Bradford County official seeks congressional seat

Calling the opioid crisis the biggest challenge facing rural Pennsylvania, a Bradford County commissioner has decided to seek the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional seat.

Doug McLinko announced he is seeking to unseat U.S. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, a House member he believes has failed the voters.

“Rather than standing up for his constituents who have been hit hard by this epidemic, Tom Marino made the opioid crisis worse,” McLinko said.

He called himself a pro-life, Constitutional conservative.

A businessman and former Wysox Township supervisor, he said as commissioner he has successfully worked to cut taxes, eliminate debt and reduce the size of government.

Although a Republican, McLinko said he does not necessarily toe the party line.

“You are known by your actions,” he said.

McLinko said many people are upset over a recent “60 Minutes” report that revealed Marino accepted campaign contributions from drug companies and subsequently sponsored legislation that critics say opened the door to the opioid market by stifling drug law enforcement.

He also accused Marino of being absent in the 10th District and for having what he claims is one of the worst voting records of all Pennsylvania congressmen.

“I’ve sat in the living rooms of friends and family who have lost loved ones to this tragic addiction,” McLinko said. “I’m a loyal Republican, but after watching the ’60 Minutes’ report and hearing from families across the district, it is obvious Tom Marino puts the interests of campaign contributors ahead of the health and safety of his constituents. His actions are indefensible. Republicans need to replace Tom Marino before Democrats defeat him in November.”

He noted the problems in the 10th District involving opioids, including the more than 50 overdoses alone in Lycoming County last summer during a two-day period.

McLinko said he wouldn’t be running if he didn’t think he could defeat Marino.

He said people are demanding change.

As a commissioner, he said he’s worked to bring jobs to Bradford County, including those connected to the energy sector.

If elected, he said he would use grassroots teams to help solve problems.

“The district has been neglected,” he said.

McLinko, 60, is a graduate of Towanda Area High School.

He is chairman of the Bradford/Sullivan County Salvation Army Service Unit, president of Wysox Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Wysox Planning Commission, Wysox Municipal Authority, Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, and a member of the Masonic Lodge, Rome.

He also serves on the Republican Committee and the Republican Executive Committee.