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Local Democrats, GOP look beyond Primary

Linda Sosniak assumed the seat as chair of the Lycoming County Democratic Committee with the intent to make the local party more inclusive.

The hope, she said, is to not merely be a party about politics.

“I feel positive about it,” she said.

A focus of the party is to better educate members about policies and issues pertinent to voters across the state.

“I try to bring speakers to our meetings,” she said.

Recently, the state executive director of state Democrats talked to local party members about the constitutional amendments on this year’s primary election ballot.

She pointed to the creation of a black caucus within the county party.

A goal of the caucus, which meets regularly, is to elect more black people to elected offices.

Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito said caucuses are an excellent means of getting people together to voice their needs and solve problems.

I think it’s great that the Democratic Party here in Lycoming County has a black caucus. It allows topics of concerns to be discussed,” Mirabito, the lone Democrat on the three-person commissioners’ board, said. “It definitely looks like Democrats are going to be more inclusive.”

Lycoming County Republican Committee Chair Vincent Matteo said the party has been working of late to fill empty seats in the organization.

“We are expanding our base,” he said. “We are reaching out to different people and groups.”

Matteo said he is looking forward to once again holding events that were interrupted by COVID-19 such as the fall banquet and the Lincoln Day Dinner in the winter.

Looking ahead, he said there is a lot to be excited about with regard to the party.

Sosniak noted that efforts have also been made to expand the local Democrat Party’s reach to other groups including veterans in the county.

Although formation of a veteran’s caucus failed to gain traction, Sosniak feels it could eventually happen.

“I am going to still reach out and try to get interested people,” she said.

Younger residents of the county also need a voice within the party, and Sosniak said that may be yet another group to be organized into a caucus.

Registered Republican voters have long held a majority over registered Democrats in the county.

They also hold most of the elected offices across the county, including at the state and municipal levels.

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