State Lawmaker Speaks Out Over Video

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HARRISBURG -- A state lawmaker from the Hazleton area wants to teach young folks a lesson after a video surfaced questioning her own behavior.

Even though she believes the video is dirty politics the lawmaker still wants to get her message out.

That state lawmaker is Representative Tarah Toohil of Hazleton and the YouTube video shows her with what appears to be illegal drugs.

Wednesday afternoon, Toohil said it is her in the video and now she wants people to learn from it.

The video shows Representative Toohil with what looks like illegal drugs.

In just a few days, the video, which is nothing more than a few photographs linked together, reached more than 16,000 hits.

"I just wanted to be honest and talk to the media and talk to the children out there about decisions that they make so they don't make big, bad decisions in their life," said Toohil.

Toohil, who is up for reelection in November, admits she is the person in the video, and admits she made bad decisions. She said the photos are from when she was a teenager, more than a decade ago.  

Newswatch 16 spoke with her at the Capitol in Harrisburg. Toohil said she's concerned about children who have and who may see this video.

"I want them to know that drug use is illegal. It's bad. It can hurt them personally. Bad for your health. So if you're out there and watching and think that drug use is cool, it's not. If they think it's alright, it's not. That's the message that I want to come out of this," said Toohil.

Toohil was sworn into office in January, 2011. She said she hopes the video does not come into play when she's up for reelection in just three weeks.

"It's hurtful. It's wrong and politics you have to stay above that and do your job and keep doing good and hope that eventually someday that stops," added Toohil.

Toohil said she doesn't know who posted the video. Her opponent, Democrat Ransom Young said it didn't come from him.

In a statement Ransom said, "It’s unfortunate. I’m holding my campaign above that and sticking to the issues. I came from a farming family, raised by a Methodist minister. I won’t stoop to that level. I’m not involved at all. It’s nothing from my campaign."

A spokesperson for the Democratic party of Luzerne County calls the video "dirty nasty politics at its worst."

The source of the photos remains a mystery.