by justin strawser

NORTHUMBERLAND - The time has come to stop "playing politics," Ted Yeager said during the social hour at the Sunbury Area Democratic Committee Annual Spring Dinner at the Front Street Station Saturday evening.

Yeager, who lost general election for state representative for the 107th district two years ago, is running again for the chance to face State Rep. Kurt Masser in the November election. Yeager, of Elysburg, will face Chris Pfaff, of Cooper Township, Montour County, in the April 24 primary for the Democratic nomination.

"People in the middle (of the two parties) don't feel like they're being represented. We need balance and collective effort. We need to work toward balance no matter who's side, Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter," he said in relation to his decision to run again.

In 2010, Yeager said he was new to the political process.

"I learned as I went. This time, I have people who know what they're doing," he said.

His goals if he wins the election are to set up a Constitutional Convention, support legislation to limit the terms of legislators and shrink the size of the legislature and to take the issue of redistricting out the politics.

With education slashing in the state budget, "we're cutting our own throats. We're going to burden our children with the lack of education."

Dan Sweeney, 47, of Sunbury, is leading a write-in campaign to win the Democratic nomination for the 108th District, because was unable to gather enough signatures to be on the ballot.

He admits his opponent - the incumbent state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver - is a nice person, but, "She's doing whatever the Republican leadership is saying, and it hasn't been good for the state, and it's been terrible for our district."

In addition to education and disability cuts, he criticized her voting for limiting the power of municipalities against the fracking and natural gas industry.

"A municipality should be able to say they don't want poison on their streets. She voted for that," Sweeney said, referencing the fracking waste industry in Sunbury.

Culver could not be reached for comment.

Other candidates at the dinner included Gene Stilp, Dauphin area, best known as a critic of the Pennsylvania Legislature and as the keeper of the 25-foot pink pig that he says represents waste and greed in government, and attorney Bill Vinsko of Wilkes-Barre, who are facing each other in the Democratic primary for the right to battle U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta in the general election; state Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-95), candidate for auditor general who will run against either Republicans John Maher or Frank Pinto in November; Phil Scollo, for the 10th Congressional District.

The committee, said Yeager, is "doing a great job and working hard to head in the right direction."