Friday, November 24, 2006


Last night, we went to see the new movie "Bobby," a fictional portrait of the kinds of people who may have been present in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 4, 1968, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot shortly after midnight after giving his '68 California Primary victory speech in the hotel's ballroom.

The most compelling part of the movie is its ending -- RFK's own voice from his "On the Mindless Menace of Violence" address delivered the day after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Below is what I believe is the complete text of the speech. There are some paragraphs and phrases here that are not in the audio clip in the movie -- I'm not certain if RFK omitted them himself in the delivery or if they were taken out by the movie's editors.

On the Mindless Menace of Violence

An Address by Senator Robert F. Kennedy
City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Banning "robo-calls"?

Should political "robo-calls" be banned to households on the "Do Not Call" list?

Tom Barnes of the P-G's Harrisburg Bureau has an article in today's paper about one state representative who thinks so.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

In Memoriam: Gilbert Tucker: 1919 - 2006

Northwestern Washington County lost another local leader Tuesday with the passing of Gilbert Tucker. Mr. Tucker gave decades of service to the McDonald posts of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

He will be remembered for wearing his own white WWII-era U.S. Navy uniform each year during McDonald's Memorial Day ceremonies.

Mr. Tucker's obituary appears in today's O-R.

The Rock: "A New Place To Go"

Several times during the 2006 campaign, I was extremely impressed when visiting "The Rock," the new youth center fashioned out of the former Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Oakdale. Freelance writer Andrea Iglar this week penned an article for the Post-Gazette about the center. At the end of the piece, she interviews my cousin, Jeff:

Last Wednesday evening, Jeff Snatchko arrived to pick up his daughter and son, who'd come to the center to get help with math homework and to play games.

"When I was growing up in Oakdale, there was really nothing like this for us to do," Mr. Snatchko said. "It's a great thing for the town that the kids can look forward to coming and doing things and maybe get some guidance. It does get them out of the house and away from the TV."

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's overwhelming to think of the number of people to whom I owe gratitude this Thanksgiving. In the past 12 months (and for the past several years), so many friends, family members, neighbors and supporters accompanied me on the journey of my campaigns for the State House.

THANK YOU to all of you for all of your contributions – by circulating nominating petitions, hosting events in your homes, taking me door-to-door in your neighborhoods, writing friend-to-friend postcards, making phone calls, putting up yard signs, helping on Election Days, attending fundraisers and making contributions. So many were so very generous over and over again – and there is no way I can fully express my thanks. Please accept my apologies for any instance in which I neglected to thank you personally for a contribution of any kind.

May God bless all of you during the holidays!

And, a little Small Town Americana this Thanksgiving 2006: below is a campaign photo we never posted to the blog:

Pictured (clockwise after yours truly) are Betty Brodmerkel of Frankfurt Springs Borough; our assistant campaign manager, Andy Walz; my goddaugher, Georgianna Horvath; Rocco Giglio of Mt. Pleasant Township; my cousin, Casey Horvath (holding her son, Brandon Richard); and Ernie McCullough of South Franklin Township. This photograph was taken by Harry Giglio, a Pittsburgh-based photographer who lives in the Village of Primrose in Mt. Pleasant Township.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Today's O-R

An editorial in today's Observer-Reporter notes the vote totals in our race.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Second Tour in Afghanistan

Another area native currently serving overseas in the military is Captain Jonathon Malone, a Hanover Township native and 1993 graduate of Burgettstown High School. Captain Malone, whose unit orignates from Fort Drum in New York, is currently on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. He's expected home in February, 2007.

Captain Malone's sister, Jennifer Bertha, is the elected Republican Committeewoman of Burgettstown Borough and one of the founders of the Burgettstown Area Republican Committee (BARC). Jen was a strong supporter of my campaigns in both 2004 and 2006.

Please e-mail Jen at for Captain Malone's address if you would like to send him a package or letter of encouragement.

THANK YOU, Captain Malone, for your service! May God Bless you and all those serving with you. You are in our prayers.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kami leaves for Kuwait

On Saturday, Staff Sergeant Kami Demnyan leaves for a tour of duty with the U.S. armed forces in the Middle East -- beginning with convoy duty in Kuwait. Kami, who grew up in Midway Borough, is a fellow member of the Fort Cherry High School Class of 1994.

