PHOTO INDEX: THEN DISTRICT ATTORNEY TOM MACK WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY FROM CAMPAIGN AD AND CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE IN THE 10TH TED YALE. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE).
Former Luzerne County District Attorney Tom Mack died the other day in Florida. Upon hearing of his death, I thought of his son, Mark who was a class mate of mine at St. John the Baptist Grade School in the early 60s. (By the way, the school and convent have been nearly demolished making the devastation nearly complete. Thanks Diocese of Scranton again for putting a knife through the hearts of Catholics in the Greater Pittston Area). I remember the excitement we all felt in the fall of 1963 when Mark’s dad Tom became the District Attorney in an upset victory over the incumbent Stephen Teller. Attorney Mack had the JFK style thing going on with the hair, the thin ties and the suits but underneath that sartorial veneer he had a hearty laugh and was engaging to all of his. Unlike most of our working class fathers who worked as laborers or factory employees Tom Mack wore a suit every time I saw him. But the way he interacted with everyone in our school told me that he never forgot the way he came up and certainly seemed to have that regular guy persona that served him well as a campaigner. As District Attorney, Tom Mack navigated through the legal and political channels of Luzerne County crime. We were a very different place back then with less violence and drugs. Mack would have been a shoo in for a second term because the office was managed pretty smoothly. Plus Attorney Mack’s office was a stone’s throw away from his legal headquarters on the corner of Union and River Streets. But in 1967 Tom Mack decided he wanted to be a Judge. He ran in a very competitive election that saw the re-emergence of the Democratic party as a power. Plus in that race there were complications that blurred the lines. First off Peter Paul Olszewski Senior changed from the Republican party to the Democratic party. It was also the first time that Judges could run on both tickets. Mack ran an aggressive campaign relying heavily on full page newspaper ads, brochures, and various media. In the end the voters picked a Democrat Olszewski Senior and a Republican Robert Hourigan as Judges. Democrat Ralph Johnston and Mack finished out of the money. Judging from the vote totals it appeared the two parties conspired to election one Dem and one Republican because there was an 8,000 vote spread between Hourigan and Johnston and Mack. As a matter of fact Johnson and Mack were within 28 votes of each other. It was clear to Attorney Johnston and District Attorney Mack that the political deal was done between party bosses Doris (for the Dems) and Senator Wood (for the GOP). Mack went on to become a successful attorney in private practice after leaving the DA’s office to his successor Blythe Evans of Plymouth. We send our condolences to his family. Here is his obituary from the Times Leader.
In local legal circles, he was a legend. He was an exceptional trial lawyer. Former District Attorney Thomas Edward Mack Sr., passed away Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. He was devoted to his family, home and church while successfully serving Luzerne County and his country with the greatest of dignity, dedication to public service and justice for all. Thomas Mack Sr. was a dry, sardonic wit, a lover of the judicial system, great food, theatre, tennis, and Jazz Standard songs. He enjoyed getting dressed up in a suit with a bowtie to listen and dance to musicians as they performed. He especially loved to sing songs from Cole Porter, the McNamara's Band, and the great American Songbook with his favorite pianist, Jimmy McCarthy, accompanying him at Pelican Cove in Sarasota, and the Summer House, in Siesta Key. Mr. Mack Sr. had a colorful life indeed. A complete account of his life, or a well-done critical essay on his work, would take up more space than "Goodbye" has available, so instead a pleasurable list of highlights is presented here. Thomas Mack Sr. made a typically dramatic entrance on May 15, 1924, to his parents Catherine and Anthony Mikelonis, and was raised from humble and modest beginnings in Wilkes-Barre. Having a strong work ethic and desire to learn and educate himself, he led a fulfilling and successful life, while supporting his entire family. Mr. Mack attended Coughlin High School. He became one of the youngest second lieutenants to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II as a navigator on a B-17 bomber. Afterwards, Thomas graduated from Mansfield State Teachers College, and then received a Juris Doctorate from Dickinson Law School. Thomas Edward Mack Sr. served as the Luzerne County District Attorney from 1964 through 1967. District Attorney Mack was a very well-respected lawyer within the courtroom, and was admired by both attorneys who practiced with him as well as against him. He