During his 14 terms in office, it sometimes seemed like former state Rep. Ed Staback would always represent the Mid Valley in Harrisburg. But last year he finally heard the siren song of retirement, and a vacancy was created.
It was filled, a few months ago, by Frank Farina. While he grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, some residents may not have had the chance to meet him yet. Here's your chance.
"Mr. Staback is and always will be a very respected leader of our area and state," he said in a recent interview. "While navigating my way through the capitol and meeting new people, I've found that it is easiest to introduce myself as, 'I replaced former Representative Ed Staback.' He represented us in Harrisburg with dignity and grace. Whenever given the choice between working on public policy behind the scenes or in the open, he always pushed for open discussion. I am honored to be taking his place."
A graduate of Valley View High School, Farina earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Penn State.
"This is the best place in the world to raise a family," he said. "The people are hardworking, friendly, loyal and always there in time of need. I've chosen to raise my family here. I've also pledged to do everything in my power to making this an even better place to raise our families. I will not accept my son or daughter coming to me in 20 years and stating they have to move elsewhere because there is no opportunity here for them."
Farina is a member of Christ the King Parish, the Family of St. Anthony and the St. Ubaldo Society, and community groups including Archbald/Eynon Lions Club, and the Lone Pine Hunting Club. He's also a member of the National Rifle Association and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Before running for office, he ran a local business, Farina landscaping.
Farina and his wife, Karla, have three kids: Antonio, Rocco and Alexa.
Among the legislation he plans to introduce is "a bill which should help veterans who drove heavy equipment during their military service easily earn their CDL driver's license.
"This is a common-sense issue," he said. "If they were trained to drive heavy equipment for the military, their qualifications should already be established, and my bill would recognize the experience and skills they learned in their service."
In his first few of months in office, while has been diving in to the work of legislation, he's also devoting a lot of time to constituent service (see list below).
"Constituent service means everything," he said. "I have said it thousands of times and will continue to say: the battles we face will be won here, on our home turf, not in Harrisburg. The job of my staff and myself is to bring the people together and keep them together. Whatever we can do to make their lives easier and better, we will do. "
At Farina's office, 423 Main St., Eynon:
- Medicare counselors will be available on the first and third Monday of each month, 2-4 p.m. Trained staff and volunteers from APPRISE, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will be on hand to answer questions regarding Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap and long-term care insurance as well as preventive medicine and assisting with Medicare appeals paperwork. Walk-ins are welcome, but for staffing needs and to reduce waiting, call an appointment.
- Constituents will be able to receive tax filing help Mondays, March 18 and April 1 and 15, 5-7 p.m. Volunteers will be on hand to offer advice, instructions and help in completing and filing basic income tax forms. While walk-ins are welcome, it's best to call for an appointment.
- A "Baby Pantry Wish List" drive is under way. Items needed include: diapers (sizes 1, 4, 5 and 6), bottles, baby wipes, baby shampoo, lotion, bibs and receiving blankets. Items will be distributed to pantries that benefit children in need.
- Farina will host an "employ our veterans" job fair Thursday, May 23, 6-9 p.m. at Fiorelli's Catering, 1501 Main St., Peckville. This event is still in its planning phase and Farina is actively recruiting potential employers to be represented during the job fair. Parties interested in reserving a booth should email email@example.com with the subject line "Farina Veterans Job Fair" or call. Veterans who plan to attend should call to register.
The office phone number is 876-1111.