Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 11, 2005

Group attempts to have a challenger for every incumbent in next year’s election

12/12/05 — WATERFORD — Wearing blue jeans, a dark flannel shirt over a black turtleneck sweater, Russ Diamond paced the floor of the Libertarian Headquarters here for more than 90 minutes to get his message across: “Vote ’Em All Out.”

The “Em” he was referring to are the state legislators and all government officials.

Diamond, 42-year-old computer business owner from Lebanon County, urged the approximately 50 persons in attendance to get involved now and line up a candidate to run against every incumbent as a protest against last July’s pay raise.

Diamond, who said he is a conservative Republican, ran unsuccessfully for Congress and the state House as a Libertarian last year, according to an Inter-net site. He said he ran at the urging of people in his district.

Touting the success of his organization in making history by defeating Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro for retention in the Nov. 8 election, Diamond said it was because of the Internet. Legislators, he said, “had no clue the role it would play,” citing the thousands of people that can be contacted now that did not have access 10 years ago.

Despite the fact the Legisla-ture has repealed the pay raise, Diamond said, “That is not good enough for me,” saying there is nothing to prevent the Legisla-ture from repeating the measure.

“It’s a matter of trust,” he said, noting if the Legislature did that “in the middle of the night when nobody was looking, what else are they doing?”

Diamond said he got involved after talking with his nephew, who was furious that one state senator received a $34,000 pay raise when his nephew was operating a pizza shop seven days a week and not making $34,000 a year.

At the same time, Diamond said the Legislature is not doing its job. While it talks about property tax reform, Diamond said that is just a symptom of the problem. He said Legislature has not addressed the “broken education, health care, poor economy and poor business climate in Pennsylvania.”

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