Latest Issue

County Hall Corner: The No Hate Debate

If there is one prevailing aspect of today’s political climate, it is hate. And hate has no boundaries, so even a simple forum of four potential county commissioners could have turned into a shouting match. Instead, the program that took place on Tuesday, October 3rd, at the Eagle Grange #1 in Montgomery was more like a family gathering. The four candidates were not just civil to one another; they were courteous and even gracious to one another, to the point that Scott Metzger, a Republican, noted that it was Democrat Denitra Moffett’s birthday.

The four candidates had one incumbent, Scott Metzger, and the other candidates were Republican Mark Sortman and Democrats Mark Mussina and Denitra Moffett. Jason Fink, Director of the Lycoming County/Williamsport Chamber of Commerce, was the facilitator and deserves a commendation as he kept the program on schedule primarily by keeping the candidates within their time limitations (no easy task!)

Scott Metzger was obviously the one most knowledgeable about county government, having served as a Lycoming County Commissioner for the past four years. His answers to the questions were more precise and detailed than the others. Throughout his tenure, Scott has consistently focused on what he knows is the right path, even when it was not popular.

A good example of this was his answer to the question of the greatest need in the county; he started with the levee certification. I would wager that the vast majority of our county population has no idea what this is, but a major flood could destroy our county’s economy. The levee is what prevents this, and its recertification has been a major project for the county, city, townships, and boroughs along the river for the past few years. Metzger gave the right answer, even though most of the folks in the room were probably wondering why he would rate that as the number one focus.

The other Republican was Loyalsock Township Supervisor Mark Sortman. Mark’s experience has been his years serving as a township supervisor, which he prefaced in almost every answer he gave. In fact, toward the end, he even apologized that he had referenced this so many times. But the point he made was a good one — he has experience in local government and has found a way to improve the overall quality of life in his area.

Mark Mussina, one of the Democratic candidates, brought a lot of life to the event. He is one who has had success in many areas of his life and is not intimidated by challenges, no matter what they might be. His robust answers brought many smiles and were far more honest and animated than any potential politician I have seen. Through his spirited responses, he emphasized that the answer to the county’s challenges must be accomplished by working together.

Denitra Moffett, the other Democratic candidate, also brought some life with her southern accent and strong convictions. She brought a different view to many of the questions, for example, emphasizing the need for compassion and help for mothers who must juggle work with childcare and the need for more activity options for young people. She is certainly an anomaly in that she has served in a very responsible position in the US Army and been deployed in the Middle East, but her heart and soul are for the neglected and hurting. She is a novice when it comes to county government, and indeed a long shot, to be sure, but her voice is one that is worth hearing.

Lycoming County has a lot to be proud of, and not the least is the quality of those who are running for these important offices and their respect for their colleagues. Ironically, the day before this event, in Washington, D.C., the US House of Representatives voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership role. It was the first time in the House of Representatives history that the chamber voted to boot off the chairman. History may remember it as the Great Hate Mistake.

In conclusion, a giant attaboy needs to go to the Eagle Grange and their dozen or so volunteers who went above and beyond the call of duty in their hosting for the event. The Grange Hall has been completely renovated and looks great. In addition, the Grange volunteers had a wide assortment of refreshments (all homemade!) and even had a raffle with door prizes of yummy food items and beautiful flowers. Their next fundraiser is a takeout Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings for a suggested donation of $13. If interested, contact Daisy Steer at 570-546-5861 no later than October 30th, as the pickups will be from 2-4 p.m. at the Eagle Grange Hall on Rt 15 & Blind Road in Montgomery on Saturday, November 4th.