The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 29, 2014

Marino my face 2nd foe

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

MILFORD — MILFORD — U.S. Rep. Tom Marino may face a second opponent in his battle to retain his 10th Congressional District seat this fall.

Political independent Nick Troiano, 25, of Pike County, is in the process of gathering the 3,500 signatures needed to appear on the ballot in the Nov. 4 general election.

Marino, a two-term Cogan Station Republican, would also face Democrat Scott Brion, of Lycoming County, in the fall.

Troiano said his campaign is nearly ready to release polling that shows the 10th District “is open for change, and for additional candidates,” he said.

“On the national level, people have never been more dissatisfied with our government in Washington and more supportive of either an independent or a third-party alternative to the candidates that both parties are putting forward. This is a moment where people are looking at other options. Because now, no matter who is in charge, the outcomes only seem to get worse.”

Marino, Troiano says, is part of the system, a Republican who votes with the party line 94 percent of the time, and he takes about 40 percent of his campaign cash from special-interest Political Action Committees.

That is a problem, Troiano said. If he is on the ballot, it will be as an independent, citizen-funded candidate, “so I won’t have an allegiance to a particular party nor will I be beholden to any particular special interest, since I won’t be accepting any of their contributions.”

Like Marino, Troiano is concerned about the national debt and the trajectory of the federal budget, but he said their approaches to the solutions differ.

“Congressman Marino supported the president’s sequester, which cut over a trillion dollars in the short term, but that’s not where our problem is,” Troiano said. “It’s not in the discretionary parts of the budget, but in the mandatory side, which is in our large social insurance programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I think the sensible way to deal with our debt is to combine social insurance program reform, which reduces spending, with comprehensive tax reform, which will raise additional revenue.

“That is a way to reduce the deficit and grow the economy. Marino thinks we should cut federal spending in the short term and lower taxes, but that’s not an effective way to deal with our debt problem.”

Troiano would not directly answer whether he would consider tax increases.

“I think through tax reform we can cut tax rates for everyone, but we can close a lot of the loopholes that primarily benefit those who are well off and well-connected,” he said. “Revenue needs to be on the table. The entire baby boom generation is retiring and we haven’t funded large parts of Social Security and Medicare. The government will need more revenue that it has in the past to deal with those issues.”

Troiano also differs from Marino in ways in which to create jobs.

“We both agree that we should get rid of unnecessary government relations, but government should do more than just get out of the way,” Troiano said. “There is a role for government that can help us strengthen our national competitiveness, through targeted federal investment. Things like infrastructure and supporting innovation in our country. We should also fix our broken immigration system to attract and retain top workers and entrepreneurs.”

Marino apparently isn’t taking Troiano lightly. In a fundraising letter signed by Marino, and posted on Troiano’s website, several charges are made against Troiano.

He claims Troiano, who founded a group called The Can Kicks Back, has been funded by Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson and other Wall Street financiers. Not true, Troiano says, adding that he has not taken any money from Peterson.

And the letter also attacks Troiano’s plans, saying they will in part be funded by Social Security cuts.

Troiano also denied that attack.

Meanwhile, Troiano said his campaign is on track to meet their initial goal of raising $25,000 by the end of this month.

“It’s just a start, he said. “But it’s a demonstration that there are people willing to donate to our campaign. I don’t think it’s necessary to outraise my opponent. I just have to outsmart him in the sense that we are going to be running a highly sophisticated campaign, leveraging new media, social media more effectively than those who run by the traditional playbook. We’ll combine that with a robust, on the ground effort of volunteers who are excited about the opportunity to change politics as usual.  So I think I’ll be able to run a cost effective campaign.”

Marino’s campaign staff did not reply to a request for comment by deadline.