was often a sought after and willing speaker for many community events and fundraisers. He was a member of the Luzerne County Bar Association, President of Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America for decades, Former President of the Tatra Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Sarasota Jazz Club. He retired to Sarasota, Fla., to live the rest of his life that he referred to as "paradise." At age 85, his most courageous battle with life ended peacefully with his wife, Anne, and his English Bulldog, "Maxine," by his side. His children traveled often to be with him, and in the end to honor him as a father and friend. Matt Vander Mije, Anne Mack's grandson, also adored Tom and assisted him regularly, especially during the last six months of his life with the kindness and patience of a saint. He is preceded in death by his sisters, Ruth and Genevieve; his brother, Leonard; and daughter, Marlena Mack. Mr. Mack Sr. is survived by his wife, Anne Cullen Mack; three sons, Attorney Mark Mack and his fiancée, Lorie McCarthy; Thomas Mack Jr., Dean Mack and his fiancée, Kelly Girman; daughter, Dr. Heather Mack and her husband, Dr. John McConnell; six grandchildren, Bianca and Simone Kornfeld, Olivia Anderson, Bella and Madaline Mack, Elia Volpe, brother, Charles Mack of New Orleans, La.; as well as his former wife, Patricia Pipa. His extended family in Sarasota, the Ericksons, Sterlings, Jacksons, and Stonges, will miss his Thanksgiving toasts, magic tricks and fun songs. A celebration of Attorney Thomas Mack's life will be held in Sarasota in private. A spiritual tribute will be at The Dream Ranch, Clayton, Idaho, in the spring. Burial arrangements will be in The National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida. Condolences may be mailed to Mack Law Offices, 281 Pierce St., Kingston, PA 18704.
TED YALE FOR CONGRESS
Ted Yale is running hard for Congress and here’s some news about his upcoming event in the 10th Congressional District.
"Campaign Kickoff Meet & Greet" on Wednesday, January 27
Event: Campaign Kickoff Meet & Greet
Start Time: Wednesday, January 27 at 5:00pm
End Time: Wednesday, January 27 at 6:15pm
Where: The Tom Quick Inn
KANJORSKI ON CNBC
On Monday, January 25, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, will appear on CNBC’s Squawk Box for one hour to co-host the program. Chairman Kanjorski will discuss a variety of issues including his efforts to reform Wall Street and better protect every American, including by preventing companies that are “too big to fail” from existing.
DETAILS: Monday, January 25 from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
On Thursday, President Obama announced his proposal to limit the size and scope of financial institutions and better protect taxpayers by preventing companies from becoming “too big to fail.” The President’s proposal is similar to the Kanjorski amendment that was included in H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which the House passed on December 11. The Kanjorski amendment would empower federal regulators to rein in and dismantle financial firms that are so large, inter-connected or risky that their collapse would put at risk the entire American economic system, even if those firms currently appear to be well capitalized and healthy. Therefore, American taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for bailouts, as financial companies would not be able to become “too big to fail.”
O’BRIEN ON THE MOVE
Corey O’Brien has reacted to the recent political event in Massachusetts with a point by point reaction as to why his insurgent campaign will work better in the fall of 2010. Take a look at this:
We have spent far too long catering to Wall Street and propping up vulnerable incumbents in safe Democratic districts. Now, the same people who got us into this Wall Street mess are trying to position themselves as the solution to the problem. The American people are not buying it.The Democratic Party is at risk of losing a significant number of seats unless we nominate fresh faces. The American people are going to bring sweeping change to Congress in 2010. As Democrats, we can be a part of that sweeping change or we can lose. PA-11 is a Perfect Example:1. PA-11 should be, by all accounts, a relatively safe Democratic seat - 56% Democratic and 32% Republican.2. Paul Kanjorski (D) beat Lou Barletta (R) by 13% in 2002.3. In 2008, while then-Senator Obama beat McCain by 15% in district, Kanjorski only beat Barletta by 3%.4. Kanjorski does not have the coattails of President Obama in 2010. 5. Can Kanjorski win without the Obama coattails after a razor-thin victory in 2008?6. Democratic incumbents are not more popular than they were 2 years ago.7. Nominating a fresh face maximizes our chance for victory in 2010.It’s time for our party to wake up, shake off Massachusetts and rebuild with new leaders who have strong records that will appeal to voters in 2010. Please visit
for more information on my campaign.