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WILKES-BARRE, PA — Tom Marino (R-10 PA) declared on December 1 that he is officially running for re-election.
“I am running for re-election to continue to fight for the people of the 10th Congressional District. I look forward to having serious discussions on the issues facing our nation and will remain focused on working closely with President Trump to repeal and replace Obamacare and fix our broken immigration system by building a wall. Out of respect for the upcoming holiday season, I will not be engaging in any campaign discussion or activity until the first of the year,” Marino said in a statement.
Marino has a primary opponent in 2018. Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko announced he will challenge Marino in 2018’s Republican primary. McLinko cites the opioid crisis and Marino’s role in the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (EPAEDE) as a main reason he is entering the race.
In October, The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” jointly reported that “Tom Marino is a four-term Republican member of the House… whose district has been hard-hit by the opioid crisis. Yet Marino also has been a friend on Capitol Hill of the giant drug companies that distribute the pain pills that have wreaked so much devastation around the nation.”
Marino was the chief advocate, along with Sen. Orrin Hatch in the U.S. Senate, of the EPAEDE, reportedly written by drug industry lobbyists, which requires the government to meet a higher bar before taking certain enforcement actions. The bill became law in 2016.
Having been nominated to be Donald Trump’s drug czar, Marino was forced to withdraw because of the subsequent controversy.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a repeal bill in October. It was referred to the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, where no action has taken place.
New statistics report that 42,200 U.S. overdose deaths in 2016; two-thirds of the total were linked to opioid abuse. On December 21, Reuters reported, “The opioid crisis is rippling through the U.S. healthcare system, causing a spike in rates of hepatitis C related to increased opioid injections and reducing overall life expectancy among Americans, which has fallen for the second year in a row, U.S. health officials said.”