Thomas M. Leighton, Mayor of the City of Wilkes-Barre, has announced his candidacy for state senator in the 14th District of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The district encompasses Carbon County townships of Banks, Kidder, Lausanne, Lehigh, Mahoning and Packer and the boroughs of Beaver Meadows, East Side, Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Lehighton, Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Weatherly and Weissport, as well as parts of Luzerne County and Pocono and Tobyhanna townships in Monroe County.
In his recent public announcement, Mayor Leighton touted his lifetime of public service to the community and presented his record of achievement for the voters' consideration. "It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the city these past 18 years, especially the last six years as mayor. With the trust you placed in me, we overcame many challenges together and have restored this great city to its rightful place as a city we can be proud to call home," Leighton said.
The campaign announcement was held at Rodano's restaurant in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Leighton pointed to the venue as a prime example of the revitalization of the city that has occurred under his administration. "We dreamt of a future where families felt safe in their neighborhoods and downtown …where new businesses chose to start up downtown creating new jobs and economic opportunity, where residents did not desert the downtown once night fell, and where our best and brightest talent did not leave to escape the city forever. We believed together and today the dream is a reality," he said.
Mayor Leighton promised to use all of his legislative and executive experience to aid the entire 14th District and to reach across the aisle to deliver results for his constituents. "At a time when taxpayers are frustrated by government gridlock and paralysis, I have proven that I can get things done. I have delivered results in Wilkes-Barre," he said. Regardless of party, Leighton is running to represent all of the people of the 14th District.
During his announcement speech, Mayor Leighton outlined policy issues which will be priorities of his campaign and his senate term. He said he will work to enact property tax relief, make healthcare affordable for all citizens, but especially children, and to improve schools for every student. His primary concern will be jobs, saying that if elected he would "help create jobs for working-class families, well-paying and sustainable jobs in manufacturing, construction, green energy and high tech fields."
Leighton acknowledged the lifetime of service of Sen. Raphael Musto and said he hopes to live up to the precedent he established in the state senate. "The changing of the guard is inevitable and now the time comes for new leadership to pick up the standard and carry the will of the people to Harrisburg. I humbly ask you to send me on that journey…and together our community and our district will continue to be a shining example of what can be achieved."
Leighton has served as the mayor of Wilkes-Barre since 2004 and prior to his election he served on the Wilkes-Barre City Council for 12 years.
He graduated from King's College in 1982 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration.
He and his wife Patty have three children, Kelly Lynn, Courtney and Tom Jr.