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September 20, 2014
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Pike County primary logs four for commissioner


Since incumbent Democrat Karl Wagner will be the only candidate for commissioner for his party this year, he will be unchallenged in the primary and the general election.

For the Republicans, however, there are three candidates to fill two positions: incumbent Rich Caridi and challengers Pam Lutfy and Matt Osterberg.

The winning Republican candidates and Wagner will run for the three commissioner spots in November and will be unopposed unless an independent candidate decides to run, or someone chooses to run as a write-in candidate. The primary will be held on May 17.

Wagner, who has been a commissioner for 13 years, has retired from his law practice and has served as vice president and long-time director of the Center for Developmental
Disabilities (CCD) and a director of the Pike County Historical Society. He was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and district attorney of Pike County from 1977 to 1979.

Wagner has had an extensive background in municipal government, having worked with local municipalities during his 33 years as a partner in the law firm of Beecher, Wagner, Rose and Klemeyer.

Caridi, who has served eight years as commissioner, the latest four as chairman, filled various leadership roles in the county, first as a Blooming Grove Township supervisor, a five-term member of the Wallenpaupack Area School Board, warden of the Pike County Correctional Facility and a continuing member of the Blooming Grove Township Planning Commission.

Caridi points to the role he has played in making county resources available to townships and boroughs by networking with county personnel for grant writing, and access to state funds as a stream to local governments. He has played a role in developing the new Emergency Services Training Complex and the new 911 center, both currently under construction.

Matthew M. Osterberg, who has served as a member of the Milford Borough Council since January 1987 and as council president since 1990, has a bachelor’s degree in history from Penn State University. As a local historian, he has written five books on local histories; in 1999 he received the Heritage Award for the “Matamoras to Shohola – Journey Through Time” given by the Upper Delaware Heritage Alliance. He further received the keys to the City of Port Jervis for his books on the history of that city. Osterberg serves as the general manager of Luhrs Ace Hardware, a position he has held since 1983.

Republican Pam Lutfy, founder of The Sunshine Early Learning Center in Milford, received a master’s degree in education from Columbia Teachers College and worked as a speech therapist with the Delaware Valley School District (DVSD) for 14 years. She served as a board member of the DVSD for 13 years. She is a Pike-Monroe Legislative Regional Coordinator for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and federal network member of the National School Boards Association. As the district’s legislative liaison, she has attended meetings in Harrisburg and Washington, DC in response to action calls for unfunded mandates, policy changes and budgetary concerns.