“Cartwright’s record simply is that he has taken care of important business for Northeast Pennsylvania. Voters in the 8th Congressional District would serve their own best interests by ensuring that he continues to do so.”
Scranton, Pa. — Today Congressman Matt Cartwright received endorsements from the area’s key news outlets: The Times-Tribune (Scranton), the Citizen’s Voice (Wilkes-Barre) and the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton).
Congressman Cartwright was recognized for his bipartisan credentials, the federal funding he has secured for the district and his efforts to bring key infrastructure projects to NEPA.
Editorial Board, 11/1/21
Sometimes a single moment in a long and volatile political campaign can define the fundamental difference between the candidates.
So it was Oct. 24 in the 8th Congressional District debate between five-term incumbent Democrat Matt Cartwright of Moosic and Republican challenger Jim Bognet of Hazle Twp. It’s a rematch of the 2020 race that Cartwright won by 3.5 percentage points, but in a redrawn district.
Cartwright pointed out during the debate that a Bognet ad had spliced together widely divergent parts of a Cartwright public appearance, making it seem that the congressman had said something regarding police and public safety that he clearly had not said.
Bognet’s response: “Let me tell you what I did. I took the audio from his speech to the Black Scranton Project, a radical pro-crime group, and I put it on TV. Can you imagine talking to a group like that?”
It’s easy to imagine a congressman talking to a “group like that” because the Black Scranton Project is a not a “radical pro-crime group” but a civic organization dedicated to highlighting the contributions of Black residents to the history, culture and vitality of Scranton.
Bognet’s gratuitously racist comment was red meat to elements of his far-right base. But it raised the question of whether he intends to represent all residents of the increasingly diverse 8th District if he is elected, or whether he would exclude from his advocacy the concerns of “a group like that.”
There is no such question with Cartwright, whose penchant for reaching across the aisle is such that it sometimes has grated on the patience of many members of his own Democratic base.
Record well serves NEPAIn terms of specific performance, there is no sound reason to replace Cartwright with Bognet, a former Trump administration bureaucrat and lobbyist, because Cartwright has delivered for the region, often in ways that directly contradict Bognet’s claims.
Like many Republican candidates, Bognet has pressed fear of crime, as in his cheap shot at the Black Scranton Project. But it’s a difficult hook on which to hang Cartwright, who has secured millions of dollars in federal police funding for training, equipment and hiring more officers.
Cartwright also is chairman of one of the 12 subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee, a powerful position that the region would be foolish to forfeit. Even if Republicans were to take the House majority, Cartwright’s long-standing record of bipartisanship as a member of the majority should help to ensure his continued influence.
He also has displayed vision. Cartwright took ownership of the once-faltering effort to restore passenger rail service to New York City — perhaps the region’s most important economic development project — at a time when it was faltering and other politicians ran away from it. Now — due partly to his and other advocacy, President Joe Biden’s affinity and support for passenger rail, a major infrastructure program on which Biden and congressional Democrats, including Cartwright, delivered — it seems more likely than not to happen.
One of Bognet’s principal charges against Cartwright is that he consistently has voted with President Joe Biden and the GOP’s would-be Cruella de Vil of the current cycle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Well, that is almost inevitable, since House Republicans rarely have voted for anything during the current Democratic majority. But the issue is what Cartwright has voted for, not simply its sponsorship. The list includes the major infrastructure bill that will help develop Northeast Pennsylvania, pandemic relief that kept many businesses and millions of people afloat during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded health care access, reformed drug pricing and more.
Cartwright’s record simply is that he has taken care of important business for Northeast Pennsylvania. Voters in the 8th Congressional District would serve their own best interests by ensuring that he continues to do so.