jones of Dickson City.
■Leonard Longo of Scott Twp.
■Rabbi Daniel Swartz of Clarks Summit, the spiritual leader of Temple Hesed, Scranton.
Attorney Stephen Semenza of Old Forge has announced he will seek the Republican nomination.
State House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-28, Allegheny, is expected to announce the special election date next week.
The special election likely will take place in March.
The winner will replace the late Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, the Taylor Democrat who died Oct. 16.
Turzai probably will announce the date of a special election for former Philadelphia state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown’s 190th House District seat at the same time. She resigned Dec. 10 after a conviction on bribery and other charges.
Democrats almost certainly will keep Brown’s seat because of the district’s demographics.
The 114th is less certain, but Democrats definitely want to keep a seat they’ve held since Wansacz defeated Republican former Abington Heights School Director Tom Parry in a special election in June 2000. Before that, Republican Frank Serafini represented the 114th, boundaries of which have changed twice since he represented it for years.
Democrats especially want to keep the seat because they just picked up a net of 11 House seats in the Nov. 6 election to bring their number to 93 in the 203-member House. With Brown’s resignation and Kavulich’s death, Democrats have only 91 members and can’t afford to lose any because Republicans have 110.
Kosierowski, a registered nurse who used to work at a Philadelphia hospital, said President Donald Trump’s election had “just a tad, maybe” to do with her decision to get involved in politics. She has never run for office before.
“Certainly, the environment in today’s politics is energizing for women,” Kosierowski said. “I recognize there’s a degree of boldness to my entrance into this race. I’m not a political person. I haven’t spent time in Harrisburg or Washington. But it’s a personal journey. I really love our community. I want to do things for hard-working families that I see in my career, struggling with health care. I think it’s something it’s a calling that I would like to try and serve to help to better schools, a better health care system, property tax relief.”
In his letter applying for the nomination, Swartz said he has “national experience working with broad coalitions ranging from pro-union advocacy to LGBT civil rights to environmental protection to children’s health.
“I understand that as a rabbi, I’m not a typical candidate,” he wrote. “However, I believe my standing in the community would enable me not only to get elected but, more importantly, to work for a Pennsylvania that works for all of us.”
Jones, the business office manager at a local nursing home, said she likes to help people there and wants to do that for more people as a state representative.
Efforts to reach Longo were unsuccessful.
Friday was the deadline for submitting résumés and cover letters to the county Democratic Party for consideration. The party has pushed back its 114th House District committee meeting for choosing a nominee. Originally scheduled for next Thursday, the meeting will take place Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Nosh, 280 Main St., Dickson City, Patrick said.
The county Republican Party has begun accepting résumés and letters of intent, but has not set a submission deadline or nomination meeting. That will happen after Turzai announces the special election date, Republican chairman Lance Stange Jr. said. Details on applying are at www.lackawannagop.com.
BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, The Times-Tribune’s politics reporter, writes Random Notes.