Congressman Matthew A. Cartwright stumped in Hawley, March 9th, at an appearance hosted at The Settlers Inn. Wayne County Democratic Committee Chairman Mark Graziadio welcomed Cartwright at the “Meet & Greet.”

HAWLEY - Congressman Matthew A. Cartwright stumped in Hawley, March 9th, at an appearance hosted at The Settlers Inn. Wayne County Democratic Committee Chairman Mark Graziadio welcomed Cartwright at the “Meet & Greet.” Cartwright had announced his intention to run, and became an official candidate on March 20. He is the only Democrat on the ballot running for the newly formed District 8.

When the congressional map was redrawn, Cartwright’s District 17 in the northeast, evaporated (a new District 17 was placed in the western side of the state). Serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013, the present District 17 includes Schuylkill County and portions of Carbon, Northampton, Monroe, Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

With re-districting, Schuylkill and all of Carbon counties become part of a newly formed District 9. The new District 8 takes in most of Luzerne County, the upper half of Monroe County and all of Lackawanna, Pike and Wayne counties. Matt Cartwright and his wife Marion, who have two sons, live in Moosic, Lackawanna County. He is 56.

Cartwright told the group that how he would like to be described is a congressman who is strive stop be bi-partisan, and is a worker. As a Democrat in a Republican- controlled Congress, he spoke of his frustration at being able to accomplish things, of even having a Democrat-sponsored bill come out of committee for a vote.

He said he seeks to make friends on both sides of the aisle, which takes both “patience” and ”forgiveness.” He stated that he has made some very good Republican friends in Congress, and gives them credit as well.

As a past District Governor in the Rotary, Cartwright said that he has found common ground with six Republican Congress members who have also led Rotary clubs.

In his time in office, Cartwright has introduced over 60 pieces of legislation and mire bipartisan  bills than any other House Democrat, he said.

One of his passions, he said, has been to target “waste, fraud and abuse” in government spending. At committee hearings, they learned that the U.S. was not effectively using purchasing power when it came to software. The federal government spends approximately $9 billion a year on software for their many departments and agencies, but they were bot  communicating together. As a result, there was a great deal of waste.

With the aid of Republican Congressman Steve Russell, Cartwright helped sponsor a bill requiring a software purchasing czar. The czar must first be consulted before making a deal with a software company. Cartwright said tight the bill saves taxpayers $1 billion to $4 billion a year.

“We need mild, reasonable gun safety laws,” Cartwright said, switching topics. He has pushed for legislation addressing this, although has found it frustrating due to being in the minority in Congress. “I keep an ‘F’ rating with the NRA,” he said.

He also stated that he spends a lot of time “as ambassador to business for the district.” He said he works on smoothing things out for existing businesses and bringing back as many federal dollars as the can to support business.

During questions and answers, he stated that he has defended the Affordable Care Act (ACA), stressing the need to support financially struggling, local hospitals. He formed a diverse task force, however, to each for ways to improve ACA. Both the premiums and deductibles were far too high.

On immigration, he said a “path to citizenship” is needed rather than shipping undocumented aliens out in rail cars. Cartwright said he as willing to compromise and support a wall on the border with Mexico, if by negotiating “it gets the job done.”

The new District 8, Cartwright noted, includes more agricultural land than he has been accustomed. He said he has been studying the Farm Bill in advance.

Congressman Cartwright currently sits on the Committee on Appropriations “I’m gaining in seniority,” he said.