Scranton Mayoral Race: Meet the Democratic candidates

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Candidates are starting to hit the campaign trail ahead of Pennsylvania’s primary election on May 18th. One big race locally is for the mayor of Scranton.

Eyewitness News has already introduced to you to the two Republican candidates. Now, we’re focusing on the Democrat ticket. John Murray and incumbent Mayor Paige Cognetti.  

Murray was elected as controller for the city of Scranton in 2019. He also serves on the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple’s board as president.

“I feel at this time I can do a very good job as mayor. I mean, I love this city. I’ve been here my whole life.”

Murray says he’s worried about the older residents and how much they pay to the city, especially the garbage fee of 300 dollars a year.

“They may be taking one bag of garbage out a week and they are paying the same as someone who is taking six bags of garbage a week. It just does not seem fair.”

Murray also says the city wage tax needs to be lowered. He says it is driving businesses out.

“They can live in Dunmore, live in Throop, live in Dickson City, Clarks Summit. Pay one percent. Live in the city of scranton and pay over three. So, what is the incentive for them to be here?”

“We’re hiring on merit, we’re taking the politics out of city hall decisions. We’ve got to keep doing that,” said incumbent Mayor Paige Cognetti who won the special election in 2019 to finish former Mayor Bill Courtright’s term.

Cognetti hopes to continue accomplishing goals to better the city and future infrastructure projects for economic recovery.

“We need to make sure that we’re in office to continue managing those projects, manage those finances and make sure all the money we’re spending is for the right reasons for that recovery,” she said.

Cognetti says community outreach is important to bridge the gap between residents and city hall.

“I was just on my town hall where anybody that has Facebook or Zoom, a phone call, anybody that has a phone can call in and listen to me every single Friday. I answer questions live,” Cognetti said.

The mayor of the city of Scranton gets paid $75,000 and is in office for a four-year term. Because of the COVID pandemic, Mayor Cognetti has been donating 5% of her salary back to the city.

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