SHAMOKIN — Repubilcan Joe Leschinskie Jr. announced his intention Tuesday to run for a seat on city council.
Leschinskie, 34, is a member of the city’s landlord-tenant board and was elected in 2018 as a Republican committeeman for Shamokin’s Fifth Ward.
“Traditionally, people like me aren’t supposed to run for office. I wasn’t born into a wealthy or prominent family. I’m not a lawyer, doctor or large business owner,” he wrote in an announcement. “I’m a tax-paying, hard-working individual who works hard for my family, and I feel now is the time the people of Shamokin have representation that best suits them.”
He said he never intended to get involved in politics, but the city board and committeeman election are “very important to me.”
“I’ve always been outspoken on issues because I believe the people deserve to know what is always going on with their money and in their government,” he wrote. “I believe in a more community-based government on the issues at hand is necessary. More time needs to be allotted for the people who work hard and pay their taxes, to know where their money is going, and not find out after the fact.”
Leschinskie, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2017, said Shamokin has failed to change over the past 25 years.
During that time, “Our representation has failed to work with bigger governing representatives and other local municipalities to bring decent-paying jobs to the area to help raise family incomes and better our community financially. I want us to accomplish that,” he said.
He said the answer has been “tax, tax, tax the working class and retired to death.”
“The taxpayers should not be held responsible for many years of misused funds by government officials causing taxes to rise at no fault of their own,” he said. “People will actually see changes around here, not just in the newspapers talking about it, and brushing it aside down the line. It’s time to be consistent. I want to educate the people on what goes on in our community.”
He cited community safety as an issue.
“Right now, parents are afraid to leave their children unattended in our community to play with friends, and we need to correct that problem,” he said.
Another goal is to end the “buddy system” that favors the friends and family members of elected officials.
He also wants to bring a voice to the “young, poor, working class and retired.”
Leschinskie, who said he does not see the City Council race as one of party affiliation, said he has studied Home Rule and other issues important to the city.
“I’m ready for this,” he said. “I believe it’s time to elect someone who is not a politician to Shamokin City Council.”