With the exception of headliners U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa, and his Republican challenger Lenny McAllister, most of the candidates for state office sent surrogates to represent them at last month’s Great Debate in Oakland.
One who did not was V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery, who personally made her case that she should be elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for District 35 over seven-term incumbent Rep. Marc Gergely, D-McKeesport, who has been indicted on corruption charges related to illegal gambling.
“I’m running because I care about my community. I’m tired of walking outside and hearing gunshots. I’m tired of seeing no grass cut and I’m tired of no development coming to the area,” she told the debate audience Oct. 24.
“My opponent faces corruption charges as we speak. He has been arrested and his trial date is set for December—so I’m running to end some political corruption in my district because, at this point it’s ongoing and expected. We have to change that. My election is a statement election. I’m running to let the Mon Valley politicians know that we’re going to take our district back.”
Gergely faces felony counts of dealing in the proceeds of illegal activity and two counts of corrupt organizations, plus three misdemeanors. He is one of 70 individuals charged in connection with “Operation Pork Chop,” which brought down illegal gambling kingpin Ronald “Porky” Melocchi, whose video poker machine operation that had some 335 machines at 70 restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and other locations throughout the Mon Valley.