Kami has spent her career in the military -- and all of us from the FC Class of '94 are incredibly proud of her!

Kami, may God bless you and all of your fellow soldiers during your service in the Middle East. You are in our prayers.

Letters and packages can be sent to Kami at:

SSgt Demnyan, Kami
70th MTD (USAF)
APO, AE 09366

(A note from Kami's recent e-mail update: "Remember it takes about a month to get our mail -- so start sending now!")

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pictures from the Campaign Trail

Thanks to Sarah Zablotsky for sending us these photos that were taken on our final Thursday of the campaign:

I'm here with Herkey and Gos following lunch at the Midway Senior Center.

Sarah with Tom and Andy.

Yours truly with Sarah at our Campaign HQ in McDonald.

Monday, November 13, 2006

In Memoriam: Don Zalaznik: 1923 - 2006

I met a lot of characters over the course of my campaigns for the PA House of Representatives. On Sunday, we lost one of them: Don Zalaznik of Smith Township.

It would not be accurate to say Don was a supporter of my campaigns -- he was a loyal Democrat and a supporter of both Vic Lescovitz and Paul Walsh. But, Don was a friend -- I can't begin to count the number of times he growled at me (in a friendly way) for being a Republican. I think I confounded him -- in Don's world, a guy with family roots in Primrose and McDonald with a vowel at the end of his name had no business being a Republican.

Don's obituary from today's O-R is below. It's a fine obit but fails to mention his role as a community activist for the towns and villages of northwestern Washington County. Annually, he would bring together municipal and county officials and other leaders for an informal breakfast at Village Green Golf Club -- for the attendees to get to know each other better and perhaps work together on future projects. Don also was a generous donor to all kinds of community organizations -- from the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department to the Burgettstown Knights of Columbus.

Don will be missed by many -- including this "damn Republican." In Memoriam:

Donald A. Zalaznik

Donald A. Zalaznik, 83, of Bulger, died Sunday, November 12, 2006, in Wyngate Personal Homecare, Parkersburg, W.Va.

He was born June 9, 1923, in Thomas, a son of Frank and Johanna Zalaznik.

Mr. Zalaznik graduated from Union High School. He was a general contractor and co-owner of Fallen Timber Golf Course and Midway Block Co.

He was a member of Burgettstown Senior Citizens Center, Cantankerous Model T Club, Covered Bridge Antique Club and Midway SNPJ.

His wife, Donna L. Nagode Zalaznik, died January 12, 1990.

Surviving are two daughters, Diane (Dan) Brucker and Debbie Zalaznik, and two sons, Donald (Paula) Zalaznik and Dennis (Cindy) Zalaznik, all of Bulger; nine grandchildren, Bryan, Kevin, Niki, Donnie, Robby and Chris Zalaznik and Jaclyn, Jessica and Chris Brucker; and three sisters, Wilda Janeshek of Alabama, Lillian Sray of Cuddy and Della Janeshek of Midway.

Deceased, in addition to his wife, are four sisters, Jean Dornan, Frances Bucheli, Katherine Martin and Emma Roach; and two brothers, Frank and Ray Zalaznik.

Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and noon to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in Thomas-Little Funeral Service Inc., 106 St. John Street, Midway (724-796-3301). Additional visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m., the hour of services, Thursday, November 16, in Center United Presbyterian Church, 110 Washington Avenue, Midway. Everyone please meet at the church. Interment will follow in Center Cemetery, Midway.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Society or a charity of one's choice.

Friday, November 10, 2006


In the storm before and after Election Day, it's easy for us to overlook that tomorrow, November 11, is Veterans Day. This Associated Press photo speaks to the sacrifices our veterans have made in the past and present:

The AP's caption: "Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraced Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr during a Veterans Day commemoration in Dallas. Graunke lost a hand, a leg and an eye when he defused a bomb in Iraq last year."

I pray that God blesses all of our veterans and all of the men and women serving today in our Armed Forces. I pray that these men and women may becomes peacemakers in their own ways and return home soon and safely. I pray we may soon have peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere in the world where there is violence and unrest.

