Skipper Ford

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Skipper Ford - Ford wan ts to make area a better place By BOB...
Ford wan ts to make area a better place By BOB SALITZA Standard-Speaker Standard-Speaker Standard-Speaker Staff Writer James "Skip" Ford says he loves the Hazleton area and will work to protect and strengthen it if he is elected to the state House of Representatives Representatives next Tuesday. "My roots are here and this is where I'll spend the rest of my life," the Republican candidate from Drums, Butler Township, said. "I love the people. I love this area. I really do." Recalling his more than two decades as an agent for the U.S. Treasury Department, Department, Ford said he now wants to focus his attention on doing good things for the 116th Legislative District. "For 22 years, I worked to make the country a safer place," the 53-year-old 53-year-old 53-year-old 53-year-old 53-year-old Mc-Adoo Mc-Adoo Mc-Adoo native declared in a recent interview. "Now, as a legislator, I want to make our area a better place to live." While fully appreciative of all that is right about the Hazleton area. Ford indicated indicated that he is, nonetheless, nonetheless, equally cognizant of its problems. Economic development, aid to education, senior citizen assistance, the environment, the drug problem, highway funding and tax reform are among the issues that Ford says the winner of Tuesday's general election will have to address in Harrisburg. Ford, who won a hard-fought, hard-fought, hard-fought, three-way three-way three-way GOP contest contest in last spring's primary, will face Democrat Thomas B. Stish, a school psychologist from Hazleton, in next week's balloting. The winner will succeed Correale F. Stevens, a Republican Republican lawyer from Hazleton, Hazleton, who stepped down as the district's state representative representative last January, to become district attorney of Luzerne County. Since then, the district Hazleton, West Hazleton, Conyngham, Jeddo, Nescopeck Borough, and Hazle, Butler, Sugarloaf, Black Creek, Hollenback and Nescopeck townships has been without representation in the state House. To woo the legislative district's district's more than 24,000 registered registered voters, the opposing candidates have conducted divergent-style divergent-style divergent-style campaigns. "Intelligent voters are interested interested in the issues and in what the candidate can do for them," Ford maintains, explaining explaining the issue-oriented issue-oriented issue-oriented nature of his campaign. "I have nothing derogatory to say about any opponent. I'm trying to run a door-to-door, door-to-door, door-to-door, door-to-door, door-to-door, positive, issue-oriented issue-oriented issue-oriented campaign, and I wish my opponent would also." Ford said he would be a full-time full-time full-time lawmaker, devoting full attention and energy to bettering the quality of life for his constituents. "I would not be a 'yes' man for the governor (Robert P. Casey, a Democrat)," Ford stated. However, according to Ford, he would vote for Democrat-sponsored Democrat-sponsored Democrat-sponsored bills that he believes would benefit the Hazleton area. Conversely, he would vote against Republican measures not deemed to be in the area's best interests. " I don't owe anyone allegiance, except the people of our area," Ford explained. "I'm not controlled. I don't owe any allegiance to anyone but the voters." The GOP hopeful believes that his background will help him to be a capable legislator. Ford was born in McAdoo, son of the late James J. and Kathryn (Mitrishion) Ford. The candidate and his wife, the former Nancy Hughes of Hazleton, are the parents of three children: James A., Rockville, Md.; Mrs. Tracey Benzie, Fort Washington, Montgomery County, and Amy, a senior at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. Ford graduated from the then-McAdoo then-McAdoo then-McAdoo High School in 1952, and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in sociology from King's College in 1961. Between high school and college, he was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953 to 1956, attaining the rank of sergeant and serving in the Korean War. While attending college, he worked as physical director at the old Hazleton YMCA on West Broad Street. After graduating, he continued to hold that job, along with a social caseworker position at the former Luzerne County Industrial School for Boys at Kis-Lyn. Kis-Lyn. Kis-Lyn. In 1962, Ford was sworn in r n A ; K James as a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department. As a "T-man," "T-man," "T-man," he attended numerous training facilities, including the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. During his 22 years with the Treasury Department, Ford was assigned to a number of posts of duty: as agent in Charleston, S.C., Newark, N.J., and New Brunswick, N.J., and as resident agent-in-charge agent-in-charge agent-in-charge agent-in-charge agent-in-charge in Scranton. He also was assigned to an arson-terrorist arson-terrorist arson-terrorist squad in Washington, D.C., where he trained new treasury agents. In addition to his regular duties, he frequently was called upon to supplement U.S. Secret Service personnel in protecting dignitaries. He has guarded, among others, President