After a campaign that Carbon County has probably not seen in years, possibly decades, all is set for the General Election of 2010, which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in each of the county's 51 precincts.
At stake are two key seats that will determine who will represent Carbon County in Harrisburg one in the state House and the other in the Senate.
The pending retirements of Speaker of the House Keith R. McCall of Summit Hill and Sen. Raphael Musto, both whom served in their respective positions for the past 28 years, triggered a spirited campaign among Democrats and Republicans, and one that voters have not seen for quite some time.
For the House seat, the Democratic nominee is Justin Yaich of Jim Thorpe, while carrying the Republican banner is Doyle Heffley of Lower Towamensing Township. The winner of that race tomorrow will assume the 122nd Legislative District seat that was previously owned by the McCall family, including 28 years of Keith's tenure and eight by his late father, Thomas J.
The term is for two years.
Sen. Musto has represented parts of Carbon County as part of the 14th senatorial District. With his retirement comes a race between Democrat John Yudichak of Nanticoke and Republican Stephen Urban of Wilkes-Barre. The winner will hold the seat for a four-year term.
Yaich, 30, is a current Jim Thorpe Borough Council member, having held the presidency until this year when he turned the reins over to President John McGuire and assumed the vice presidency.
In his professional career, he serves as director of planning for Washington Township, Lehigh County, where he works with the Municipalities Planning Codes.
A son of Edward D. and Regina (Arthur) Yaich of Jim Thorpe, he is the father of a daughter Taylor, 9.
Yaich holds a bachelor's degree in marketing and is currently working on a master's degree in public administration.
He is a member of the Jim Thorpe Lions Club and the Blue Lodge No. 440, F. & A.M.
Heffley, 40, is running for the seat for a second time, having previously been defeated for the seat by McCall.
He is currently a consultant in the trucking industry.
He and his wife, Kellie, have two daughters, Elizabeth and Angela. Heffley is a son of Larry and Roberta Heffley of Lehighton.
A 1989 graduate of Lehighton High School, he received an associate degree in architectural drafting and design from Lincoln Technical Institute, Allentown.
Heffley serves on the Lower Towamensing Planning Commission and is a member of the Sons of American Legion Post 314, Lehighton, and the Indian Mt. Rod and Gun Club.
Yudichak, 40, is a current member of the House of Representatives, where he has served for the past 12 years.
In addition, he is active in numerous civic organizations, including The Luzerne Foundation, the advisory board of Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Newport Township Lions Club, Plymouth Township Recreation Association, and Sons of the American Legion, Larksville Post. Rep. Yudichak is the founder of the Yudichak Family Lighthouse Fund of the Luzerne Foundation, a local charitable fund benefiting local public libraries and youth programs. The fund has distributed nearly $100,000 to programs benefiting the residents of Luzerne County. He is a graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School and Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in American Studies. He resides in Plymouth Township with his wife, attorney Heather Yudichak, and their daughters, Sarah, Anna and Evelyn.
Urban, 58, is the current minority commissioner in Luzerne County.
He began his government service in 1970, after enlisting in the Army, and retired in 1996 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree from King's College, Wilkes-Barre, a master of public administration degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, Calif., and a master of arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
In addition to his commissioner post, Urban is a director and vice chairman of the Luzerne County Conservation District, chairman of the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority, and the Flood Mitigation Advisory Board; and a member of the Luzerne County Correctional Facility Board and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Joint Board of Control.
Urban and his wife Linda are the parents of five children and four grandchildren.
The House seat includes all of Carbon County, whereas the 14th senatorial District includes 35 municipalities in Luzerne County, Pocono and Tobyhanna townships in Monroe County and 15 of the 23 municipalities in Carbon County, including Banks, Kidder, Lausanne, Lehigh, Mahoning and Packer townships and Beaver Meadows, East Side, Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Lehighton, Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Weatherly and Weissport boroughs.
Both the House and Senate seats carry a base salary of $78,314 per year.