HAZLETON — Republican congressional candidate Jim Bognet called immigration a plague on his hometown and suggested a remedy for the nation’s ills.
“You send the doctor,” Bognet said when introducing Dr. Mehmet Oz during a rally at the Pines Eatery.
Oz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, teamed with Bognet to get out the vote a day before Tuesday’s election.
“You work tirelessly because you love America,” Oz said to Bognet. “You’re going to win big.”
Oz and Bognet contrasted their polices, particularly on energy, crime and immigration, to those of their Democratic opponents and the Democratic leadership in Washington.
“If you think we deserve better, if you think we deserve cheaper oil and gas ... If you think we deserve a new direction ... vote for Republicans, vote for change,” Bognet said.
He said his race against Democratic incumbent Matt Cartwright can help change the speaker of the House of Representatives.
“Who here is ready to fire Nancy Pelosi?” said Bognet, adding that Cartwright votes with Peloisi 100% of the time.
Speaking about immigration, Bognet said, “All of you are waiting to take this city back, to make this city the city that we grew up in. The only way we will stop illegal immigration here in Northeast Pennsylvania is to get rid of Nancy Pelosi and Democrats like Joe Biden.”
Afterward, Bognet, an attorney and political consultant who lives in Hazle Twp., said people of Hazleton have been hurt by illegal immigration, overdose deaths and murders. He, however, fully supports legal immigration.
In front of the crowd at the rally, Bognet said Oz, a son of immigrants, believes in the American dream.
Oz, a heart surgeon who hosted a medical show on television, said while campaigning he has been listening to voters like he listens to patients.
Young couples tell him that they can’t afford their first mortgage payment, senior citizens say their Social Security checks don’t stretch far enough and parents fear to let their children play outdoors.
“Are you happy with the way the country is heading?” Oz said, adding that “70% are going to say ‘I’m worried about it.’”
He believes Washington can set policies that drive energy prices down, secure borders but allow legal immigration, make streets safer and let parents decide where their children go to school and what their schools teach.
“Let’s deal with the problems John Fetterman won’t,” Oz said of his Democratic opponent, the lieutenant governor.
In their televised debate on Oct. 26, Fetterman couldn’t explain why he dropped his opposition to fracking.
“I know why,” Oz said, “because he knows he can’t win with that idea.”
Fetterman’s campaign later said he stopped opposing fracking when the state strengthened environmental rules for gas extraction.
Oz also jabbed at Fetterman for wanting to hire IRS agents but not paying his own taxes, advocating for release of prisoners over the objections of others on the state parole board and calling for spending that would have been even more inflationary than what the president favored.
“We have all we need to change the reality of what Washington does,” Oz said, “but we have to act.”