|Lamont McClure at his announcement, flanked by|
Controller Steve Barron
Bethlehem Attorney Lamont McClure, a former NorCo Council member for 10 years, declared his candidacy for Northampton County Executive this afternoon. He announced from the people's building, the Northampton County Courthouse, accompanied by his wife Sandra and a bevy of supporters that included Controller Steve Barron, Council member Ken Kraft, Easton City Council member Pete Melan, Democratic activist Joanne Messenlehner, and NorCo Dem Chair Matt Munsey. DA John Morganelli, a friend of McClure's, was also present.
Making clear that he's only ever been interested in county government, he said that in his final two years on Council, "I stood as a bulwark against the corruption, the cronyism and the callousness of the Brown administration." He said he regretted leaving government at that time. What he failed to say is that his father, with whom he was very close, had unexpectedly passed away.
But he's back and as is his style, he pulled no punches in a withering critique of the John Brown administration.
"We're talking about how it used public resources to attempt to advance its political agenda," he said, an obvious reference to Brown's use of public funds to hire Sahl Communications to act as a propaganda machine for him.
|McCluremakes a point, as Joanne Messenlehner,|
Ken Kraft and wife Sandra listen.
"When we're talking about the callousness of the Brown administration, we're talking about the Brown administration and Council raising your taxes 10% while they were charging the taxpayer for meals and mileage reimbursements that they were not entitled to. That's what they thought of you. That's what they thought of the public. Ten percent tax increases for you, lunch and their mileage reimbursements to drive to work, not even between jobs." This is a reference to an attempt by Brown and Cathy Allen to force taxpayers to pay $1,500 for their meals and mileage, which was flagged by Controller Steve Barron.
|Some of McClure's supporters|
NorCo officials ignored multiple media requests for information, even after WFMZ-TV69 and NBC10 reported on the NorCo connection in late December. There was no attempt to reassure the public or defend employees in Children and Youth.
"The county administration has been very slow to explain how this alleged person involved in this horrible death was in charge of adoptions in this county. This Executive has yet to fully explain and put the people of Northampton County at ease with respect to what her role was, what she did, what cases she handled, and the people of Northampton County are entitled to an answer."
After pointing to what he called corruption, cronyism and callousness, McClure went on to say how he'd do things differently.
"We must protect our folks, we must preserve, and we must prosper."
Protection. - "Fundamentally, we're talking about our senior citizens," said McClure. He noted that seniors on fixed incomes must still pay property taxes as a result of the uniformity clause in the state constitution. Until that changes, McClure said that no one's property taxes will go up in the next four years. He also pledged that Gracedale would remain county-owned, and that the administration would be returned to the county. He will also create a task force to tackle the heroin and opioid crisis "and all the unnecessary deaths" this has caused.
Preservation. - McClure claimed that the Brown administration has "abandoned" the farmland preservation program. "Let me be clear, they have abandoned it," he said. "We will preserve farmland once again, and at the rate at which it has been previously preserved. He stressed that he also supports preservation of environmentally sensitive lands and other open space.
Prosper. - "No one knows what is going on in the Northampton County Office of Community and Economic Development," he said. "We don't see any jobs being created that are family sustaining."
He noted that the population is growing, but so is the average age. The result is a brain and labor drain.
"We must encourage our young people to stay home."
He will focus on high tech jobs and insist that 80% of all work be done by local labor.
This news conference was attended by all local media outlets except the Express Times. A reporter strolled by, but the announcement apparently interfered with lunch.