Pennsylvania resident and Green Party member John Kesich has announced that he will be running in for state representative in the 68th district, currently represented by Republican Matt Baker. Kesich is hoping to secure the Democratic nomination, although a party spokesperson said they can’t officially endorse him because he is a Green, and is urging Republicans to write him in. From the Daily Review:
While hoping to win the Democratic nomination in the race, Kesich is also encouraging Republicans to write him in as well, the release noted.
In the state House of Representatives’ race, a write-in candidate needs at least 300 write-in votes to get either party’s nomination, and when competing against someone already on the ballot, the candidate must get at least one more vote than his opponent to win the nomination, according to Charlie Young, deputy press secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The write-in votes must show voters’ intent to vote for the candidate in order to be valid, he said.
In the release, Kesich said, “This is really a referendum on how well Mr. Baker has done protecting Pennsylvania from the negative impacts of the current under-regulated gas rush.”
The release continues:
“Kesich has been outspoken in questioning and criticizing lack of proper regulation regarding Marcellus Shale since March 2009 and has been active with the Tioga County group, ‘Citizens Concerned about Natural Gas Drilling.'”
“He laid out what he thinks should be done. The state should stop issuing new permits until a comprehensive harms/benefits analysis is completed and steps are taken to ensure that industry pays all the costs of drilling rather than offloading them onto local residents. DEP needs to institute proper air and water monitoring, funded by a severance tax, rather than leaving this to residents. He pointed out that government has already failed in its responsibility to keep roads in a fit state for residents, allowing industry to destroy and then rebuild them suitable for its heavy equipment with little regard for the public. He also questioned why, for every dollar Pennsylvania landowners get, at least four end up in Gas and Wall Street’s pockets. He would like the Attorney General to investigate whether some of the current leases should be voided.”
The news release notes that Kesich is 55 years old, and he and his wife, Emily Rizzo, moved to Rutland Township, Tioga County, in 2002 when they retired from New York University where he had been a system administrator.
Kesich said he has no political background, but added that he has lobbied in Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg for single-payer, publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare for all. In addition, he spoke to the Tioga County Commissioners publicly about the use of paperless, electronic voting machines, which he said he feels are prone to fraud.
He is a member of the Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group in Tioga County and the Tiadaghton Audubon Society.
On other topics, he said he believes the poor and the middle class need to pay less taxes and the wealthy more.
As far as running against Baker, he admits that it’s going to be a challenge.
“I would be pretty naïve to believe it would be easy, but if you don’t provide an opportunity for a miracle to happen, it’s guaranteed that it’s not going to happen,” he said. He is running for office by word of mouth, and doesn’t plan to run radio ads just yet, he said.