Luzerne County Councilman Robert Schnee is selected as the candidate for state Republican representation in the 116th District
Luzerne County Councilman Robert Schnee will be the Republican nominee for the vacant state representative seat in the 116th Legislative District, Republican County Chairman PJ Pribula said Thursday night.
The county Democratic Party earlier in the day announced its selection of Butler Township resident Amilcar Arroyo to run for the seat.
The winner will be selected in a special election on April 5 and will serve this year, filling a seat vacated by Tarah Toohil now that she is a county judge.
Pribula verified Schnee’s selection through a message, but was still in a meeting and not immediately available to provide further comment.
Schnee, 62, of Sugarloaf Township, said early last month that he was “very interested” in receiving the county’s Republican Party nomination to run for the seat.
A retired meter reader with the Hazleton City Authority of Sugarloaf Township, Schnee said he has a reputation for fighting for the elderly, those in need and working families.
“I love the people of this region and I will do everything in my power to get them the help and funds they need,” he said.
He also pledged to fight two Interstate 80 tolls and the state’s closure of the White Haven Center and push for fair funding for the Hazleton Area School District, saying districts to equal registration receive higher payments under the current system.
Schnee has served on county council since 2016 and is halfway through his second four-year term. He said he would be allowed to remain on the council while running for the special election seat, but would be required to resign if elected.
There are 34 electoral districts and approximately 33,873 registered voters in the 116th District.
State House Speaker Bryan Cutler ordered the special election last month, saying he did not want to hold it in the May 17 primary because that is when candidates will be running for the next full two-year seat in the 116th District to serve in 2023 and 2024.
The new legislative boundary maps will also apply to primary elections but not to special elections.
The state will reimburse the county for the cost of the special election, officials said.
As it appears on current maps, the 116th District does not extend beyond the county and includes some or all of the following municipalities: Hazleton; the boroughs of Conyngham, Nescopeck, New Columbus and Shickshinny; and the townships of Black Creek, Butler, Conyngham, Dorrance, Hazle, Hollenback, Huntington, Nescopeck, Salem, Sugarloaf and Union.
According to the state’s schedule for the special election, the state has until March 6, about a month before the election, to submit the certified slate of candidates to the county.