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Luzerne County Judicial candidates seeking labor support


March 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Luzerne County Judicial candidates seeking labor support


LUZERNE COUNTY, March 5th- As of presstime fifteen individuals have announced they are candidates for the race for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas and the newspaper was contacted by some indicating they would like the support of the labor community.

Because of the number of the candidates that have contacted the newspaper, it is necessary their discussions with us be published over the next several editions.

The candidates are wanting to win one of the three open seats on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. The primary election will be held May 19th with all of the candidates expected to cross-file on both party tickets. The general election is November 3rd, 2009.

Two of the candidates being discussed today are union members, both represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre.

According to Attorney Joe Sklarosky, Jr., a trial lawyer for the past fifteen years, he began practicing law in 1994 and works as a Luzerne County assistant public defender. IBT Local 401 has represented the public defenders office of Luzerne County since 2003.

Mr. Sklarosky’s father is a member of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Union Local 130. His grandfather was a lontime member of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen (BAC) International Union Local 30 with both of the grandfathers members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Union.

His wife, Megan Kennedy Sklarosky, great-grandfather, Thomas Kennedy, was president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), succeeding John L. Lewis in 1960, serving as president until 1963.

The Sklarosky’s live in Mountaintop with their three children.

Meanwhile, Richard Hughes graduated Law School in 1986 and joined his father in a law practice that his father established in 1946, immediately following service in War World II. They practice law together until his father died in 1991.

Mr. Hughes is also a assistant public defender of Luzerne County, appointed by the Honorable Correale Stevens in 1988. He left the office five years later and after practicing law for 21 years, returned to the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office in January 2008.
Mr. Hughes lives in Mountaintop with his wife Ruth and his three children.

“For several years I was the part-time staff attorney for the Hazleton office of legal services, a non profit organization that provides legal counsel free for the poor. This position gave me wonderful opportunity to fight for people’s rights in areas of the law in which few get to practice,” said Mr. Hughes.

According to Pat Connors, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Office of Local 401, the union endorses the candidacy of his members and believes they all possess the necessary experience, education and integrity the job demands. “Teamsters Local 401 is proud to endorse these union members and ask everyone in the labor community to support them in their quest to bring respect and dignity to the office of Judge and to the County,” Mr. Connors told the newspaper.

Mr. Connors stated Local 401 organized the assistant public defender office in 2003 and the employees are currently working under the terms and conditions of the first contract agreement. The contract is a five-year agreement.

Tina Polachek Gartley is requesting the support of the labor community and has been practicing law since 1991. The central focus of her career is family law and protecting the rights of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

In 1996, Mrs. Gartley became the first Stop Violence Against Women (S.T.O.P.) grant prosecutor in the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. As a S.T.O.P. grant prosecutor, she handled all aspects of the criminal prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence crimes from inital investigation through the trial, sentencing and the Megan’s Law hearings that determined whether the defendant would be listed as a sexually violent predator.

Mrs. Gartley is married to Scott Gartley and is the mother of three sons residing in Plains Township.

Kevin McHugh, Business Manager of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 489 in Yatesville, told the newspaper his union endorsed Attorney Thomas Marsilio for Luzerne County Judge.

Mr. Marsilio told the newspaper he is honored to be endorsed by the union and is hopeful union members would support his candidacy.

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