May God also bless all of the families and friends of those in the military, with special prayers for the families of those who have died in service to their country.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Family Photo

In the interest of complete blog coverage:

It's not a moment I will remember will undiluted pleasure but below is a picture from today's O-R that Gregg Tarr captured last night at our Election Night party at Fort Cherry Golf Club:

Greg's caption: Republican state House candidate Paul Snatchko looks over polling results in the 46th District race Tuesday night at Fort Cherry Golf Club along with his mother, Diane Hertzler, brother Joe Snatchko, second from left, and friend and supporter John Welch, right. (GREG TARR/O-R)

Not mentioned in the caption is my cousin, Luke Snatchko, who is also in the background. THANK YOU to all of my family members and friends who stayed late last night to wait for the results.


According to the Pennsylvania Department of State's election returns Website, the unofficial returns show that we received 46.2 percent of the vote in yesterday's election to choose the new state representative from the 46th District.

THANK YOU to all of the voters who supported my candidacy and to all of my supporters -- family members, friends, neighbors, campaign volunteers and donors. This was an effort of hundreds of people and I'm thankful for the contributions that all of you made.

THANKS AGAIN in a special way to everyone who worked yesterday for me outside the polls, as well as to our poll watchers, drivers and those who made phone calls. I am extremely grateful for all of your efforts. Your work had an impact!

It's hard to put the results into perspective the morning-after. But, what I do know is this: Representative democracy is the best system of government available to us. For democracy to work, we need candidates to run for office. And, as it's a zero-sum game, at least 50 percent of those candiates have to be unsuccessful. Without that, we would not have democracy.

I hope that my State House campaigns have inspired others to become active in local politics and perhaps consider being candidates themselves someday.

Some food for thought from Theodore Roosevelt:

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure ... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Public Service

Earlier tonight, I took part in the regular monthly meeting of McDonald Borough Council, of which I have had the honor to serve as a member for more than four years. Serving on council has been a tremendous experience for me -- and I am grateful to the voters of my hometown who have given me this opportunity to serve.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7, I am asking the voters of Pennsylvania's 46th Legislative District to elect me to be their next representative in the General Assembly -- and give me the opportunity for public service in a larger capacity. It's a historic moment -- the first time in more than 26 years that the district's voters are guaranteed to elect a new state representative.

If elected, I would work hard to be a servant leader and put the interests of the people ahead of my own and those of the political bosses. As one voter told me earlier this year: "Don't be a politician. Just be a human being."

With just hours before the polls open, I'm overwhelmed by the hundreds and hundreds of people from all three counties of the 46th District to whom I owe thanks for walking with me on this journey. Family members, high school friends, college friends, past co-workers, neighbors, donors, advisors -- some I have known since childhood, others only for a few months. So many people have been vital parts of my campaigns.

In a particular way, I want to say THANK YOU to all those who will be outside the polls speaking on my behalf tomorrow. Thank you for sacrificing all or part of your day for this important part of the campaign!

THANKS also to all those family members and friends who have been in and out of our campaign headquarters in these last few weeks making phone calls and writing friend-to-friend postcards. Your active involvement means a great deal to me -- and your companionship has helped to keep me sane. (Special thanks to my campaign chairwoman, Meryl Hatton; to my cousin, Luke Snatchko; and to John Welch -- all of whom took on leadership roles.)

A HUGE debt of THANKS is owed to my assistant campaign manager, Andy Walz. Andy sacrificed his first months out of college for this campaign and his dedication and spirit gave new energy to our efforts. We would have been much less without him. THANK YOU, ANDY!

Finally, I need to say that my 2006 candidacy would not have been possible were it not for the work of my campaign manager, Tom Baker. Tom sacrificed a year of his life for this campaign. Every day for the past year, he worked diligently to spread the word about me and the race -- most of those days making an hour-long drive from the East End of Pittsburgh to Washington County to do it. Tom's friendly tenacity was often what kept me going. Regardless of whether I am the top vote-getter tomorrow, Tom Baker's efforts have strengthened the body politic of the 46th Legislative District.

THANK YOU, Tom, for all of your work!

Polls are open tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please remember to VOTE and take a friend with you!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

From Beaver County

Yesterday's Beaver County Times included an article on the 46th District race.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our Commercial

Today, our campaign commercial began airing on the local Comcast cable system. You can also view it here.