and Mrs. Reagan, the Jimmy Carters, the Gerald Fords, vice-presidents vice-presidents vice-presidents Nelson Rockefeller and Walter Mondale, Pope John Paul n. Queen Elizabeth and King Juan Carlos of Spain. In 1985, after retiring from the Treasury Department, Ford returned to the Hazleton area. From his home in Drums, he has worked as a security consultant for American Security Security Services, Middleburg, Va., an affiliate of Lloyds of London. Ford believes that economic economic development continues to be of vital importance to the 116th District. "As a legislator, I would seek out potential employers and attempt to induce them to locate in our area because of the good work force, the quality of life, and the beautiful area we live in," the GOP aspirant stated. Specifically, he plans to look for high-technology high-technology high-technology industries that would give the area's young people reason to remain remain here. To improve the economic climate, Ford says he will push for construction of the long-delayed long-delayed long-delayed southwest segment of the Greater Hazleton Hazleton Beltway and will search for state and federal funds to improve Hazleton Municipal Airport. Ford, a former school director in Madison Township, N.J., said he also will seek increased funding for the area's schools. "We have excellent teachers and capable administrators. administrators. If we give them the tools, they'll do the job. "With quality education," Ford asserted, "you attract quality industry. With quality industry you create jobs, with jobs you broaden your tax base, and with a broader tax base you relieve the financial burden of taxes on our senior citizens and all our citizens. " Turning to the environment. environment. Ford said he "will do everything in my power to preserve it for future generations." generations." The Butler Township Republican Republican said he fully supports supports Pennsylvania's new mandatory recycling act, noting that he and his wife have been recycling their household trash for 3 years. The practice has cut the volume of their disposable waste by 50 to 70 percent, he said. The state's new PENN-VEST PENN-VEST PENN-VEST program also finds favor with Ford because, he said, "local communities in the 116th District need financial financial help to improve their water and sewage systems. y "Skip" Ford Some communities are so small that without state aid modernization is not possible. possible. "Once elected, I will fight to see that our area gets its fair share of PENNVEST dollars." Solid waste disposal is not the only environmental problem problem confronting the district and the commonwealth, however, according to Ford. He mentioned, among others, the disposal of used motor vehicle tires and hazardous and radioactive wastes. The candidate noted that the state's recently enacted "Superfund" law will help clean up toxic wastes in Pennsylvania. However, according to Ford, the state's environmental environmental laws need more "teeth," and the Department of Environmental Resources needs more manpower to enforce the laws and to educate industries in safeguarding safeguarding the environment. "We desperately need additional additional people to adequately enforce the law and improve efficiency," the candidate asserted. Ford emphasized that he opposes the importation of garbage into the Hazleton area, stating: "I totally and wholly believe that we should solve our own problems and let Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey solve their own. We do not want outside garbage!" As a former federal agent and a parent. Ford said he is "very concerned about the drug problem in our area. I've seen how bad it is in our large cities and I don't want it to come here." Ford said that, if elected, he would sponsor tough legislation legislation to penalize those who sell and buy drugs. He favors mandatory sentencing with no plea bargaining, forfeiture and seizure of property, and stiff fines. Ford also is calling for broader wiretap laws and increased manpower for the state police. He noted that 85 state policemen are assigned to drug task forces statewide, a number that has not increased increased in 15 years while "our drug problem has increased increased a thousand percent." In contrast, he said, New York State uses 365 of its troopers in the assault on drug trafficking. Ford said he also backs tax reform and favors increased state aid for economically distressed communities. Additionally, the candidate voices support for House Bill 20, which would provide grants to communities within a 15-mile 15-mile 15-mile radius of nuclear power plants to compensate for tax revenue that often is lost when a nuke plant moves into an area. The grants would come from an existing tax on the plant owners. According to Ford, the proceeds from the tax now go into state and "big city" coffers. A bill to legalize small games of chance also draws support from Ford. Casey recently vetoed a small games bill. On the other hand. Ford stated, he is opposed to casino casino gambling in the Poconos or anywhere else in Pennsylvania Pennsylvania because it "creates all kinds of law enforcement problems . . . ." t " - ; i

Clipped from
  1. Standard-Speaker,
  2. 04 Nov 1988, Fri,
  3. [First Edition],
  4. Page 5

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