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Politics

February 1, 2008

Richland businessman first Republican in 71st race

A former Marine is the first Republican to step into the race for the state House 71st district.

Steve Ettien of Richland Township said he does not believe his campaign will be hindered by a Democratic registration edge in the district, which includes Johnstown.

“If we focus on our differences, then we’ll never come together,” Ettien said.

“Everybody here wants a better Johnstown. Everybody wants a better future for their kids.”

The 71st district seat is held by Democrat Ed Wojnaroski, who is not seeking re-election.

So far, three Democrats have announced campaigns: Bryan Barbin of Westmont, Tom Chernisky of Geistown and William D. Stasko of Westmont.

Ettien, 46, focused on economic growth and creation of “sustainable jobs” while announcing his candidacy Monday morning at the City View Bar & Grill in Westmont.

“(Growth) is not going to come from Washington. It’s not going to come from Harrisburg,” he told supporters.

“It’s going to start right here.”

As an example, Ettien was flanked by Michael Danchanko of Dale Borough-based digital.iway. The candidate said Danchanko has transformed a dilapidated building on Bedford Street into an office that supports three businesses.

Ettien, who works for Concurrent Technologies Corp., also cited his experience as a small business owner. He founded Diamondback Technology Solutions Inc., a technological–consulting firm.

“It was an incredible learning experience for me,” he said. “I understand what a small businessman has to go through.”

Ettien said his concerns include the state’s corporate taxes, which he said are “not very conducive” to operating a business.

He also said property owners bear too much of Pennsylvania’s tax burden.

“We have to revamp an antiquated tax system,” he said.

Ettien’s career includes 22 years in the military. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he and his family moved to Johnstown in 2003.

His civic activities include serving as president of Richland Music Boosters for the past two years.

Ettien also chairs the Greater Johnstown–Cambria County Chamber of Commerce’s technology committee.

In that capacity, he was involved with development of JohnstownBusiness.com, a search engine highlighting local companies.

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