WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — As a drug and alcohol counselor and the mother of two young boys, Judy Herschel never considered running for political office. That was before Congress approved legislation in 2016 that hampered the Drug Enforcement Administration’s enforcement efforts against the opioid industry.
In one month that summer, Herschel lost eight of her clients to opioid overdoses. She left her job and launched a full-time campaign against the politician she holds responsible for the legislation: its chief sponsor in the House, Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.).
“It’s a big reason why I chose to run,” Herschel, 41, said as she campaigned for the Democratic nomination last month in a neighborhood not far from Williamsport, a city once known as the Lumber Capital of the World that is reeling from an inundation of pain pills and heroin.
“We have lost way too many people to this, and this hits me hard,” Herschel said.
Marino also has a Republican challenger in Tuesday’s primary, Doug McLinko, a county commissioner who said his opponent “has sold out his office to the drug companies.”