Monday, September 8, 2008

McCracken for Congress -- Calling for a Rural Renewal in the 5th District -- September 7th, 2008

As we move into the final 2 months in the campaign for the 5th Congressional District, the economic conditions in the 5th district will play a key role in the outcome of this race. The facts are clear that rural north central and northwest Pennsylvania lags behind the rest of the state and nation in economic development and opportunities for our citizens. Recent unemployment statistics released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry shows that 2 counties in the 5th district, Cameron and Forest, have the 2 highest unemployment rates in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additionally, 15 of the 17 counties in the 5th district have unemployment rates over 5%, which is unacceptable.

While the unemployment news is bad enough, worse is the most recent median household income figures reported by the US Census Bureau -- 2006 American Communities Survey showing that citizens in the 5th district earn on average almost $12,000 less per year than the rest of the United States. This is an abysmal number and is one of the main reasons that the best and brightest of our young people tend to leave our communities after high school and college graduation. Why would they stay when the cost for food, clothes, gas, utilities and other necessities are the same as the rest of the country while income levels are much less in the 5th district?

What is needed for the 5th district to combat a continuation of the high unemployment rates and lower than average income levels is a commitment to have a "Rural Renewal" in the 5th Congressional District. When I am your congressman, I plan to work on the idea of having a rural renewal for rural north central and northwest Pennsylvania that will bring investment for necessary infrastructure improvements to all our counties and communities. I will work as a direct partner with county commissioners and economic development agencies to determine what upgrades are needed in the various counties and then work with state and federal level officials to secure funding for important projects.

The idea for a "Rural Renewal" will only work if voters in the 5th district realize that turning around the economic fortunes of this district starts with them on November 4th. While the economic indicator numbers referenced above are recent numbers from June of 2008 for the unemployment figures and from 2006 for the median income levels, these are trends that have continued in the 5th district for several decades. These trends have continued over the last 12 years under our current representative in Washington and likely will continue unless the next member of Congress from the 5th District makes a real commitment to changing these trends. My commitment is that I will be the lead partner with our state and county level elected officials along with economic development and business leaders to bring a rural renewal to the 5th district.

The question voters must ask themselves is this: Do you want More of the Same high unemployment and low wages or do you want Something Better in a Rural Renewal for the 5th Congressional District?

Schedule for the Upcoming Week:

Sunday -- Clinton County Picnic at 1 PM / Lycoming County Picnic at 3 PM

Monday -- American Federation Of Government Employees Council Of Prison Locals, Local 3974 -- Bradford PA -- 5 PM

Tuesday -- Tioga County / Mansfield -- Obama / Democratic HQ Opening -- 5 PM

Wednesday -- Surra / McCracken Labor Rally -- St. Marys -- 3 PM

Friday -- Venango County Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Candidate Forum -- Franklin PA -- 7:30 AM, Brady Township in Clearfield County VFD 50th Anniversary Dinner -- 6 PM

Saturday -- Warren County HQ Opening -- 3 PM Warren County Democratic Steak Cookout Picnic -- 5 PM

Sunday -- Mike Hanna Fundraiser -- Moshannon PA -- 3 PM

We look forward to seeing you out there on the campaign trail!

Mark B. McCracken
Your Candidate for Congress

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