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Candidate attacks Shuster's record

Barr addresses Franklin County Democrats at 'Tom DeLay Retirement Party'

Barr addresses Franklin County Democrats at 'Tom DeLay Retirement Party'

June 07, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Tony Barr's first foray into elective politics is a big one.

The Blair County special education teacher seeks to unseat Ninth District U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster in November.

"We were angry, we were appalled ... that there was no one to hold Bill Shuster accountable for the state of the nation and the votes he's taken," Barr, 37, said before addressing a group of about 30 people Tuesday evening in the Franklin County Democratic Committee Headquarters.

The Claysburg, Pa., man, who teaches in the Everett School District in Bedford County, said he collected at least 1,775 write-in votes in the May 16 primary, enough to become the Democratic nominee. It was a campaign that started when he decided to take the plunge May 1 at the behest of a Fulton County couple, Jack and Kathie Hendricks, Barr said.

"There's a real hunger throughout the district for someone to vote for the interests of the people of Central Pennsylvania," he said.

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At what was billed as a "Tom DeLay Retirement Party," marking the resignation of the former U.S. House Majority Leader that takes effect later this week, Barr told those attending that "Mr. DeLay and his cohorts ... were known to pass out checks on the floor of Congress from their PACs (political action committees)."

"Anywhere in America, this process would be called bribery and be illegal," Barr said.

Barr said Shuster "consistently" has voted in favor of the interests of multinational corporations over the interests of district residents. The result has been $3 per gallon gas, an "incredibly confusing" and expensive prescription drug plan, "tax cuts for millionaires" and a 40 percent increase in the national debt, he said.

"We need to put Bill Shuster out of a job," Barr said.

Marlin Wagner of Chambersburg said he is angry with Shuster for the congressman's votes to repeal the estate tax, which Wagner said is only paid by the very rich.

"I have a dog in this fight and I think we should have people challenging Bill Shuster," Wagner said.

While Barr collected enough votes for the Democratic nomination, Shuster had more than 54,000 in his unopposed run for the Republican nomination, according to Pennsylvania Department of State election results. In Franklin County, where Republicans have a 2-to-1 edge over Democrats, Shuster had more than 8,000 votes, according to county election figures.

Barr will be in Chambersburg again Wednesday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. to announce the opening of his campaign. The event will be at the Franklin County Courthouse plaza on Memorial Square.

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