To say that U.S. Rep. John Murtha has played an integral role in redeveloping the local economy during the past 25 years would be an understatement.Still, there are those who continue to dismiss the possibility of Murtha's being up-ended come November:
The impact of defense-related business on the local economy may not rival the impact steel and coal once had locally, but it is significant. And the growth of that segment of the region’s economy can be traced directly to Murtha.
The congressman developed a high level of influence in defense circles while serving as chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. He continues to hold clout as the panel’s ranking Democrat.
Murtha is a 16-term congressman who is in his 32nd year in the House.
A number of area companies recognize the impact that Murtha has had on their success.
But they also realize that the 74-year-old’s run in Washington eventually will come to an end.
Dan DeVos, president and CEO of Concurrent Technologies Corp., said preparing for life after Murtha has been a real concern for about a decade. He said the congressman has impressed upon the area’s defense industry leaders the need to wean themselves from his aid.
“His involvement through directed funding helped increase the budget, and in the early years we were very dependent on that,” DeVos said in May.
Despite Murtha’s stance, his re-election is virtually guaranteed, said G. Terry Madonna, a political analyst at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.Yet, our own "Bones", via his research, contends that quite the opposite is the case. Murtha's anti-American rhetoric indeed makes him vulnerable in a congressional district that boasts many members of the military and their families, yet, Madonna goes on to say...
“Of all the districts in Pennsylvania, it’s not on anybody’s watch list – not either party, not independent chroniclers,” Madonna said. “They’ve conceded it. There’s no evidence that I’ve seen that (the war) is a serious factor in his re-election effort.