Marino as nation’s drug czar: The pieces seem to fit

The job is national drug czar. We wish it weren’t necessary, but the position has never been more important. And as long as we need leadership of a national war on illegal drugs, it would seem that U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, a Cogan House Republican, fits the job description ideally. He is a logical choice for the job President Donald Trump has reportedly planned for him.

Marino is a former Lycoming County District Attorney, elected in 1991, and U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania’s Middle District under President George W. Bush, who appointed him a federal prosecutor in 2002.

That experience gives him the practical knowledge to oversee a national drug policy.

And as a Central Pennsylvania resident, he knows all too well the causes and impact of the nation’s drug epidemic, particularly the scourge of opioid addiction.

Notably, House Speaker Paul Ryan appointed Marino last year to serve on a committee that worked out the details on legislation designed to expand access to treatment for people struggling with opioid addiction.

The drug czar position also connects more closely than ever with immigration policy since much of the nation’s illegal drug trade starts at the border of the United States and Mexico.

President Trump, of course, has made tougher laws and action on illegal immigration a cornerstone initiative. And Marino was among the earliest supporters of Trump among elected officials during his run for the presidency.

In other words, all the pieces fit to make Marino a natural for the drug czar position.

And his vacating of his congressional seat fits with his stated belief that Congress should not be a lifetime position but rather subject to term limits. His appointment gives voters in the 10th Congressional District a fresh opportunity to consider their preference for House representation of a rather far-flung, predominately rural district.

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