After attending both Northampton Community College and Penn State University, Ryak received his BA (Criminal Justice) from Central Washington University in 1995 and his J.D. from Hamline University School of Law in Minnesota in 1999.
Rybak notes that his family's roots in South Bethlehem go back 100 years. His father Bill grew up in Northampton Heights and practiced law there for 50 years. He was also a State Representative for 16 years. That was back when the office was only part-time.
Rybak's father and my dad were great friends. I have no idea why. My Dad was mercilessly cruel to Bill. I'll share one story here.
Bill Rybak was missing an arm and a leg. I'm not sure why, but the story is that when he was a young boy, he was hit by a train. Instead of having sympathy for this handicap, my Dad would instead torment Bill.
One chilly day, Bill stopped the house to see my Dad. A fire was roaring in the living room, and Bill was invited to warm up by the crackling flames. For some strange reason, my father was uncharacteristically solicitous. I think he got Bill some hot tea or coffee (or perhaps something a bit stronger) and acted as though whatever Bill was saying was coming from a font of wisdom.
Bill relaxed and began holding forth more and more while my father feigned deep interest.
What Bill failed to realize until it was too late is that my father had been pushing his crutch closer and closer to the flames until it caught on fire.
The crutch was pretty much useless but Bill pulled it out and left the house in disgust, as smoke wafted up and down his burning buttress.
To make up for my father's sins, I have to support Tony.
This will be Tony's fourth try at elected office. He's lost in two Bethlehem Mayoral races and one state house race. You could say he's due.
He has a sense of humor. He was unable to supply me a headshot because he needs to get a haircut. But a few years ago, he allowed me to photograph his driver's license. He told me pics like that are surefire ways to avoid speeding tickets. But they might get you committed.
His unusual style has at times bothered some judges. That's actually a good thing. He claims to be a Democrat, but I'm pretty certain he was an avid Trump fan back in 2016.
Though he's a lawyer, I happen to think Tony has a better understanding than most of what it's like to be on the short end of the stick. He's a good choice for South Bethlehem.