GOP committee picnic features Marino, Yaw

The Lycoming County Republican Committee picnic on Sunday featured some heavy hitters in the political world, including U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw and state Rep. Garth Everett.

The event was held at the South Williamsport Lions Club pavilion in the South Williamsport Park.

Marino, R-Cogan Station, was fresh from an appearance in Washington, D.C., at Wednesday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Obama administration’s push for making a “limited” strike against Syria because of the Assad administration’s alleged use of chemical weapons against 1,500 of its citizens in Damascus, including about 400 children.

Much of Congress is against the move, including himself, Marino said.

“One of the hot items in D.C. now is the Syria vote, if there is even going to be a vote,” he said.

“My position is clear, I am opposed to any intervention into Syria,” he added.

Marino said since he questioned Kerry and Hagel in the hearing last week, more of his colleagues have said they were voting “no.”

“Now even France has said they are backing off and are going to wait and see what is happening,” he added.

Marino said he recalled a former professor at Lycoming College telling him to “never get involved in another country’s civil war.”

“It is clear to me that there are multiple factions there that hate us, hate each other and have been killing each other for hundreds of years, and will keep killing each other,” he said.

Marino also addressed the amnesty issue for undocumented aliens, saying he will not vote for any form of amnesty reform until the nation’s borders are secured.

He talked a little about sequestration and food stamps, saying there really was no need for sequestration because there are many “unnecessary “areas of government that can be trimmed.

About food stamps he said that he wanted to know what they are being spent on and that there are active black markets for the cards in the inner cities.

“I want to know where our food stamp money is going. We spent $80 billion last year on food stamps and no one has to account for it,” he said, adding that food stamps need to be going to the people who need them.

Marino stressed the need for Republicans to “get out the vote” this general election and “take the Senate” back from Democrats.

“That way Obama becomes a lame duck,” he added.

Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, also encouraged Republicans to “work together” and to get more members.

“We need the Republican Party to increase the size of our tent and bring more people in,” he said.

Yaw also talked about transportation being more important than either pension reform or liquor privatization.

“No one dies if we don’t reform pensions and no one dies if we don’t reform liquor sales, but people can die if we don’t improve our highways and bridges,” he said.

Yaw said the state has 4,000 miles of substandard highways and 4,000 deficient bridges.

“We are sitting on a ticking time bomb in dealing with transportation,” he said, adding that the average family in Pennsylvania spends about $1,000 per year in tires, repairs and gas because of the state’s bad road system.

He noted that the Senate recently passed a bipartisan bill on transportation that was passed 45-5. It now is in the House of Representatives.

“It was the most bipartisan thing we have ever done,” he said.

Yaw also touted the Act 13 legislation passed a few years ago that has benefited every county in the state with a share of the natural gas impact fee.

“Williamsport got $500,000 last year and again this year that they didn’t have before,” he said.

His district, which includes Bradford County, got the lion’s share of $85 million because there are more gas wells there than in any other part of the state.

“Bradford County got $45 million in the past two years,” he said.

Everett, R-Muncy, agreed with Yaw and Marino about the need to increase the size of the party by including others who may not always agree with them.

“We’d much rather have them in our tent with us,” he said about Republicans from the southeastern part of the state who may be more moderate than conservatives up north like.

He also said it was important to get younger people involved in the party.