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Mascara shakes hands with Armstrong County voters

| Friday, May 17, 2002

EAST FRANKLIN - Despite the belief of some political watchers that Armstrong County is "Murtha Country," U.S. Rep. Frank Mascara, D-Charleroi, feels he has an excellent chance to beat Democratic congressman, Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, in the county in the May 21 primary.

Yesterday, Mascara and aides were at the Hilltop Plaza passing out small American flags and pumping hands of shoppers in an effort to garner votes in this area of the 12th Congressional District.

Mascara said he feels he has a good chance to win Armstrong County because of his prior experience in county government and his record of creating jobs.

Mascara served for nine years as a county commissioner in Washington County and was also president of the state Association of County Commissioners.

"I know what county and local governments need," Mascara said. "I have and can work with township supervisors on water and sewer projects - these are some of the things that create jobs and benefit the people."

Mascara said two major issues in the current campaign are jobs and Social Security benefits.

"Social Security is a big issue," he said, "especially the 'notch baby' issue. I remain opposed to hiking the Social Security retirement age and I favor increased Social Security benefits.However, another difference between Jack (Murtha) and myself is the trade issue. Trade with China is a major concern to me. My opponent favors trade with China, I do not. I don't believe we should trade with any nation that uses slave and child labor."

Mascara said he believes he will appeal to Armstrong County voters because of his proven track record in creating jobs.

"I helped create 6,000 jobs through economic development in Washington County. In Westmoreland County, we are creating a 1,000 acre Economic Development Park that will open up 10,000 new jobs. In both cases that works out to about 10 jobs per acre. I also promoted the MagLev project and am a major proponent of the Mon-Fayette Highway between West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Access to Route 28 is vital to future economic development."

Mascara argued: "My opponent's campaign is supported by big corporations. My campaign is dependent on a grassroots support of people who want jobs. It's that simple."

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