STROUDSBURG -- A letter from Democratic Monroe County Commissioner Suzanne McCool to Republican Congressman Tom Marino has now been released by Marino's office. The Democratic Commissioner also sent the letter to at least five other Republican Members of Congress, with what some might consider inflammatory language to express her views on the recent government shutdown.
And McCool admits she made mistakes in the process.
"I've decided that I was going to use some of my political influence on a major issue," said McCool, who says she is nearing the end of her time in public service.
The Monroe County Democrat first sent the letter in question to Republican Congressman Tom Marino October 10. She sent it again on October 23, this time addressed to "Senator Thomas Marino."
In the letter, Commissioner McCool expresses anger over the recent government shutdown, and writes the Congressman, "...may be guilty of treason," adding, "you hurt many people by your foolish actions."
McCool also calls Congressman Marino a "racist," and a "short-sighted chauvinist."
"My role model was Eleanor Roosevelt," said Commissioner McCool. When asked if she thought Eleanor Roosevelt would write and send a letter like this, she replied, "No, she would have been much more diplomatic than I."
The letter, which was also sent to the offices of five other Republican lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner, was sent on stationery with Monroe County letterhead.
Monroe County taxpayers paid postage.
And a staffer typed up McCool's letter.
We asked her if she though that was OK.
"Now I am thinking it's not and I'm saying, 'I'm sorry' to the taxpayers," said the county commissioner. "And when I write any strong letters like that, I will write them from home."
Under state law it's illegal to use government resources or employees for political causes.
McCool says she's paid back the County $25 for postage and stationery. And she says the staff member typed the letter during a work break.
"She did it, not during her work time," said McCool, and when she was asked if she paid the staffer out of her own pocket, McCool responded, "I offered to and she refused."
By phone, Congressman Marino told Action 16, said he resents being called a racist.
The Congressman called McCool's letter "spineless," adding he "... never met Commissioner McCool but claimed others who send correspondence like this say things they would never say to my face."
Commissioner McCool says she apologized to her fellow county commissioners over the letter on Monroe County letterhead, typed by the commissioners' part-time staffer.
McCool is in her third term as a Monroe County Commissioner and says she has no plans to run again when her term ends in two years.