The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 27, 2013

Critz lands corporate job, weighs future campaign

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Although former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz has been out of office for less than two full months, he is already considering running again for Pennsylvania’s 12th district seat in 2014, according to a source who worked on the congressman’s previous campaigns.

The individual said Critz is weighing several factors, including the local political climate and how a campaign would affect his family life.

Critz, who represented the district from May 2010 until January 2013, would likely need to make a decision by the late summer or early fall of this year.

“I think he is very serious,” said the source. “He definitely wants to. In the 21⁄2 years he was in Congress, he really enjoyed the work. He really enjoyed helping people.”

On Tuesday, Critz confirmed he will remain living in Johnstown when announcing he accepted a job with EIS Solutions, a Colorado-based public affairs firm. The former congressman has been hired as a senior vice president. The group works to shape land use and energy policies.

“It was an honor to serve the people of western Pennsylvania in Congress where I had the opportunity to fight for jobs and economic development,” Critz said in a statement. “Development of our energy resources is vital to growing our regional economy and making our nation independent of foreign sources of energy. I look forward to working to make sure that our region develops these resources in a safe, responsible manner while working to grow our economy and meet our energy needs.”

Critz first entered the U.S. House of Representatives by winning a special election to replace his mentor, the late Rep. John Murtha.

Critz, a Democrat, then lost his 2012 re-election bid against Republican Keith Rothfus, a current freshman congressman.

“As a former member of Congress and district director for congressman John Murtha, Mark Critz has the experience and relationships at the local level to help difficult projects get approval,” said EIS Solutions President Wade Haerle.

“Mark knows how to navigate local politics and governmental bureaucracies at the state and federal levels and will be an asset to clients seeking to build local support for energy-related projects in the coal and natural gas industries.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee attacked the selection of his new job as strictly a political move. In a press release email, the group called Critz a “special interest superstar” and asked. “So Critz has joined a lobbying firm to fight for powerful special interests so that he can ... go back to Congress to fight against powerful special interests again?”

“In his time in Congress, Mark Critz took over $1.4 million from special interest groups of all varieties,” said NRCC spokesman Ian Prior. “Now that he’s become a big-time lobbyist, he has finally ended the charade of working on behalf of Pennsylvania and is openly cashing in on his inner special-interest superstardom.”

While in the House, Critz co-chaired the Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Caucus and served on the Small Business Committee’s Agriculture, Energy and Trade Subcommittee. Critz voted for the Stop the War on Coal Act and supported extending the Keystone XL Pipeline.

He received respective lifetime scores of 67 percent and 46 percent from the League of Conservation Voters in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

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