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Former congressman Holden OK'd for Liquor Control Board

| Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

When the state Liquor Control Board meets next week, it will be the first time in more than a year that three board members take their seats at the front of the small, well-appointed conference room in Harrisburg.

Tim Holden, a former Democratic congressman from Schuylkill County, was confirmed by the state Senate 48-0 on Wednesday for a four-year term on the board.

Holden, 56, was nominated by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in June to fill the post vacated by Patrick J. Stapleton III in October 2012. The job pays about $73,100 annually.

Corbett first nominated Philadelphia attorney Ken Trujillo to the fill the vacancy, but that nomination never advanced in the Senate.

Holden, a former sheriff and sergeant-at-arms for the state House, served in the U.S. House for 20 years before losing last year's Democratic primary in a redrawn district that gave him largely new territory.

Holden said his home is only 62 miles from Harrisburg, and he plans to spend plenty of time in the capital. He said he aims to make the LCB run as efficiently and profitably as possible, but he declined to offer more specific goals or to take a stance in the ongoing debate over whether the state should privatize the sale of wines and spirits, turning them over to private businesses.

Corbett and some lawmakers have pushed privatization, but no proposal has passed both the state House and Senate.

“I have a lot to learn, and I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can, as fast as I can,” Holden said. “I've had the luxury of having two former chairmen of the LCB in my home county ... and both made clear to me ever since my nomination (that) it's not your place to interfere with the legislative process.”

In a statement, the other two LCB members praised Holden.

”As a public servant, (Holden) has worked hard for the citizens of the commonwealth and I have no doubt that he will bring that same work ethic and enthusiasm to his role at the PLCB as well,” Chairman Joseph “Skip” Brion said.

“I'm very much looking forward to working with Congressman Holden in his new role as a board member,” said Robert Marcus of Indiana. “We're very fortunate to have his insight and expertise as we work to meet the goals set for this agency.”

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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