The Schuylkill County Republican Party's Executive Committee endorsed a full slate of candidates for the Primary Election on May 18 including state Sen. David Argall for the 17th District's Congressional seat, and state Rep. Jerry Knowles for re-election to the 124th Schuylkill Legislative District, in action taken at a meeting held Tuesday evening at the Humane Fire Company hall in Pottsville.

There were contests for the congressional endorsement and for the legislative seat in the 125th Schuylkill. The candidates were: Argall, Schuylkill County; Col. Frank Ryan, Lebanon County, a Marine Corp veteran; Allen Griffith, Myerstown; and Josh First, Dauphin County. Argall, the county GOP's favorite son, won out. The unsuccessful candidates all said they would back the Republican candidate who won the primary election.

Two candidates sought the endorsement for the legislative seat in the 125th District, which covers from Pottsville to the west end of the county and is now held by a Democrat. The party endorsed Michael Tobash, who operates an insurance agency in Schuylkill County and has an office in Tamaqua. He was chosen over Bob Lloyd, of Washington Township

The Republicans also endorsed a candidate for the 123rd Schuylkill Legislative seat, which is also currently held by a Democrat. Endorsed was Ettore G. DiCasimirro, of New Boston, Mahanoy Township, a newcomer to politics. He is associated with his father in the family business, the Skytop Coal and Oil Company, and currently delivers coal and oil and works as a laborer, while at the same time is completing his B.A. at Penn State University. He holds an associate degree from LCCC.

The committee endorsed the incumbent Schuylkill County representatives on the party's state committee including attorney Maria Casey, Minersville; Mary Beth Dougherty, Girardville; George Moyer, Norwegian Township; and Scott Thomas, Pottsville. All four will be on the ballot in the Primary Election, seeking re-election to the state committee for a four-year term.

Also endorsed were candidates running for state offices: Pat Toomey, Lehigh County, for U.S. Senate; current Attorney General Tom Corbett, Allegheny County, for governor; and Bucks County Commissioner James Cauley, for lieutenant governor.

Party Chairman Bob Ames conducted the meeting and set the rules for the agenda, allowing each candidate a brief time to address the committee members. The room was cleared of candidates and representatives from the media for the committee to cast a ballot.

Jeff Griffith, speaking for his dad, Allen Griffith, said his father stood for lower taxes, reduced regulations on small business, to stop outrageous spending, borrowing and printing money.

Ryan spoke of his outstanding service record in the U.S. Marines. He stated he was against corporate bailouts; and the government should stop the rampage in spending, because the national debt is threatening the security of this country.

Fist told the committee we must return to basics, and again use the constitution as the sole guiding document; favors a fair tax or tax structure overhaul; is against new taxes or tax hikes; and says we must reduce spending and balance the budget.

Argall spoke about the hundreds of people who urged him to become a candidate and what made him decide was when a constituent told him, "You can't change Congress but you can change congressmen."

Knowles, seeking his first election to a full term as the state representative from the 124th District, has now been in office nine months since he was elected at a special election last summer to fill the unexpired term of the seat vacated by Argall.

He spoke of controlling spending on a state level pointing out the budget since 2000 has increased 45 percent and is now in the $29 billion range.

Michael Tobash, a newcomer, running for the 125th Schuylkill Legislative seat, said his goal is to bring citizens back into the legislature and to bring more business mentality to the body. His opponent for the seat, Bob Lloyd, attacked the present house of representative pointing out that he opposed leased vehicles and legislators should drive their own cars to work, and he also opposed the $163 daily allowance they receive for showing up in Harrisburg.

Ettore G. DiCasimirro, candidate for the 123rd Schuylkill Legislative seat, told the committee he was running for all the people of the district, not just Democrats and Republicans.