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Trio of Republicans battle for Tamaqua mayor

Standard-Speaker - 5/11/2017

May 11--Three people are seeking the Republican nomination for mayor of Tamaqua.

There are no Democratic candidates for the seat currently held by Mayor Christian Morrison, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.

Candidates include Nathan Gerace, Christine Rottet Hartung and William Price Sr. All are longtime Tamaqua residents.

"I decided that I'm planning on retiring in January so it would be the perfect thing to try. I've never been involved in politics before," Price said.

A U.S. Navy veteran and driver for Pitt Ohio Express in Humboldt Industrial Park, Price grew up in Tamaqua.

"This town has offered me such great opportunities throughout my whole life as well as opportunities for my children," he said. "Why not do something for the town?"

If elected, Price said he'd like to focus on "the drug problems facing our youth."

"I'd like to get more awareness about it, and have funding brought into the town" to help combat the problem, he said.

He'd also like to support the police department.

"The other goal would be taking the handcuffs off of the police and letting them do their jobs," Price said.

Price, who is married to the former Denise Lewis, has two children and five grandchildren. He is a volunteer for the Tamaqua Ambulance and Citizens Fire Company of Tamaqua.

Gerace said if he's elected, he would bring a fresh perspective that will help the town thrive.

"Tamaqua is a beautiful town with good people that need an energetic mayor with time to dedicate to their community. I would like to be an ambassador between the existing organizations serving our community in extremely positive ways," he said.

He wants to listen to people's opinions and ensure that young people who love the borough but feel they can't come back after trade school or college have the opportunity to come back to a safe and thriving town.

"If elected, I will work hard to get our young adults involved with the community because they are Tamaqua's future. I will work with civic organizations to help get the town cleaned up. It does not cost money. It just takes time and a love for your community," Gerace said.

He'd also focus on helping senior citizens and supporting law enforcement as they combat the area's opioid problems.

"Recently I've visited a diverse group of citizens at meetings of local organizations. One thing that I learned from them all is that they are all kind-hearted, loving people that want nothing more than to see their town be successful," Gerace said. "I made it a point to reach out to the senior citizen community because they are wise and caring about the community.

"Overall, there is one overriding theme from everyone I met. People want a safe, thriving community in which to raise a family or enjoy their golden years."

He is a son of Philip and Lucy (Siluk) Gerace.

Hartung said if elected she will "continue to fight the war on drugs, promote police and citizens protection, and encourage local employment opportunities."

She'd also like to find a place for the Tamaqua Senior Citizens group to call home.

"I will help them find a safe place, handicapped accessible, big enough for them for the meetings," she said. "Many of our seniors live alone and need this."

The seniors had met in the borough's Community Center until it was sold a few years back. They're currently without a permanent meeting space.

Hartung said she will also promote the "Love thy neighbor, help the neighbor attitudes."

She is a graduate of Tamaqua Area High School and Reading Hospital School of Nursing. She has served on the Tamaqua Zoning Board has volunteered for a number of area youth and civic organizations.

She is a member of the Pennsylvania Nurses Association and won the Nursing Excellence Award in the accountability category in 2014.

Married to her husband, Ernie, she has two sons and a stepson.

Morrison has been mayor since 2006.

In addition, three four-year seats will be open on borough council. Newcomer James E. Hull is the only Democratic candidate and is guaranteed to proceed to the November election.

Incumbents Kerry Lasky and David E. Mace are on the Republican ballot with Michael E. Morgans and Ritchie A. Linkhorst.

Contact the writer: jwhalen@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3592

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(c)2017 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.)

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