Haggerty Says “No” to President Obama

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DUNMORE -- When President Obama comes to Scranton on Friday, one Democratic state representative won't be there even though the president is appearing at a college in the lawmaker's own district!

Freshman Representative Kevin Haggerty took to the social media site Facebook over the weekend with a post that could be considered critical of the president.

On Monday, Haggerty wasn't backing down.

"I can't go around smiling and taking pictures with other political leaders right now when I know my constituents are suffering," Haggerty told Newswatch 16.

Haggerty, of Dunmore,  says he told the White House "thanks, but no thanks" when the president's staff called him about attending Friday's event.

President Obama will speak at Lackawanna College, which is in Haggerty's 112th legislative district. But, still, Haggerty won't be there.

Over the weekend, Haggerty posted a lengthy comment on Facebook, aimed at the president, which read in part, "don't show up in the city and towns I represent, taking a few photos with officials excited to say they were with the president.

"We are not teenagers and this is not a new kids on the block concert.

"We are in dire straights and all we get is a few photo ops with a few officials, and then we go back home looking into the sky for the presidents plane leaving our home for another four years.

"We are living inside our own pathetic sitcom and everyone of you are responsible for the outcom. Wake up and fight for your children."

Haggerty says, despite the post, the White House called and invited him to the event.

"And we said, you know, we're not going to be in attendance, but we would like to meet with with the president about holding an economic summit in the city of Scranton. We need a revival here," said Haggerty.

The Democrat says reaction to his post has been overwhelmingly positive, despite some criticism about its numerous misspellings and grammatical errors.

Not everyone agrees.

A comment left on Haggerty's Facebook page reads, "This guy is a total wet brain steakhead. It's a shame that a member of public office would post such a sloppy diatribe."

Haggerty stresses that he likes the president. In his office, he even has a picture of himself with Barack Obama.

"I'm not really worried about staying in office. I'm worried about doing what I promised the people when I ran, and that's to defend them, to bring economic strength back to this area," Haggerty said.

Representative Haggerty is in his first term in Harrisburg.

He says he's serious about having the president come to Lackawanna County and stay for a few days to host an economic summit. According to him, he's gotten no reply as of yet.