On a picture-perfect day made for a canoe ride down the Delaware River and glad-handing at campaign stops, Matt Cartwright, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the newly redrawn 17th District, managed to do both.
On Sunday, Cartwright ended a three-day, 30-mile canoe trip down the pristine waters of the Delaware with supporters and members of the Sierra Club at a picnic thrown for him in Scott Park in Easton. There to greet him was Mayor Sal Panto.
"Coming to Easton is a huge part of the campaign," said Cartwright, a progressive who unseated 10-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Holden in the Democratic primary in April. Cartwright, a Scranton attorney, said he intended to get know his constituents in the Easton area and work closely with Panto. Easton, Cartwright said, "on my watch, will not be ignored."
After Republicans redrew district boundaries, Easton and other parts of Northampton County were severed from the Lehigh Valley and merged into the 17th District, which includes Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County and Scranton in Lackawanna County.
But Cartwright's canoe trip, an aquatic version of a whistlestop tour that included stops at the Mount Bethel Diner and Riverton along the way, was also an attempt to underscore his pro-environment credentials.
Cartwright, who has picked up the endorsement of the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, noted the importance of the Delaware River's designation as a federally protected waterway and the Delaware River Basin Authority's role in prohibiting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the basin.
"I'm going to encourage that to remain the case," Cartwright said. New York and other areas rely on the Delaware for drinking water.
Cartwright will face Republican candidate and Tea Party-supporter Laureen Cummings in the November general election.